Add another line to Melanie Sims’ resume: quick-change artist.
The cosmetology student at Paul Mitchell The School will go through nine different costume changes and hairdos while emceeing Sunday’s “Evolution of Style Hair Show” at Century II.
“Basically, changing in a hallway, and up and down the stairs,” Sims said of how she’ll manage the timely transformations. “And we’ve got wigs.”
The show is the fourth put on by the school as a fundraiser for the Children’s Miracle Network, a nonprofit that benefits children’s hospitals.
Sims’ chameleon-like role is an indication of just how much the show tries to cover – several thousand years of hairstyles and attire.
Schrene Davis, owner and operator of the Paul Mitchell school here, said the show will cover nine periods or cultures: Egyptian, Aztec, the Renaissance, the 1920s, 1940s, 1960s, 1980s, present day and future.
(Apparently there wasn’t much happening in hair between the 17th and 20th centuries.)
Davis admits information on hairstyles during the Aztec period is scant, and there were no fashion magazines back in Cleopatra’s day, but the real point of the night is to show off the creativity of the school’s students. About 75 students will participate, each with responsibility for styling and dressing one model, who are often friends or fellow students.
Professional stylists from four local salons affiliated with Paul Mitchell – Dream Waves, Evolve and ABLS, all of Wichita, and The Hideaway in Newton – also pitch in, Davis said.
“They kind of bring their salon expertise,” Davis said. “It’s a way our students can be mentored by these stylists who are out in the professional world.”
Students have been working on their looks for weeks, Davis said, using whatever old movies, photographs and other research materials they can get their hands on. The Renaissance offers some of the most outlandish possibilities: ladies were known to wear elaborately constructed ’dos topped with models of ships or other objects.
“I saw one where there was a bird cage built in,” she said.
The 1980s, with their neon colors and spandex, are also fun – and nearly as much ancient memory to most of her students, Davis said. “They’re watching old MTV videos and (saying) ‘We’ve never heard of these people.’”
Students working on futuristic hairdos “are trying to make it look real sci-fi and just very electronic, and clean,” she said. By contrast, some styles from the 1920s flapper era “have never gone out. You still see people wearing a clean swing bob.”
But in general, “This is a fun time for (the students) to be creative and do the things you never want to do, because nobody wants to wear their hair that way.”
On the day of the show, students will put their finishing touches on hairdos, costumes and models, then carefully move all downtown to Century II. Each period of the show will be accompanied by different music and trivia projected on a screen above the runway. There will also be a silent auction of things like weekend trips and, of course, hair care.
Davis said Paul Mitchell schools across the country raise money for charities between February and May, with local operators getting to select the beneficiaries.
By choosing Children’s Miracle Network, she said, “We know the money we donate stays local and helps out the hospitals here in central Kansas.”
If you go
‘Evolution of Style Hair Show’
Where: Century II Mary Jane Teall Theater, 225 W. Douglas
When: 7 p.m. Sunday
Tickets: $20 in advance, $25 at the door, available at the Century II box office, by calling 316-303-8100 or online at wichitatix.com