Ocean City -- "This is going to be bigger than Ben Hur's chariot!" said Russell Hyde, a hair designer from Australia, as he surveyed a room full of women in cutoffs and curlers.
Mr. Hyde was the headliner in a whirlwind team of hairdressers, colorists, makeup artists and photographers who coiffed and curled 14 volunteer models for a weekend hair extravaganza at the beach.
"This work reeks of sex," Mr. Hyde said later, surveying his handiwork on Dawn Legleitner, a model who looked remarkably like Marisa Tomei. Her long hair had been piled in curls on her head, with a curl or two draped around her shoulders.
Glamour was certainly a key element of the show sponsored by B & B Distributors Inc. of Jessup. Stephen Moore, a London-trained designer, and colorist Peter Waters, author of a widely used textbook on hair color, joined Mr. Hyde on stage for the two-hour show Sunday night at the Princess Royale.
As 350 hairdressers from Maryland watched, the trio gave demonstrations of cutting and coloring on a series of models. Blondes, brunettes and a redhead turned and twirled in slinky satin to a hip-hop beat under the stage lights.
Sunday's show capped a frenetic 30 hours of preparation that began Saturday afternoon with a model call. Fourteen young women, some with modeling aspirations, some just spending a summer at the beach, showed up and were accepted.
"We pull it together in 24 hours," explained Jane Caplan, vice president of sales and education for B & B and the show's organizer. Like a cooking show, models were presented to the audience in various stages: some had their hair cut on stage, some were shown with pre-cut and pre-colored hair.
The show was designed to give stylists some new techniques and a look at trends in hair design and dressing, Ms. Caplan said.
And the three international designers delivered, showing some ways to improve on popular, classic cuts, such as a bob.
pTC "Bobs have been around since God was a boy," Mr. Hyde told the audience as he began his first cut. "You do them until your eyes bleed. You do 40 a week and it pays for your children's education." An appreciative chuckle rippled through the crowd.
Mr. Hyde cut what he called an "inverted bob," with the hair short and feathered into a "U" at the back, offering advice and one-liners as he wielded the scissors.
"The newest thing is tight, frizzy curls," Mr. Moore said. "That's not to say perms are coming back, but it may be time for some curl and some direction." As an example, he cited Jessica Lange's curly 'do at the last Academy Awards program.
"You're only as good as your last color," Mr. Waters told the assembled stylists. He urged them to look at paintings, sunsets and the play of light in nature. "There are innumerable sources of inspiration," he said.
All three men agreed the biggest influence on hair is Hollywood, followed closely by the music industry.
"When Madonna goes from blonde to brunette, someone in your clientele is not going to be far behind," said Mr. Hyde, who has actually dressed the famous head of blond ambition.
The look of the show was definitely keyed to Hollywood glamour. Several models with long hair had upsweeps with curls; medium-length hair got either the modified bob or an away-from-the-face, curly treatment.
Long or short, curly or not, looking pretty is what counts, the three men told the audience.
"You can charge like a wounded bull," Mr. Hyde said. "But the real success in hairdressing is having someone look in the mirror and say, 'I like the way you've made me look.' "