High-fashion hair: Local salon owner worked behind the scenes during New York Fashion Week

Jesse Peles began helping out in his family’s Johnstown salons when he was just a teen.

Today, the creative director of his own salons got a chance to create hairstyles for New York Fashion Week in February.

Peles, 34, who is the creative director of Peles Salon, a full-service Aveda Salon and Spa with locations in Altoona, Johnstown and Greensburg, was invited by Aveda to create hairstyles in the runway shows.

Peles styled hair for top fashion designer lines such as BCBG, Nautica, Nicole Miller, Nicholas K, Jay Godfrey and Michael Costello, who designed the dress Beyonc wore to this year’s Grammy awards.

“I did [fashion week] years and years ago with Frdric Fekkai but this is the first time I’ve done it in awhile … which is really exciting. I’m going to continue to do it. I got the invite to come back, so I’m going to be a regular up there, which is cool,” he said at his Altoona salon Monday.

Peles styled hair from 4:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. for a week, and was featured on E! Entertainment Television, he said. The hot trends in hair at the shows included long hair with waves and bobs with strong lines.

His parents, William and Patricia Peles of Johnstown, “were big influences in my decision to do hair,” Peles said. “My mother taught me much about the business side and my father had me assisting him since the age of 13.”

Both Jesse and his brother, Cody, worked in the family business, Patricia said.

“It truly, truly was a rewarding experience for him and we were so proud that he was chosen to go,” she said of her son styling hair at Fashion Week. “That’s the top of the line. You just don’t start out and go there.”

They are “extremely proud,” his dad said.

Peles, who graduated from Penn State Schreyer Honors College and then lived in Los Angeles in the early 2000s, studied at the Vidal Sassoon Academy, Santa Monica, Calif., and worked in the Beverly Hills salon of Fekkai for a few years. He opened a salon in North Carolina and sold it before moving back to open his salon in Johnstown four years ago. The Altoona location opened about a year ago, and the one in Greensburg about a month ago.

For Fashion Week, Peles went to the city with other Aveda hairstylists a month beforehand to meet designers or their representatives and collaborate, he said.

The event offered a challenge in “perfecting [a hairstyle] and making it look great with limited time,” he said. Fashion Week “just has this crazy energy and this adrenaline of getting it done and making it look great … I think it’s the energy of the whole thing because it’s really cool. And just like everybody working together in a small space to just try to bang out some awesome work.”

Peles got to brush shoulders with some celebrities and, obviously, designers during Fashion Week. Even one he always wanted to meet.

“I met Ralph Lauren, which I think that guy is amazing, right? To withstand time like he did,” he said. The designers “were all just really nice.”

As for his own business, Peles is finding success.

“Our Altoona location has been open for one year and our team has already been published in national hair publications such as ‘Sophisticate’ and ‘Hair Now’ publications that are available in … stores nationwide,” he said.

His salon team receives ongoing training, and strives to deliver a “great experience” one might find in a New York salon to guests, he said.

Although he’s busy, Peles loves what he’s doing.

“I love it. I love doing hair. I couldn’t see myself doing anything else, so I really enjoy it,” he said.

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Mirror Staff Writer Amanda Gabeletto is at 949-7030.