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Us Chicagoans are a unique breed; we have passion, creativity and a certain degree of toughness. The later can really be proven doing a photoshoot outdoors on an unseasonably chilly autumn day downtown.

Hometown heroes America’s Beauty Show (ABS) and Ulta Beauty teamed up to capture a love letter to Chicago in celebration of ABS presented by Cosmetologists Chicago.

“Ulta Beauty is a Chicago-based company, and we really want to support the local businesses,” says Nick Stenson, Ulta Beauty Senior Vice President, Salon Services and a member of the board of directors for Cosmetologists Chicago. “ABS is owned by hairdressers in the Midwest, and it’s for hairdressers. Both ABS and Ulta Beauty are all about empowering hairdressers, makeup artists, estheticians and nail techs. Our culture and philosophies are very similar.”

The inspiration behind the shoot began with the fashion. They built the beauty concept from there. Stenson asked Ulta Beauty Chief Artistic Director Ammon Carver, “how do we create something that is very artistic, but couture at the same time?”

The results are playful and abstract, yet sophisticated and structured. Photographer Richard Monsieurs captured each look in a controlled studio setting—a conference room at Ulta Beauty’s downtown offices—before the team moved outside. What better way to celebrate a shoot taking place in the brands’ mutual hometown than making the town itself the backdrop?

“This shoot was about discovering Chicago in a new light,” Carver says. “As we were building this, we were imaging the models as works of art in the city.”

The team jumped into a van, chasing daylight and hitting as many quintessential Chicago locations as they could in that time. From the reimagined Riverwalk to the Lakefront trail with the John Hancock building in the close distance, models pose in front of downtown’s architectural playground.

The results have us all singing, sweet home, Chicago.

Nick Stenson, Ammon Carver, Sean Godard, David Lopez
Photographer: Richard Monsieurs
Makeup: Deney Adam, Dmitry Potapov
Nails: Sarah Nguyen

Cancelled for 2020 due to COVID-19, ABS is slated to take place at the Donald E. Stephens Convention Center in Rosemont, IL from April 17-19, 2021. Read more here. 

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Originally posted on Modern Salon