Interview Encarna Pachón – Paul Gehring Hairdressing
From where comes the inspiration for Los Bellos Perdedores?
We had the luck to find a source of inspiration with which we really felt identified. This almost never happens. In this case it has been Alessandro Michele whom, with his arrival at Gucci, pulled the lid off the Pandora’s box. Opening the door to colour, to fantasy and to the accessories in a very elegant manner, subtle and with very much sensibility. Sensibility to detail, colour, the already used, the things from the past, giving value to how well made it was and the charm it had. For the creative people like us that seek the detail, the references and the value to how things were formerly made, finding a source of inspiration like that, inject us with so much energy.
And how did you evolved the idea? The final result has a touch that is very yours and although it can have aesthetics references from Alessandro Michele, it has your personal brand. Who knows your work will agree….
As Gucci’s collection, and the last collections from Yves Saint Laurent, one on the more poetic side and the other inclining more towards Rock, both have had a romantic nostalgy note with which we from Paul Gehring felt identified with, besides liking it very much. The idea came to us of how we would have made the hair style and makeup of those models, adapting it perfectly to the style from those fashion collections. We wanted to do the hair integrating it as one more accessory , grouping it with the look and its accessories. In such collections the accessories predominate. Let’s not forget that the hair is also a complement and an accessory. We saw that in the fashion shows there wasn’t emphasys in styling the hair from the models in a determined direction, so we allowed ourselves the luxury to reinterpret it and make it ourselves. We started to think how we would have done the hair of those models and how we would have introduced hairdressing into the show. Regrettably, the hairdressing in many fashion shows becomes the poor little kid, put to a second plane. We, as hair professionals, knew that we could do it better, or at least in our own way.
How has the creative process been?
During more than a year of research and inspiration from thousands of references we found one that stood out, achieving a key relevance in the creative process. We saw how the proposals from designers such as Alessandro Michelle for Gucci and Nicolas Ghesquière for Yves Sait-Laurent had something in common. Both transmitted to us in their works a feeling that what we were seeing, have had a life. This perception was something totally new till that moment and had nothing to do with a second-hand look. We realised that these clothes and accessories, still being new, seemed to have already had a life. Clothes that told a history closer to their grandfathers than to the youth that wore them. From this originate the concept around which the collection revolves. We set to transmit this same idea into our field, translating into colour, cut and styling. We have wanted to create cuts and colours already lived, with a root effect but coloured. The hair cuts aims to achieve the effect that the hair has after two months from the last cut: this wornness and disconnections that appears by itself. Hair cuts that have already settled itself. It was a challenge that a priori seemed difficult although I believe that we achieved it.
Your collections always have a clear influence from street style. In the fashion shows world that you speak of, did it make into the streets?
This collection has a clear focus on the young people. It is a collection that is very fresh and that speaks about what is happening socially between the youth. In it is captured the aesthetics changes that are happening now and the impact those have in everything that is associated with the image. We are seeing faces and bodies that are far away from the beauty canons. The imperfections in some models are giving them great popularity in social networks. We see how those peculiarities are nowadays what make those people succeed. This is where the collection title Bellos Perdedores comes from. Those individuals that by their character and personality or by their physical characteristics, would have gone unnoticed or even excluded from the beauty and fashion world some years ago, are the ones that are becoming the winners today.
So, is the collection only targeted to young people?
No, the collection is addressed to the public from all ages. Everyone can feel identified and be beautiful losers (bellos perdedores). The difference is that due to social, political and aesthetic moments they had no place and always felt a bit discriminated by their peculiarity. It is important to us to explain the reason why we didn’t name our collection “The Millennials” but “Los Bellos Perdedores”. The “beautiful losers” are those people that by their physical rarity, behaviour or personality have been referred to as “weirdos” some time in their lives. Nowadays, thanks to the technological advances and social changes, those same people that have been categorized as different, now find a channel through which to connect with other people that share the same affinity as well as to come forward and speak publicly about it.
Could you elucidate from where does the collection name Bellos Perdedores comes from?
The “bellos perdedores” (beautiful losers) are those people that by their social, political and aesthetic environment around them. Couldn’t express their individuality freely. This impossibility from the surrounding, many times brought them to be labelled as “weirdos”. Their differences were not accepted in an environment that demanded from them to identify with mandatory stereotype. Society has changed and this evolution enables the “bellos perdedores” (beautiful losers), that were cast in the shadows, to the light of the front line. We see how the peculiarities that were a burden before, are now their major attributes, the ones that make them succeed.
Does the name from your collection Los Bellos Perdedores includes all the millennial generation?
We would like to clarify that to be millennial is not only necessary to have been born in this specific moment. One can born into one generation and totally belong to another. One can be born in the 70’s and have a behaviour totally tuned with the millennials. We are talking about a millennial attitude. Its not only the moment in which one is born, but how one continues adapting to the time and changes. We always say that there is people that is born old and others that are always young. Maybe this is what define most how one can belong to a generation. Everything depends on their attitude and is a matter of acceptance and adaptation. One must accept the changes and know them, otherwise one does not move forward.
How does such changes effect the hairdressing world?
They are customers with a great potential to the industry that should not be let out. They are individuals with a fine sense for the aesthetic and great consumer of hair fashion. It must be also considered that they are customers that will already come with a proposal and know exactly what they want. May we like it or not as hairdressers, all of the reference that we can contribute ourselves, is already within the reach of a hand and possibly we will find those that even comes more prepared than we could even be. We need to learn to listen to them, knowing how to maintain ourselves in an intelligent background, because this background is what will convert us in a magnet to those people that have very clear what they want. It is not about image consulting, rather the execution of the ideas they bring with them. They look for a well prepared professional. This customer profile doesn’t have this body cult, they don’t look for a carved out body or silicon implants. They don’t seek so much of physical perfection, rather utilizes it as a channel to transmit what are their values and cultural, social and aesthetic inquietudes. We could say that they have changed the body cult to the cult of individuality and aesthetic. They aim to be themselves, rejecting to be copies of anybody.
To those that haven’t had the luck to see your collection, could you explain what is that they will find out?
The collection has two faces: Salon and Soho. The images you will find in the former, have a clear commercial orientation addressed to the Hair Salons. We believe that our collections are and must be very commercial, oriented to the hair professional. Like we say in Spain, about taste there is nothing written in stone and that for tastes there is colours, in this case we could say for tastes there is haircuts and colours. In parallel we gave created the version Soho that has an evocative orientation of inspiration. In this we have worked and interpreted the fantasy that comes inspired by what is happening in the catwalks and covers of magazines. Soho interprets this aspect given to the wet, dry and curly hair, these highlights towards the face. Maybe we have touched a part less commercial but that is how the hair is defined by segments like fashion magazines (caution, not hair style magazines), fashion productions wants and perceive what the hair should be. It may be not so focused to the Hair Salon client, it goes beyond to achieve to become a source of inspiration. Its references comes from the show and catwalk worlds, where its not so mandatory the perfection of the hair but its sensibility, an imperfect touch of fantasy without being a avantgarde nor impossible hair volumes. Both represents the two sources of inspiration from which we hair salon professionals feed upon. In one collection is the Hair Salon environmnet and on the other the external references, two lines of inspiration that nurture the hairdresser and that needs each other.
And which looks are we going to see in Los Bellos Perdedores? Are you presenting any new colour?
What you can see in this collection, is that really there is nothing new in it. All that you will see are styles that have been already used: bobs, short hairs, long manes, layers, fewer layers, coper, blond, browns, pastel colours… This, far from being negative, transmits the ideal from this generation, that believes to be different it is not necessary something specifically made for them, delineated, perfect or something that no one else is wearing. The differential that this people acquire is to give a personal interpretation to the same hair cut or colour. That is why in this collection when we finished the hair cuts and colours what we tried was to give a fresh, natural and wearable interpretation. We have thought on how those people would do their hair at home. Really there hasn’t been so many changes in hair cuts and colours trends. More than to present new colours, we see how it is confirmed that the pastel colours palette will become present, without being ephemeral nor unique to a season. We are seeing that its lasting and that commercial brands are perfecting it to introduce in their colour catalogues. It is not about something new, but something perfected, existing and with demand. Products have demand when they are known and lived.
And how about your technique?
What we would like hairdressers to understand is that in the last years its been given much importance to the cutting technique and colours used. Evidently they are necessary but we shouldn’t forget styling. There is still many haidressers whom have difficulty understanding the importance of styling and continues to think that the personal technique, a defined hair, a perfect babyliss, a super intense colour o a bang cut to milimetric precision has more importance to the customer. In reality it is not so, and it is in the sytling when the hairdresser shows his sensibility to the hair, to his taste. The sensible hairdresser must know the hair and understand how it will respond better once it is cutted or coloured.
I imagine it was a challenge to face casting, looking for a profile so original. Was it difficult to find profiles that matched with your ideas?
After more than 16 months thinking and looking to which direction our next collection would be focused on, we took a direction that was confirmed only later on, the day when we did the castings. We looked in Paris and Berlin, two points really far from each other in regards to the profile types we could find, seeing the way of living from the inhabitants from each of these cities. It was amazing to find there the confirmation that we took the right direction. We were looking for a profile that a priori seemed difficult to find and we were surprised by the easiness with which we found it. This made us realise that we were not following a trend, but a reality. This generation exists, its present and its making a lots of noise.
And how are those youths that you met?
It was also good to us to interview those youngsters and ask what were their hobbies, inquietudes or to what they wanted to dedicate their lifes. Its a generation that have very clear, that they want to be someone in life. The motivation to study, to be someone in life as politicians, actors, writers, movie directors, fashionists, hairdressers etc. We are in front of a generation where the people wears clothes more excentrically, where people is more extravagant and colourful. We are in front of a variety of impressing profiles and we realised that we had in front of us the future consumer of hairdressing industry.
Which aesthetic references do those kids have?
What came to our attention from those young millennials, is to see that they do not want to wear the same as their parents. Let’s see if I can explain myself well. One begins to admire one’s parent when reaching maturity and its then that admiration to them is born. These kids are not looking to dress like their mothers, uptight or with low cleavage, with a tight fit to the body, nor do they dream about bodies worked out in the gym like their parents. Maybe they feel a bigger admiration for what their grandparents have been than for what their parents are right now.
They were the first to see the looks your are presenting in this collection. I guess that you watched closely their reactions, having in mind that they besides working as models, are part of your target….
In previous collections often it happened that when we made a proposal for hair cut and colour, we would find ourselves with a great resistance. Not only by the bookers and some agencies that do not allow changing the look from their models, but also because some of them had some reluctance when it came to hair cut or colouring. In exchange this time we found ourselves in the opposite situation. Everyone wanted to get the hair coloured or cutted, including most surprisingly guys open to do a perm. This male sector that is far away from the barber shop, as professional and a commercial brand it makes us believe that we need to seize the oportunity. This people adores to be cared in a hair salon. It is not that they want to leave the hairdresser with a perfect finish, a perfect cut or a colour that is uniform from the top to the roots, we need to be careful given that we are in front of a customer that what really want is that when they leave the salon they dont look like they just came from one. Think that it is a customer that will want a cut, colour and products.
I understand it was a satisfactory process, it must be pleasing working like that…
An anecdote that for us was specially beautiful happened when creating this collection, working with youngsters with so many inquietudes, we realised that they were quite happy and had certain admiration for our work. They looked at us with such an expression that showed a glimpse of eagerness for the work we do, showing us that we were creating something which they felt totally identified with. When you are in the same level and see the eyes from the people which at this moment your are collaborating with, everything becomes much easier and is from this point on that it is possible to create very interesting things. That is why it was very good to be in relation with them, getting to know this generation. Its not only about developing the eye but also to learn to listen to all this people. Being a good listener is a quality from the good hair professional and allows you to know your customer better, offering so a personalized service.