Leader of the pack

We hail the return of stylised looks guided by Guido Palau, global creative director for Redken, but what caused this S/S19 shake-up? We caught up with him to find out…

Outliers: How would you summarise the S/S19 trends?

Guido Palau: The looks were so varied, it’s hard to put them in a nutshell. We saw everything from natural hair to almost couture hair, extreme haircuts and colours. Extreme eclecticism, in a way. It’s hard to say nowadays that a season is going to be ‘about’ anything… It’s a feeling. If anything, I feel a push towards more ‘done’ hair; we’ve seen natural hair for a long time.

O: What were your highlights of the season?

GP: I loved the couture feel of Marc Jacobs, and working with Redken creative color director Josh Wood to get these antique colours with Redken Shades EQ. I love collaborating with Josh on both the colour and the shapes. To have the chance to do that was amazing. I also really loved doing the haircuts at Miu Miu and the micro-bangs at Prada.


O: Which Redken products were your must-haves for your S/S19 kit?

GP: The No Blow Dry Hair Cream was really important, as was the Redken Triple Dry 15 Dry Texture Spray. Hairspray of course, for that couture finish, Redken Shine Flash 02 Glistening Mist and the new Dry Styling collection.”

O: What’s changed in the way catwalk hair is approached?

GP: I think I’ve changed! I want to see something else. I’ve seen so many radical haircuts I can’t see any more; no more buzzcuts, we’ve seen all that. I think it’s more extreme to see something very dressed, something very done nowadays. It seems more startling, which is a complete change to how you would have seen beauty previously. Extreme haircuts, that previously would have been quite shocking, now seem quite palatable and easy to look at. When I did the big hair at Valentino Couture, it seemed more surprising to see that than it is to see supposedly ‘edgy’ hair.

O: Why do you think we are seeing more ‘done’ hair now?

GP: Done, dressed hair just looks more startling and more worked on now. But as to why this has changed, I don’t know if it’s the zeitgeist or something that art is feeling.

Maintaining a set of regular clients is difficult when you’re jetting around the world for photoshoots. Meet some of the top artists who manage to balance life between backstage and backwash…

Larry King

Larry King Salon


What are your top tips for balancing salon and session work?
I always try to build a great relationship with my clients and it’s fundamental to me that they feel they’re as important as any session work that comes in. Generally I’ll open up space so that everyone still gets seen as quickly as possible and they don’t feel inconvenienced. This does, of course, mean that I work really, really long hours sometimes – but the bonus is I get to enjoy both session and a loyal client base.

How do you make session work relevant to everyday salon life?
It’s about taking the small aspects you learn on shoots and on the catwalk; taking creativity and applying it to clients so they feel like their style is ever-changing. It’s also important for my salon team to see trend aspects taken from session and brought back into the salon. I take assistants from the salon with me to all my session work on rotation so they gain experience at that level.

What are your favourite session products?
Redken Full Effect 04 All-Over Nourishing Mousse, because it provides a great base without tacky residue, and Wind Blown 05 Dry Finishing Spray for texture.

Rory McPhee

Rory James Salon


How do you balance session and salon life?
It’s hard as session work can be very last minute, but I made the decision to spend Sunday to Thursday in London concentrating on session. That leaves me Fridays and Saturdays at my salon in Leeds, allowing me the freedom to do both. I have a great salon team that can cover my clients when needed if I do have jobs on my salon days. Having the ability to do this is a major benefit – sometimes certain jobs don’t come around more than once so you need to take them.

Do you find that they overlap at all?
Session can be very helpful to salon life, particularly with styling. A lot of session work requires quick turnarounds, so you learn all the tricks and techniques to do this. These are great for the salon as then you can more easily give your client the option to have a different look at the end of a regular service.

What products do you always have backstage?
Redken Fashion Waves 07 Sea Salt Spray, Guts 10 Volume Spray Foam, Outshine 01 Anti-Frizz Polishing Milk, Fashion Work 12 Versatile Hairspray and the new Redken Brews Hairspray.

Mark McCauley



What are the challenges of having a salon and 
a session life? 
The only work I do outside of the salon is Redken education
and session work for a number of bands. This means some weeks you could be working seven days, and of course you also have to factor in travel times. Time management is a challenge, so knowing your dates months in advance helps. Working as a Redken educator makes it easy to integrate all of the systems and innovative new techniques into the salon.

What are your top tips for artists looking to transition into session work from the salon?
Learn your craft to the highest standard you can, and always be prepared to keep learning. Don’t believe the hype, thinking “I AM A GOLDEN GOD!” You are not. Don’t take yourself too seriously, let your work do the talking – but above all, love what you do.

Which Redken products can’t you live without?
There are too many to mention, but Rough Paste 12 Working Material and the Redken Extreme range are must-haves.

Paul Percival

Percy & Reed


What are your top tips for balancing the salon with session work?
I am passionate about my session work, and for most of my career that has taken priority. However, since I started the salons with Adam Reed, the one thing I have really learned is that if there are clients booked in, it needs to be something really important to make you move them. Salon clients have made time in their worlds to come in and get their hair done, so it can really put them out if you cancel at the last minute.

How do you make session work relevant to everyday salon life?There is always a more wearable version of any style or colour. It’s just about translating that look for the client.

Which products are always in your kit bag?
Redken Dry Shampoo Powder 02. It quickly cleans a model’s hair, but gives enough hold that I can get a great undone texture without leaving hair feeling dull. My other must-have is the fantastic Wind Blown 05 Dry Finishing Spray. It’s amazing for creating waves but also if you mist through it makes hair-up so much easier. It’s a brilliant all-rounder.