As well as crowning this year’s champions, L’Oréal Colour Trophy 2019 saw three huge hair talents create three awe-inspiring show segments that wowed the crowds. We went behind the scenes at #LCT19 as the teams prepared their individual ‘Kaleidoscopic Colour’ presentations. Here’s an exclusive look at what went down…
Tim Hartley – MULTI-COLOURED INFINITY
Inspired by strong, bold colours, shapes that replicate the kaleidoscope effect, and the club dance scene.
Key words: Individualism, eccentricity, impact!
The sounds, the colours, the lights, the shapes – Tim Hartley distilled a moment in time for his #LCT19 show, and that pulsing, Technicolor moment was the early ’90s on the dance floor of The Haçienda.
Filtered through Tim’s kaleidoscopic lens, punchy primary hues took on a new life in a series of “cosmic cuts and colours”. Graphic lines dominated, with blunt bobs and high-shine finishes interspersed with buzzed disconnection and vertical volume.
“This is an inclusive collection of styles that shows variety and wearability,” Tim explained, in between style touch-ups backstage. “We’re in the midst of an amazing colour revolution,” he continued, before in true Sassoon style, adding: “and in my opinion, soon it’s going to be all about the cut.”
Precision was the name of the game across all of Tim’s ’90s-revival looks, with last-minute scissor trims from the man himself ensuring each angle was a sharp as the beats soundtracking his segment (808 State’s stone cold classic Pacific State).
Two stand-out styles featured some expert colour lift and carefully-graded clipper work across afro and men’s hair. An acid-yellow crew cut with a twist was one-part Sex Pistols, one part raver, with a tight fade adding an electric texture to the short strands. A statuesque afro model sported two looks – an ombre ‘fro wig that faded from maroon to russet root to tip, and a Grace Jones-esque orange flat-top, which was unveiled as part of a dramatic runway reveal.
Angular, edgy and full of twenty-first-century pride – thanks to Tim, the vibe of the people’s palace made its way to Battersea, if only for the night.
Luke Pluckrose for Saks – GEOMETRIC REFLECTIONS
Deconstructing the kaleidoscope, with elements of the object represented in reflective, fractured and sculptural styles.
Key words: chrome, glass, geometric patterns
Split into three distinct groups, the looks created by Luke and his team smashed the kaleidoscopic concept and represented the mirrors, coloured glass and reflected shapes spilling from within the toy itself.
“The first look happened by accident,” Luke admitted. “I bought sheets of reflective, flexible mirror sheeting on eBay, which I had planned to use for one of my ‘Glass’ looks, but when it arrived it looked like chrome and I decided to use it in the ‘Chrome’ section of my presentation instead.
“I wanted it to represent curly hair that bounced when the model walked,” he continued. “I ended up cutting the sheet into strips about two metres long, taking two strips and folding them together in a concertina (like we use to do at school!) and applying holographic sheets randomly in the folds to create a kaleidoscope effect when the light hit.
“The next step was to drill a hole through middle of folded sheet, feed some wire through the length of the concertina and then glue each strand onto a wig cap, continuing the process until the whole cap was covered. Once that was done, I was able to manipulate each piece into the desired shape. Time-wise, it took around five days of work to produce the look, and I’d estimate the cost without labour to be around £600.”
Luke’s second ‘Chrome’ look was inspired by a wig that he had made out of hair grips last year. “I really wanted to make it look more 3D this time, so decided to craft an iconic old Hollywood-style wavy bob with chromed hair grips,” he told us. “However, you cant buy chrome-effect pins so I bought 3,000 blonde grips and found a place that dip-plates things in chrome.
“I used a glue gun to layer the front of the wig cap with grips, before creating a frame to form the waves and the bob shape. To do this, I made strips using ribbon, placed the grips onto them and moulded the lengths into shape before gluing them in place. It took me three days from start to finish, and cost around £400.”
“The idea for these wigs came from the industry trend of glass hair,” said Luke. “Taking this more literally, I decided to recreate an iconic one length cut –complete with fringe – using glass. Chandelier beads seemed the obvious choice, as the shape is purposely cut to throw light around and give a colourful reflection, so I chose clear glass with iridescent coating to emulate toned, platinum hair.
“The length of the wig gave a really good swing when the model walked and it created a really dramatic noise, which you could actually hear over the music on the catwalk. It took about six days to complete the fringed wig and without labour, cost approximately £1,000.”
The second glass wig was inspired by the celebrity trend for a high, slick pony tail (think Kardashians and Arianna Grande). “Having created a ponytail before using metal,” Luke explained, “I knew that the process had to start with a frame and a bracket to rest the pony on as it would be heavy and I didn’t want it to slide off.
“I added additional beads to create a bevelled curve and give a more realistic silhouette, and I used darker glass to provide contrast with the first look and to give it a natural ‘hair colour’ feel. A glue gun has become a staple part of my session kit, and I used it on the day to add beads to the temples and nape to create a realistic hairline. All in all, the glass ponytail took four-and-a-half days to make, and cost £700 (without labour).”
“When you look through a kaleidoscope, you actually see darkness as well as light,” said Luke, “and there are mirrored geometric shapes at the bottom. For the last two wigs in my section, I wanted to recreate this feeling in 3D.
“When researching different patterns I came across geometric portraits and decided that I wanted to recreate these as iconic hair shapes. The silhouette shapes had to be easily recognisable, and so I chose an Amy Winehouse-style beehive and a Marilyn Monroe-style set bob.
“The process started with a 3D designer creating the geometric shape of the wig in a computer programme. This was then sent to a specialist 3D printer, who crafted a honeycomb-like framework for it to sit on. We then coloured wefts of hair in complementary shades, turned them into stiff sheets by coating them in glue, and cut 1,452 individual triangle faces to fit the panels of the frame.
“Once the triangles had been glued on, we added lights on the inside of the wig structure and plunged the venue into darkness so that the shapes and patterns of the wigs took centre stage, mirroring the effect of looking into a kaleidoscope. Both wigs took 16 days to create and cost a combined £2,500 without labour.”
Johanna Cree Brown for Trevor Sorbie – PRISMS OF LIGHT
Inspired by art, video games and the way light behaves, colour graduation and warping were utilised to explore shape and flow.
Key words: Glow, gradient, flux
Riffing on the theme of how light influences and interacts with colour, Johanna and the team also focused on three clear concepts – iridescence, fibre optics and glow-in-the-dark neon.
The first saw Johanna return to a technique she had previously utilised in a collaborative film with fellow creative Roger Spy, playing with fine iridescent threads. For #LCT19, she took things to a whole other level, crafting a wig from thousands of individual pearlescent strands and creating a look that was over 10ft in length. Backstage, the epic headpiece had to be painstakingly and delicately detangled atop a dummy head, and sat dormant until it was fitted to the model about to walk the runway.
Light, but dynamic, the shifting tones of the piece were emphasised by carefully placed wind machines that created a glittering, swirling storm about the model’s shoulders.
The penultimate show segment featured blocky afro shapes that came alive under UV light. Pops of neon thread were lacquered to sculptural foam headpieces using thick gel, weaving Tron-like paths among the shapes. Hand-applied in alternating shades by Johanna, the strands hung like loose or followed the contours of the models’ heads in doodle-like loops, and were set using cool blasts from a hairdryer through a diffuser sock.
The last two looks from Johanna and her team merged intricate basket weaving with technological trickery. Fibre optic cables were braided, wrapped and layered between sections of hair, creating flashes of translucency throughout. Connected to battery packs, the long flowing pigtails and ponytails glowed eerily in the darkness of the area, highlighting the lines and patterns created by the precise styling.
“I am super happy with how the show visually came across,” said Johanna after the lights came up. “The sound, the emotion, the hair concepts – it all clicked. It was a labour of love and a long journey, constantly pushing my limitations so that the ideas in my head were brought to life.
“The team were totally committed throughout the project,” she added, “and I am very proud of every single one of them. We worked up to the very last minute to ensure we delivered our best show possible.”