See just what Guido can do with an iPhone

Guido Palau is launching a limited-edition hair book that’s stuffed with stunning images, all captured by the session legend himself on his iPhone.

#HAIRTESTS showcases his hair experiments shot simply in profile on his phone, and the limited run of 1,000 copies is available at Dover Street Market London from today (1 December) alongside a limited number of other stores. He spoke with Creative HEAD editor Amanda Nottage on that very iPhone from his home in New York – here are some nuggets from their chat…

A model image from Guido Palau's book '#HAIRTESTS'

The iPhone fuelled the idea

“It all came from the iPhone, and from the very fact that, nowadays, we’re all in charge of our own kind of branding. When I’m at shows and things, I often take pictures of the hair that I’ve done for the show, and then we’ll post it on my Instagram like everybody does. So the germ of the idea came out of that. In a way, all of us, as hairdressers, are in charge of our own brands, and we all have phones, and we all do hair, so we can take pictures of it. I’m not for one minute saying this is me being a photographer at all, it’s just the fact that we all take pictures of everything we do now.”

Think of this as a sketch book

“I’m very lucky that I’m in New York City, and I’ve got this availability to work with models. I have hair test sessions, I ask agents and friends and see if there’s any new models around that want to kind of play with their hair and then take a picture on my iPhone. It would be me and my trusted assistant, Sandy Hallett, who’s always been with me, and We would just go into a studio with our equipment, a bag of wigs, and I’d get a group of young models, and just do what I do. The book is like a sketch book of my ideas.”

A portrait shot of a white female model wearing a long, pastel yellow wig. Taken from Guido Palau's book '#HAIRTESTS'
A white female model with a blonde, layered hairstyle and full fringe poses in profile against a blue background. Taken from '#HAIRTESTS' by Guido Palau

Guido, the creator

“What I really enjoy – probably what every hairdresser enjoys – is creating, that’s what we do. That’s what we love, whether it’s on a client or on a model, or on a block or whatever way we create. That’s what I still love doing, it’s that power of hair and how it can transform and change somebody. Everybody in this book is kind of transformed in my eyes.”

Window shopping

“I didn’t want it to be like a proper book, you know, bound and very serious. I like the idea of it more like a scrapbook, a sketch book of lots of ideas. It harks back to when I first started hairdressing, every salon had those headshots in the window. That’s always had a lasting impression on me. As an apprentice I always fantasised about all these images, who they were.”

A white male model with a white and black bowl cut shown in profile. Take from '#HAIRTESTS' by Guido Palau
A white male model with a white, aqua and brunette mullet and curly fringe shown in profile. Take from '#HAIRTESTS' by Guido Palau

It’s less book, more object d’art

“It’s been printed on different papers – some very glossy, some matte, acetate – and we’ve added a grain because these photographs haven’t been lit or anything, they were just done on my phone with whatever light was available. I like the idea that when you go through somebody’s sketch book or a scrapbook there’s all different kinds of ideas for the paper. I wanted to reflect that in a way that makes sense.

“Very early on in my career I made a photocopied fanzine very cheaply. What I like about the iPhone, it makes everyone capable of doing something like this. I’m very lucky that a publisher agreed to publish it. We came up with this idea of the ring binder, and it’s in a box, I kind of wanted it to feel like an object rather than just a book.”


It’s a Sign O’ the Times

“They’re all profile shots and that’s on purpose, because I always liked the way a profile shows off a shape. I suppose it’s a sign of the times really: the book wouldn’t have happened without the iPhone, this wouldn’t have happened without Instagram. So, it’s a reflection of the time we’re in now.”

A profile image of a model with afro hair styled in corn rows with two free strands. Taken from Guido Palau's book '#HAIRTESTS'

#HAIRTESTS by Guido Palau is published by IDEA, RRP £65.

See more beautiful images from the book here >

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