The crown jewels


From fuchsia to chartreuse, wedge cuts to side points, the Marc Jacobs A/W18 show was a masterclass in statement hair. Josh Wood and Guido, the backstage leads creating the hair looks with Redken, lift the lid on how the story came together

In a show that saw 80 per cent of the girls donning hats, you know it must have been pretty spectacular hair on the remaining models to have ended up on the cover of the New York Times. That was down to the artistic talents and dogged determination of session stars Josh Wood and Guido, alongside their teams. A pure illustration of the power of collaboration, the duo worked diligently with the designer to deliver a darker take on ’80s nostalgia, referencing classic Sassoon techniques with the cuts, and neon and strobe lighting from an ’80s nightclub for the colour. It was a delicious fusion that excited the world of fashion, something that isn’t so easy to do in 2018.

Jacobs had a very clear understanding about what he wanted to create, looking at a very specific time in the ’80s using extreme silhouettes. “It felt night time, colourful but in a dark way,” says Guido, global creative director for Redken. “I went back to what had an impact on me at the beginning of my career. I started at Sassoon, those haircuts were my blueprint for hairdressing.” After each model was cut, the colour task kicked into gear.

Jacobs set Josh with the task of colour matching every single piece of fabric the models would be wearing. The Redken global color creative director found it all reassuring. “With designers, colour is so subjective. We had 20 samples of fabric and that we were trying to match to the hair. It’s actually much easier than Marc saying ‘I want a fuschia pink’, because his fuschia pink is very different from Katie Grand’s fuschia pink, different to Guido’s fuschia pink… there were boundaries and goals that we were trying to achieve,” he explains. “Obviously some of the fabric colours don’t exist for hair. There was a lot of trial and error. But the more clear the brief, the easier it is to deliver…”

It was an all-consuming project. Three days of conversations before anyone arrived at the test, and then three 20-hour days with Josh’s team working in shifts. “The show is the full stop, they have to be ready!” he jokes. And some shades were more of a challenge, namely chartreuse. “Direct dyes like City Beats, they are what they are. You squeeze it in the bowl, you put it on the bleached hair and that’s that. We had to bleach the hair to a very specific shade of mustard to get something that wouldn’t be a banana yellow. It still needed a lot of underlying pigment in it to get that greeny-gold. That was done about five times,” Josh admits. “We were up and down those stairs in the Marc Jacobs studio, and when you’re rinsing precision colour, where the placement is everything, it’s not easy to do over the kitchen sink with a bowl of chow mein at the side…”

Chinese takeaways aside, the end result was one that thrilled both designer and the wider fashion world alike. The models in question have since been used in the Marc Jacobs seasonal campaign and used by Guido in a magazine shoot. And it was a first for Josh Wood, seeing himself namechecked in the show notes. “It was a career highlight for me,” says Josh. “In TV interviews, Marc said that what I’d done exceeded expectations, he’d never seen colour like that. It’s a pretty proud moment when you’re allowed to create something for a creative genius and you’re introducing them to something rather than just meeting their expected vision.”

The looks were also an exercise in keeping an open mind: “I’m very proud of these looks, but for us hairdressers who have been around since the late ’80s, we’ve seen those looks before,” says Josh. “The massive step change is that the fashion world has never seen that before, certainly not in a Marc Jacobs context on a runway on those models.”

Guido takes it a step further: “I always say to hairdressers never say never to things that might be ‘bad taste’,” he says, referencing the perception of such full-on 80s cuts. “When you see something in a fresh light, in a different time and with modern hands, it can look new again.”