‘The hand grasps the world it creates. In serving its master, it reflects his being, as if through a mirror, in a thousand and one ways’ – Walter Sorell
Even before my passion for the craft of hairdressing began I had always been fascinated by hands. I guess with life in general I find nothing more intriguing than the hidden meaning of the most obvious, and our hands are certainly something we can often take for granted.
As the servant of our bodies and the instrument of our mind, the hand has always been part of our physical and intellectual life. Reacting to every tremor of emotion, responding to outside stimuli faster than we can speak, they are a mystery with which we live and a reality which we use as a tool, and a means of expression.
With hairdressing, like any artist; our tools become an extension of the hands, a channel for pure creativity to flow.
The images below are the outcome of a recent collaboration with Sydney based photographer Byron Spencer, featuring model Alex Thorn.
Conception and hair: Leonard Mattis using Leonard Mattis products
Photography: Byron Spencer
Location: Leonard Mattis Studio
Model: Alex Thorn at IMG Models
I recently got my hands on a copy of the new Alexander McQueen biography, by Judith Watt. Reading through I was not only reminded of his fashion genius, but also how heavily hair was a feature throughout his collections. One of my personal favourites being his 1992 MA Graduate Collection ‘Jack the Ripper Stalks His Victims”, where garments featured encapsulated human hair.
In McQueen’s words:
“The inspiration behind the hair came from Victorian times when prostitutes would sell theirs for kits of hair locks, which were bought by people to give to their lovers. I used it as my signature label with locks of hair in Perspex. In the early collections, it was my own hair.”
Hair: Fashion and Fantasy. By Hairstylist Laurent Philippon.
Celebrating the art of hair, Philippons new tome delves into the origins of hairstyling. Combining historical references with pivotal moments in fashion photography and celebrity culture.
‘Hairstyling is a genuine art form: it symbolically represents our transition from unkempt barbarians to civilised social beings.’ – Laurent Philippon
English artist Tabitha Kyoko Moses. Hairpurse. Metal clasp, human hair (2004).
The memoirs of Leonard Autie, often referred to as Monsieur Leonard. Celebrated and loyal hairdresser to Queen Marie Antionette.
Leonard was entrusted with the sole responsibility of ensuring that the queen’s coiffure was at its most ostentatious best. Accredited with inventing the pouf or beehive style that symbolised the excessiveness of the court at Versailles during the better part of her reign, his memoirs relay the many roles he played in the life of his most famous client.
Although the authenticity of the text is debated it certainly makes for a great read.
Recollections of Leonard. View online edition
Rh unisex haute couture collection #10. Photographed by Rad Hourani.
Leopard print hair. Jean Paul Gaultier’s Haute Couture AW2013. Paris.
Leonard. Photographed by Grace Cassio.