Article by Secrets of Paris correspondent Tara Oakes.
Ever been to a hair show? No? You’re not alone. You might not even know what one is. Enlighten yourselves this Saturday with “illuminata”, the first hair show organised by stylepixie English hairdressers right here in Paris. In the stylish setting of La Fabrique gallery, guests will be able to admire the fun and fantastic creations of stylepixie’s team with champagne and great music, as well as the launch of Jax Jewellery.
If you’re curious as to what to expect, owner and creative director Victoria Nelson is on hand to explain. The idea is, essentially, a fashion show with an emphasis on the hair. Twenty-one models will parade styles linked to four different categories: “Modern Tribal”, “Happening”, “Dior Chic” and an avant-garde section entitled “Whimsy”. At the same time, guests are presented not only with keywords explaining the concepts, but also the awesome tunes which provided some of the inspiration for the creations. For those wanting a closer peek, the models will be circulating afterwards with their glorious new ‘dos.
If music, fashion and glamorous hair weren’t enough, the show will also be accompanied by a whole array of other creative endeavours. La Fabrique gallery will itself be displaying the work of 27 artists for its “Carrement Noël” exhibit and Canadian jewellery designer Jacklin Leib will be launching her work under the name Jax Jewellery. In fact, if you’ve never ventured out to Ivry this might be the perfect opportunity to do so – Victoria believes the suburb boasts around 250 artists’ studios within a two-mile radius.
All things fashionable and image-conscious in Paris can seem a little intimidating, and this talk of avant-garde and models might seem a little too much for the uninitiated. Victoria, however, is keen to stress the spirit of the evening as fun and accessible: “It’s not for the fashion industry, it’s not for the hairdressing industry, it’s for you guys, the normal people!...We have a mixture of models who are very real girls... we have some of the clients actually in the show. When you’re trying to appeal to the general public you don’t want it to be scary, it has to be real...”. Obviously she doesn’t want to give too much away, but the pre-released photos support this claim – the hair is colourful, beautiful and exciting, but doesn’t look a million miles away from what one could see every day.
Even for the avant-garde work featuring tutus, paper dresses and bare feet, Victoria emphasises that the work of the salon is underpinned by a very English aesthetic – one that she thinks sets the creations apart from French styling. Is this not sacrilegious in the capital of la mode? She answers diplomatically that English hairdressers train the longest, implying that they’ve had more time to hone their skills. But in addition, Victoria believes that there is simply a fundamental difference between the two cultures, defining English hairdressing as more ‘progressive’ and ‘forward-thinking’ and explaining: “The French aesthetic is very natural. A lot of the young French girls have just long hair that’s never been coloured, they don’t wear much make-up...”. Which is obviously fine in many settings, but not so much fun for a hairdresser to work with or for an audience to watch at a hair show. Instead, stylepixie intend to display colour, shape and creativity à l’anglaise, providing inspiration for the audience regardless of size, shape or nationality. Victoria’s own enthusiasm is evident when she explains that for her, “it’s purely about the creative process... it’s a collaboration of talented people coming together and making something fun and amazing and for me, that’s enough”. If French hairdressing is snubbed, their superiority in other matters will, however, be conceded by the availability of free champagne – something where our Gallic neighbours have definitely got it right.