1ON1: After the Awards: Olivia Zynevych

I am always particularly fascinated by an artist’s name choice for their collection. Olivia Zynevych’s Colour Technician of the Year winning collection for 2015 Hair Expo Awards, entitled “Chimera” is no exception. A breathtaking display of bold, seamless, creative color work; the collection certainly does not resemble the fire-breathing monster from Greek mythology with the head of a lion and  a goat and the tail of a serpent. I think we can safely assume that this definition was not behind Zynevych’s name choice.

The other meaning of the word seems closer to what Zynevych was trying to convey: “a thing that is hoped or wished for but, in fact is illusory or impossible to achieve.” While the collection shows us that incredible, bright, color saturation with impeccable execution is possible (at least by Zynevych) to achieve, perhaps the name eludes to the fact that these looks are something that women aspire to daydream about are fleeting and only displayed in their true form when exhibited as art.

As anyone who has sported non traditional color undoubtedly knows, the statement-making look that you leave the salon with inevitably fades. Usually this happens over the course of a few weeks and the act of fading itself produces a myriad of softer looks that change day-by-day. This is the allure of creative color, with one appointment, you play host to whatever metamorphosis the color work decides to make on its own.

Perhaps the hope, the wish, the thing that is just beyond our grasp is the ability to truly conquer our own look. Instead, perhaps we need to realign our desires to control our image and learn to work with the changes it makes without our consent. Perhaps the underlying message in all things beauty is really quite simple: learn to adapt.

For Olivia Zynevych’s own inspirations, interpretations and techniques, see her responses below (and take her word over mine, 100%).

Where did the inspiration for this collection come from?

Inspired, timeless designs are celebrated in harmony with a minimalistic style, emphasized through distinctive color hues and beautifully artistic expression. Drawing inspiration from the vibrant shades of this season’s hottest pop colors, we wanted this collection to make its statement with attitude. The unique juxtaposition of texture, lines and structure create the illusion of a dark, ethereal beauty that was the main inspiration for this collection.

How did you translate this inspiration into the actual looks?

Our goal was to translate the inspiration into creating the perfect fusion of cut and color. A melting pot of blending was used to make the bizarre become more beautiful and wearable.

How long did it take to take this collection from inspiration to reality?

Our lead-time in planning a collection is usually three months. This allows sufficient time to build the inspiration, organize the logistics and develop the team collaboration. Occasionally we do this in less than one month if the need arises and we are inspired to produce another shoot.

Why did you choose this specific team to work with and these specific models?

We work utilizing the talent within our own team and we have 2 favorite photographers that we have a long-term relationship with. Therefore, we select who we feel suits the specific inspiration best. When selecting models we generally like to work with ones we also have a relationship with and like to have models that are slightly more quirky than commercial in their look.

What was the biggest obstacle that you had to overcome on this shoot?

The greatest obstacle we face with every shoot is ensuring we confirm the models prior to determining the hair look.  Then the challenge is to develop the hair look based upon the inspiration and storyboard so the looks suit each model individually.

How can the inspiration from this shoot be translated into a wearable trend?

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We believe that creativity stems from a great understanding of classic technique. Therefore no matter how creative the finished looks are they can always be diluted into a wearable trend. Whispers of buttery pastel, mixed with radiant acids have produced a striking color pallet, inspiring consumers to appreciate trends that are wearable and individually designed for them with the advice from an expert colorist.

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What one thing about this collection are you most proud of?

That the distinctive color palette is the predominant feature of the images. The simplicity provokes emotion in the mood of the collection so I’m proud we achieved this result.

If you had to describe this collection in only 3 words, what would those be?

Minimalistic. Distinctive. Vibrant.

Which image is your favorite one from the collection and why?

The beauty of shot six perfectly illustrates the inspiration of this collection. The icy grey gradient tones, combineb with a perfectly executed classic graduated bob to produce a beautifully bizarre image.

Can you tell us a little about the trends that you incorporated in these categories, to contribute to the overall look/feel:

Hair Shape: We kept the shapes very timeless and minimalistic, keeping the focus on the colors and ensuring the distinctive palette makes a statement.

Hair Texture: We incorporated a range of modern textures including smooth, waves and curls, so each look allowed the perfect color work to shine through.

Hair Color: We kept the colors vibrant using a mix of the season’s hottest pop colors, combined with buttery pastels to create an inspiring color palette.

Makeup: We always keep the makeup simple so the hair is the primary focus. The focus was on the lips, so we kept the skin dewy, the eyes natural so that the bright lip color really stood out.

Fashion:  Due to the dark mood of the background and lighting, the skin is the feature so we chose no fashion styling.

Do you think there is a specific style to Australian hairdressers and if so, what is it?

In Australia we are fortunate enough to have some extremely talented hairdressers that are respected globally by many other stylists. Our style is generally slightly editorial with a color focus that has a relaxed vibe to it due to the Australian lifestyle. We take inspiration from around the globe to ensure we stay trans-seasonal to have an international appeal.  

Do you think the hairdressers in Australia are different from elsewhere in the world? If yes, how so?

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To be a hairdresser you must really be passionate about what you do with a love for people. For this reason, Australian hairdressers are the same as any other passionate hairdresser in the world.

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What does it mean to win Colour Technician of the Year?

It is such an honor to be awarded 2015 Australian Colour Technician of the Year. To be judged by so many amazingly talented icons of the hair industry is a very proud achievement so I feel very privileged. This award allows greater exposure to the consumer so it’s also a wonderful marketing tool.

Who is your hairdressing mentor?

Tracey Hughes is proudly my mentor and has been from the moment I started hairdressing. Tracey’s dedication to our industry is outstanding and she is an exceptional educator that I’m fortunate enough to have as such a close mentor.


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  • I wish you a (very belated) congratulations Olivia. I am so blown away by your acheivements, your ability to express yourself so well and the sincere gratitud you have for your Mentor. I know your Mum and Dad(my younger Brother) would be so very proud of you too.

    May you continue in your successful,chosen career and I wish you all the very best in the future.
    Love and Thoughts, (your Aunty) Laryssa xx