The beauty industry is awash with dazzling creatives producing stunning works of art on a regular basis. The collections that Industrie currently has in our content “vault” would make any beauty lover’s head spin. The sheer display of artistry, talent and superhuman manipulation of a natural material that is living, breathing and constantly moving that we have at our fingertips, is enough to take your breath away. Every so often, when I’m in particular need of inspiration or even a mood boost, I pick an artist at random and peruse their collection of works.
But I’ll be honest, I’m greedy.
As much as I love seeing perfectly executed angular cuts and the kinds of color placements and pairings that defy the imagination, I am constantly on the hunt for something new. Dizzying displays of skill level deserve all of the respect and admiration that they receive; after all, it takes years of training and a true love of your craft to produce such impeccable work, but I have been hungry for something…more.
I want to be speechless.
I want to be absolutely pounded over the head with raw, unbridled creativity. I want something so out-of-the-box that whoever created it has likely never even seen a box in real life or would know what one was if you mentioned it. I want unique.
At Industrie, we all have our favorite artists. We swap their names and collections around with all of the excitement of 1950s school boys with baseball cards. We compare and defend their individual greatness, argue over whose favorite is really the best of the best and await the arrival of a new collection with the type of bated breath that is usually reserved for a presidential address. The one thing that we can all come together on, however, is the giddiness that comes every time we receive a new collection from an artist that we were previously unfamiliar with. When Metropolis Hairdressing sent over four collections for our review, we knew that we had been given something special.
Les Écorchés, the first of the four collections that we were given, translates to “the flayed,” and is an exploration of what a fictional tribe would look like, if Robert Masciave of Metropolis Hairdressing had anything to do with it.
My imagined tribe is unified in look and behaviour yet comprised of unique characters; exotic yet authentic, violent and beautiful. The white painted scalp simulates the ‘ecorches’ effect whilst their white facial brand marks each as an elegant warrior of my strange, savage tribe.
Inspiration being found through answer seeking is not a new concept. Many of the great writers, artists, scientists and mathematicians of our time have stumbled upon their greatest creations while attempting to answer a seemingly random question. What it takes to go from query to final product, however, is anything but random. When we are struck by a question that we cannot easily answer, that simply won’t leave us alone until it is resolved, that can be the beginning stage of something beautiful. All that is required is the desire, drive and force of will to make it happen. Masicave, for example, started with a mood board to explore the various influences that could be had on his fictitious tribe. From there, he sketched out his final looks, as he thought of them. These beginning stages of the project took months to complete. From conceptualization to realization took about six weeks of a grueling schedule that would not have been physically possible without the sheer force of determination driving it along.
“Now my six weeks consisted of me sleeping four hours a day, working on clients in my salon eight hours a day, five days a week. The collection was made during the 12 remaining hours left in each day. It’s a lot of work and lots of trial and error,” Masciave told us.
With a carefully selected team that he has worked with many times before and “knew all of my secrets!” Masciave set about answering his own question and creating his masterpiece. From this gravity defying collection, there are two looks that proved to be the most difficult — “…the black look with the two pheasant feathers shooting out on each sides. When the base was finished, it looked like that dog on the magic roundabout, but with perseverance I finally cracked it. The second was the two birds on the 3/4 view. Oh my God that was a hard one. It just didn’t work, way too heavy and lots of balancing issues.”
At 3am I cracked it and figured out how it should be worn and balanced to be pleasing to the eye.
Ironically, it is the black pheasant look that is Masciave’s favorite out of the entire collection (proof that we all have a little bit of a special affinity for our problem children) partly from the illusion of lightness from an incredibly heavy piece and partly because it was set to portray a creature protecting its wearer.
While the resulting looks certainly display the time, effort and passion that went into creating them, their rampant creativity is not above translation. Masciave took the looks from Les Écorchés and translated them into a commercial collection for Revlon Professional, soon after, proving that even the most avant garde hair creations can be distilled down into something wearable, with the right perspective and a little imagination.
The looks from Les Écorchés are not typical. They are not even particularly marketable. You wouldn’t necessarily see this collection featured in a magazine, or winning an award at a hairdressing competition (well, at least not in America, anyways. It should be noted that Robert Masciave is an acclaimed hairdresser in Europe, with many a feature and awards under his belt), this is work that is not done in search of recognition or accolades. This is work that is done because it burns in the heart and mind of its creator.
It is work that exists because the artist could not be satisfied until it was born and presented in the way that it was originally envisioned. Which, incidentally, is the aspect of this collection that Masciave is most proud of. This is work conceived in creativity, born out of passion and baptized in the fiery pride of true individuality. This is the kind of work that I’ve been looking for. Having now seen it, it is the type of work that will continue to inspire me (and hopefully all of you) to create something that is uniquely mine, without considering outside critiques or the probability of success. When we learn to strip away outside expectations, we can begin to truly create from a real place. It is the hardest adjustment to make, but the one that is the most important to forgetting that somewhere out there is a box, that we want absolutely nothing to do with.
Hair: Robert Masciave
Photographer: Irena Eastington
Photo Editing: Robert Masciave
Clothes: Jane Doe Latex and No Wear