If you’re not familiar with Alberto Vargas, this Peruvian-native had panache for painting pin-up girls. His work caused quite a stir during his time—the World War II era to be precise—but it also inspired artists and individuals on a global scale and continues to do so for decades on end. Take for instance Nicoletta Gauci. Having a background in art (she actually went to art school before she became a hairstylist) she drew inspiration from his work to create her latest collection, Paradise Cove. We recently sat down with her and had her explain her 2015 NAHA entry in detail with us.
“The original inspiration came from an assistant of mine named Brittany Crow. She showed me some hair images that I believe came from Guido Palau. It made me think of swim caps from the Vargas-era. After doing some research, I picked some of my favorite looks to create—a bob to resemble fish scales, a turban headband, one to resemble roses and one with a wave pattern.”
After selecting the looks she wanted to create, Nicoletta had to determine a color scheme since Vargas was so iconic for his.
“There’s just something about his color palettes in each of his drawings. It makes me feel inspired and brings me to a different place. I just love that a drawing of a woman with details so specific, like hair, makeup and curvatures of her body, could create such an uproar during that time period. He really revolutionized what women were ‘allowed’ to do and how they could be seen.”
On the day of shoot, and in front of a pink screen (not a green screen Nicoletta pointed out), her vision started to come to life. “We had a great wardrobe stylist on set that day and what made it really special was that my photographer’s last name was…Vargas!” But during postproduction, Nicoletta felt like her final images we just missing something. “I knew an element of design was missing so I contacted an illustrator friend of mine who I went to college with. She added in what was needed.”
Translating Hair Color Trends & Style
Now let’s face it, a client is not going to walk into the salon and say, “I want my hair to be this cerulean blue, styled into tiny pin curls.” She might, and if so, then that’s fantastic, but it’s not an everyday look. So we asked Nicoletta, how do you want this collection to inspire a salon professional and how do you want to inspire the salon client?
“Naturally I am not expecting your clients to be leaving the salon with blue pin curls, but inspiration comes from everywhere and trends cycle back. I wanted to take the shapes and forms on the Vargas girls and bring in colors that are trending today. All of the styling techniques I used are foundational that most students in beauty school are learning to pass their state boards. These are foundations we all know how to do. I feel like hairdressing has lost the “dressing” part and I want to inspire others to get back to that.” Nicoletta told us.
As for the creative take on color, she adds, “All of these color looks are temporary. If you want to evolve your color story, find the right hairstylist and really push your look for a night out or for a day or two. Just have some fun with it!”
Hair: Nicoletta Gauci
Assistant: Saima Khalid
Photography: Tyna Vargas
Makeup: Jamie Kimbrough
Illustration: Christine McAleer
Wardrobe: Hannah Johnson