I’m not going to lie, choosing Kooky as my favorite Tracey Hughes collection was a no brainer for me. When Tracey gave us a handful of her favorite collections for us to choose from, Kooky just stood out to me. It wasn’t that the title of the collection was quirky (let’s face it, the word Kooky just has a level of inviting whimsy to it), it was the “shabby chic + glamour + grunge” vibe that caught my eye. And when I found out that the inspiration behind it was graffiti, well, that just sealed the deal for me.
When you look up the definition of the word “graffiti,” it is defined as “writing or drawings scribbled, scratched, or sprayed illicitly on a wall or other surface.” Let’s replace the word “illicitly” with the word “artistically.” Illicitly sounds too cold and criminal for my liking. Artistically sounds much more inviting and skillful.
In the case of Tracey, she’s much like a graffiti artist when it comes to Kooky. She artistically drew on a surface. Her media of choice are various hair colors, and her surface of choice is various hair types and lengths.
Each image in Kooky radiates femininity, but not in a girlie fashion. Maybe it’s because when I look more closely at each image, I notice subtle and strategic elements of strength, especially in the fashion styling that overpowers anything girlie.
For instance, the first model with the vintage beaded lace short-sleeved shirt over a floral top. Take a closer look at the top and notice the metal spikes growing off it like thorns.
And the model with the black fringe shawl, notice the metal grommets nestled on her hipbone? How about the lovely lady with the hair parted down the middle with the braids? Her dress cutouts softy strangling her bare skin whilst rigid boning running upwards along her ribcage keeping her slightly contoured.
These subtle nuances of strength in the styling are what make this collection anything but girlie. They keep it feminine and stimulating to the senses.
But we all know what Tracey Hughes is known for and that is creating astonishing and remarkable hair. She’s not a one-trick pony, that’s for damn certain. She doesn’t just do creative color, or only do braid work, or only showcases precision cutting. She does it all and does it all extremely well. I feel like Kooky is a clear representation and combination of all her talents grouped into one collection.
Let’s start with cutting. Take a look again at the model with the beaded top and thorny metal flowers. This, THIS is a classic and signature Tracey Hughes cut, ladies and gents. Even the model with the burgundy color; the rounded fringe sculpted with precision paired with disconnection. These two images showcase Tracey Hughes’ impeccable haircutting skills. Let’s jump back to the beaded top model once again, the one with the sandy and platinum blonde migrating into a sea of ombré—a technique and end result that screams “2X Colorist of the Year” award-winner.
And then we have the model, with the braids creeping up along the side of her head and webbing out into anarchic texture. You can’t help but focus on the white roots and strategically placed multi-dimensional tones of blue accentuating the braid work. This leads me into the styling and finishing. How it all ebbs and flows into various textures—a little chaos here, a little smooth-as-silk there, and a lot of talent and technique throughout.
I’m going to be really honest here. I have a love/hate relationship with creative color. Sometimes I can’t stand to look at it, especially when it reminds me of an oversized multicolor lollipop you win at state fair. Hair that when you look at it you say to yourself, “Oh that’s not going to look like that after two shampoos no matter how good that shampoo is.” Maybe it’s because creative color has become so mainstream now and that it has somewhat lost its magic and “wow factor” for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I love, L-O-V-E, love me some creative color, but in this line of work that I’m in, I see so much of it on a day-to-day basis now. But then there are times when a collection of images comes our way and appreciate it in all its glory.
Kooky is a great example of why I appreciate (and still love and embrace) creative color. The color doesn’t look forced and it’s not trying too hard. It doesn’t make you say, “Was that supposed to look like that?” The color isn’t over-the-top. It’s fashion forward yet wearable (thanks to creative color going full-blown mainstream now) and for this I love Kooky.