Word on the street is that if you get cast for the Marc Jacobs show, you better be ready to make a drastic hair change. Last season it was dramatic haircuts, and the year before that it was controversial dreadlocks. And for the designer’s Spring/Summer 2019 show, models were asked to colour their hair — and 37 of them agreed.
“I’ve never worked on anything where there was so much willingness to try new things,” Josh Wood, Redken global colour creative director, tells Refinery29. “This is the biggest colour project I have every worked on. Every single girl is a different colour. It was like a colour revolution.”
The colour lineup included a mix of antique pastels, inky blacks, rich reds, silvery blondes, and bold brunettes, and every shade was chosen to coordinate with the fabric in the collection. “Marc signed every single colour off himself, and each girl had one or two fabric swatches that we were matching the hair colour to,” says Wood.
The Redken team started by bleaching the models using Flashlift. Then they added a darker shadow to the roots, layered on a metallic base colour, and — once each model was fitted in her outfit — finished with the vibrant hair colour. Some of the models had to undergo five or six processes before reaching the final colour and the entire thing took three days, with Wood still colouring hair just hours before the runway.
In addition to the new colour, some of the models also got haircuts. Akiima Yong, of IMG, got her hair chopped and painted a pastel pink before the runway. She tells R29 that it was her decision to make the change (and her agency was also informed). “I’m OK with it. I’ve never had my hair pink before, and I wanted to cut my hair already,” she says. And as for her other jobs during fashion month, she’s not particularly concerned. “I don’t know how other designers will feel, but this is the last show. Nothing is going on until I go to the next city.”
Guido Palau, Redken global creative director, echoes that the option for a makeover is all up to the models. “It was really up to the girls. You can’t be dictatorial,” he says. “Marc is very lucky that a lot of girls want to do his show, and the girls are more open to change now. There’s not a stigma attached to having your hair buzzed off like there was a few years ago. I’m always surprised. We had more than we needed.”
As for the styling, the beauty look was inspired by the starlets of the ‘50s, like Barbara Streisand and Lee Radziwill. In a contrast to all the individualistic, natural hair looks we’ve been seeing for the last few seasons, this look is a throwback to women with polished hairstyles. After all the cutting and colouring, models either got teased bouffants with flipped ponytails, egg-shaped bobs, or cropped buzz cuts.
“We’ve seen lots of natural looks, and it’s very cool, but a 'finished woman' was something Marc wanted to emphasise again,” says Palau. “She has been to the salon; it’s a very coiffed look. This is kind of fashion in a fantasy way.”