Word on the street is that if you get cast in the Marc Jacobs runway, 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. For the designer’s Spring/Summer 2019 runway, models were asked to color 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 color creative director, tells Refinery29. “This is the biggest color project I have every worked on. Every single girl is a different color. It was like a color revolution.”
The color 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 color off himself, and each girl had one or two fabric swatches that we were matching the hair color 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 color, and — once each model was fitted in her runway outfit — finished with the vibrant hair color. Some of the models had to undergo five or six processes before reaching the final color. And the entire situation took three days, with Wood still coloring hair just hours before the runway.
In addition to the new color, 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 coloring, 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 emphasize again,” says Palau. “She has been to the salon; it’s a very coiffed look. This is kind of fashion in a fantasy way.”