i-D:
Guido

What there is to know about hair Guido Palau knows, and then some. The hair mae­stro is the brains behind of some of the most sem­i­nal looks of the past 25 years and has worked with every model worth men­tion­ing. From those Calvin Klein cam­paigns with Kate Moss in the early 90s to the exquis­ite basket weave hair from the late Alexander McQueen’s spring/​summer 11 show to the fluoro-coloured cuts from the cur­rent Marc by Marc Jacobs cam­paign, the length and breadth of Guido’s work spans wider than any hair styl­ist in recent memory. Growing up, Guido was influ­enced by Top of The Pops, 70s and 80s punks and New Romantics, as well as London street style and char­ac­ters like Boy George, Princess Julia and, all of those crazy people who expressed them­selves with the way they looked and the way they did their hair.”

Guido went on to hone his skills as the Vidal Sassoon salon in London, but after work­ing on a photo shoot early on, he dis­cov­ered ses­sion styling: That was a real job and that’s why I became a hair­dresser,” he explains. The early turn­ing point in his career was styling the hair in George Michael’s Freedom! 90, the video fea­tur­ing super­mod­els Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington, Tatjana Patitz and Linda Evangelista, that has become syn­ony­mous with the heady glam­our of fash­ion in the 90s. Guido’s con­nec­tions to what was hap­pen­ing in an emerg­ing London led to him col­lab­o­rat­ing on street-cast doc­u­men­tary style por­traits with a young pho­tog­ra­pher, David Sims. He showed me a com­pletely dif­fer­ent way of look­ing at people and opened up his world to me.” Those images caught the atten­tion of a cer­tain Mr. Calvin Klein who recruited him to work on his fash­ion shows and ad cam­paigns, and the rest is his­tory.

Photography by David Sims from Hair: Guido

Guido is now respon­si­ble for the looks at shows across all four fash­ion cap­i­tals, for brands such as Prada, Christopher Kane, Alexander McQueen, Lanvin and Alexander Wang, and finds inspi­ra­tion and excite­ment work­ing on them all. The young, the old, the new and the more estab­lished — they all have a woman they are trying to speak to. Alex [Wang], for exam­ple, is very young and he’s talk­ing about the music and the people he likes, but Ralph Lauren opens up his world to a com­pletely dif­fer­ent woman. You end up really enjoy­ing the process of work­ing with the design­ers, under­stand­ing their visu­als, and you gain a lot of knowl­edge about how you want to pro­ceed in the season with edi­to­ri­als and adver­tis­ing cam­paigns.” This past September saw the release of Hair, his second book after Heads: Hair by Guido in 2002. Guido’s direc­tional cuts take centre stage in strik­ing images by long-time friend and col­lab­o­ra­tor David Sims. The tone of the skin, the neu­tral­ity… it’s not safe. There’s some­thing quite dark about it and the char­ac­ters; in all their per­fec­tion, some­thing is a bit off.” With nar­ra­tion by Andrew Bolton and Tim Blanks, Hair is an oth­er­worldly ode to Guido’s love of hair: It’s twelve years on [from Heads]. I needed to do some­thing that felt like it had moved on. It’s an idea of youth but borne out of clas­si­cism. It’s a very dif­fer­ent book from my last, a dif­fer­ent aes­thetic, but it has the same soul.” Something of a hair alchemist, Guido is also the Creative Consultant for hair care brand Redken, taking high fash­ion looks and shap­ing the beauty ideals for women. Redken are open to my job and what I do, they aren’t asking for glossy blow-dries, they under­stand me and I under­stand them and I feel lucky to be a part of it.” It’s Guido’s down-to-earth men­tal­ity that has cemented his place as the pre­mier hair styl­ist in the indus­try, after more than 25 years. I love indi­vid­u­al­ity and people who don’t follow the herd and who have their own point of view — some­one walk­ing down the street who’s chosen to do their hair in their own way… Individuality is what attracted me to the indus­try; that’s what I find beau­ti­ful.”

Photography by David Sims from Hair: Guido