Shaun McGrath, avant garde specialist, has always erred on the side of quirkiness and creative expression with his work in hairdressing. “I blur the line between hairdressing, installation and sculptural art. Working from my base in salon styling, I have modified my hairdressing skills to encompass my passion for couture wiggery and hair manipulation,” he says.
As the Director at Stevie English Bondi and cranial installations, he's created wigs which use everyday items set to mimic hair. "My growing focus is in sustainable hair works, using recycled hair and clippings from the salon floor and generating 'accessible' education models for other stylists to also create sustainable works," he says.
His results have been epic, and have created quite a stir in the worlds of fashion, art, and of course, hair. Here he presents "The Wilderness" collection by Stevie English Salons which is much a statement as it is a collection.
At Stevie English Salons, they have a very strong ethos of sustainability with 90% of their salon waste recycled. The Wilderness Collection runs to the same ethos, with 90% of the hair used for the collection taken from clippings on the salon floor whilst the other 10% all from previous work, making this collection 100% sustainable. This collection, I hope will act as an inspiration for others both creatively and morally.
“This collection is very literal in its direction,” says McGrath. “I wanted every piece to sit beautifully and seamlessly in the environment which it was inspired by.”
THE ELK HORNS: “These were built to belong in a North American wilderness mid-way in its ‘fall’ transition. The golds, bronzes, yellows and hints of the last summer greens where the foliage was protected from the early frosts are symbolic of a deciduous fall.”
THE LAVENDER: “Was inspired by what I’d imagined it to have been in the “old world” before farming cultivation, growing wild without order, somewhere on the hills of the Canary Islands.”
THE MOSS: “Living, dying and rumbling over stones in a partial darkness, it is a vibrant and alive green growing through the decay of its own body.”
THE FLOWERS END: “I believe decay of the natural world to be one of the most beautiful processes we can watch. I wanted to interpret that process and show how beautiful it is, fragile, muted but still beautiful aesthetically delicate.
MUSHROOMS: “I spent more time studying for this piece than for any other piece in this collection. Watching how they grow from a tree base, the density of them all reaching in the same direction for a little sunlight became so important to the working of the piece.”
COASTAL BRANCHES: “Inspired by the weathered branches of the South Western British headlands, where super exposed shrubs are torn back to branches on the exposed side and the almost ash blue hues that have been created by years of subjection to salt, wind and rain.”
Manipulation of Hair
McGrath says the hair was altered by many different processes. They over processed powder lighteners and left the hair in the product for weeks to the point the fabric became a consistency “somewhere between rubber and petroleum jelly,” he says. “Then we are able to stretch and mold it around objects or itself, allowing it to be stretched into desired shapes and return to hair fabric."
"Other processes involved taking a classic three stand braid but adding a six point knotting system into layer after layer to create the appearance of lavender. I used compound matting to create flat fabrics to make surfaces seem continuous as well as micro knotting to mold hair into organic shapes,” he says.
For more information about McGrath and Stevie English Salons, visit www.stevieenglish.com.au/.
Collection: The Wilderness
Hair: Shaun McGrath
Photography: Ben Cook
Makeup: Jenny Roberts
Fashion Styling: Harriet Cotterill
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