No matter the hardships they may have been enduring, women have always found ways to feel better through beauty. During WWII, when nylons were in short supply, a line of eyeliner drawn up the back of the leg mimicked a pair of stockings. Today, even when masks and social distancing mean women are under cover and spending less time socializing, don’t think they will give up on glamour says Vivienne Mackinder, industry leader, innovator, educator and co-founder of HairDesignerTV.com (HDTV), a post-graduate training system for hairdressers to advance their skills. If anything, now is the time for stylists to remind their clients of the boost that beauty brings.
“My mother was a war bride, living through the rationing and restrictions of the 1940s, but women of that era were very glamorous,” says Mackinder. “They wanted to escape the harshness and deprivation of their lives.”
Currently based in The Hamptons, New York, Mackinder grew up in London. “When I was in college, our textbook looked back at 5,000 years of hairdressing,” says Mackinder, who first attended the London College of Fashion, studying design for film and theater, and then enrolled for training at Vidal Sassoon. “An obvious through line is that the most profound fashion moments came during times of radical social change--war, revolutions, political unrest—whatever the shakeup, fashions emerged as a reaction and were born of necessity.”
Mackinder says that as a young teen, for example, she watched the rise of the Punk Movement happen as a reaction to British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. “England was in recession, many were out of work, and kids felt like they’d been deprived of a future—so they rebelled against the status quo in their music, their dress, their hair.”
Today, as a result of COVID-19, the concerns around spreading the virus, and the new guidelines to follow during a service, Mackinder predicts a beautiful return to wash-and-wear hair that is relaxed, natural, and effortless.
RETURN TO GLAMOUR
“In some states and some salons, they won’t be blow drying hair so now is the time to really understand how to cut, style and design a look, simultaneously, for a natural finish. This can be a challenge for many of today’s stylists, though, because they have been trained to, first, cut a shape, then do a fabulous blow dry and the go back into the cut to detail and debulk. But you can’t use that method if you’re going for that natural look or you’re not able to blow dry.”
Mackinder’s system of hair design involves “cutting a section, playing with the hair, sculpting it into place, touching it to give it airiness, and then moving onto the next section and repeating.” It’s ultimately the training of eye and hand that allows her to create these woke-up-this-way looks.
“At Sassoon, we rebelled against the blow dryer. The heat of your hand, moving it through the hair, almost acts as a blow dryer. I go lightly with product and keep revisiting the hair... and I have always worked that way. I’m not the hairdresser that does two thing—I do one thing, gets my results, and move on.”
Mackinder says that if blow drying isn’t possible, but you want to add volume, set hair on Velcro rollers and go under the heat lamp. And for that final shine, run through the hair with a curling iron. She has had to make do and reimagine many times when working on set, especially when on location.
“Crisis and opportunity live in the same house; when things are taken away from you then you have to be super resourceful. I remember the first time I did a rag set,” she recalls. “I was on a shoot in the Sahara Desert and I had no electricity. But the photographer said, I want to see curls. With no way to plug in a curling iron, I had to think creatively. I tore fabric into strips, wound the hair up with the fabric, knotted it, and the model sat in the sun to dry her damp hair. The result was beautiful.”
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