Do Something New and Original: Let Art Inspire You

Helen Oppenheim | July 22, 2014 | 12:34 PM
Mademoiselles Églantines Troupe, 1896 by Toulouse-Lautrec at MoMA Museum. Note orange hair.
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Jane Avril, 1899 by Toulouse-Lautrec at MoMA Museum. Note yellow hair.
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German Babylon, 1894 by Toulouse-Lautrec at MoMA Museum. Note his yellow hair.
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The Clowness at the Moulin Rouge, 1897 by Toulouse-Lautrec. When she was dancing at the famous Moulin Rouge, there was chaos, an uproar. The costume she wore could be fashionable today and we love the hair tied way up there with a yellow ribbon.
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The hair accessories, fashions and the corset are interesting in these Art Nouveau Privat Livemont illustrations from the book – La Belle Époque: Masterworks by Combaz, Leo Jo and Livemont
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Henri Toulouse-Lautrec’s La Modiste, 1900. No idea if this will be in the MoMA Museum Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition but it is inspiring. From the book, Toulouse-Lautrec, with text by Douglas Cooper, Thames & Hudson, published in 1955.
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The hair in these illustrations by American artist, Charles Dana Gibson was piled deliciously on top of the head and was one step away from the hair of Lautrecs Paris. All the hair in his book "The Gibson Girl and Her America" was the rage at the time, some even being made into wallpaper - bottom right of the collage.
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Be inspired by the stylish blouses in these Belle Époque illustrations published in 1900 by the New York Herald. (From the "La Belle Époque" catalog by Phillippe Julian and Diana Vreeland for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, published in 1982.)
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Stylish shoes and buckles first published in 1900 by the New York Herald for its first fashion supplement instructing ladies about style and fashions of the era. (From the "La Belle Époque " catalog by Phillippe Julian and Diana Vreeland for The Metropolitan Museum of Art, published in 1982.)
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For those into graphic art, check out this alphabet with ornamental letters used in the 1906 issue of Durendal Magazine from the book – "La Belle Époque": Masterworks by Combaz, Leo Jo and Livemont
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Kind of Belle Époque, beautiful, nostalgic vintage-like hair and fashions in this photo were created by Jon Reyman, Aveda, and Argentine designer, Laura Valenzuela for the Argentine Designers NY Fashion Week Show, Spring 2011.  Photography: Helen Oppenheim
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A Belle Époque kind of look in this famous photo published in British Vogue, 1983. For more on this great hair by Harry King, visit WorldGreats Hair by Harry King. Makeup: Rose Bonomo Model: Maria Von Hartz, Photo: Barry Lategan for British Vogue, 1983 Editor: Grace Coddington
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I have always been into art. The movies. Events. And whatever is happening in the world. These have inspired the hair and photos in my collections. I always liked to work with a concept and a narrative for the collections I art directed. Not just a collection of photos hardly speaking to each other!

This worked with full pages in magazines all over the world. Sixteen here, twenty-three there. Four or five often. Full pages that is. How? Why? Well, the collections were very strong visually. Not just for the hair, which was always researched before the studio, but also for the photos, which were planned like a movie. Then, all the hairdressers I liked to work with always tried to innovate, even if a small detail, not copy what others have done over and over. It is easier to do a load of what I call nothing. But so very much better to do something …more. And to be original.

All hairdressers, especially colorists, should know their art. If you do not, you will never truly be world-class. Cubism and Surrealism inspired me at Vidal Sassoon, Art Deco and Magritte at La Coupe, Check the website. I'd take an exhibition, an art movement, and then work with the hairdressers to modernize the look but keep to the theme. Why don't you try it for your next collection?

Here's one idea. Be inspired by Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. La Belle Époque. Art Nouveau. A beautiful era which started in Fance and Belgium around 1871 and ended in 1914.

The pre-eminent artist of Belle Époque Paris was Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec (1864-1901) and he could inspire a Belle Époque /Art Nouveau trend with his exhibition at MoMA Museum, NYC, from July 26, 2014-March 1, 2015.

Featured, his famous prints and plenty to inspire all in the fashion and hair worlds. There's 19th century Parisian life – the social salons, the culture of gastronomy (think Maxim’s), ice-skating, horse racing at Longchamps and, of course, the dance halls, the Can-Can, Moulin Rouge, the brothels and prostitutes – all could inspire you. As could Lautrec’s muses, Yvette Guilbert, La Goulou, Loie Fuller, Jane Avril and everything Époque and Art Nouveau. Lautrec hair was often in bright orange or red or yellow, the styles fitting in with today’s casual looks, one of which could be Gibson girl hairstyles of the era, then you can go to Edwardian looks.

Click the photos here and see some of Lautrec's work at MoMA, also Art Nouveau hair ideas, blouses, shoes, graphic letters and two photos kind of Belle Époque I selected from my website. Check under each photo for more information, some links to the website and some books on the subject.   



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