Explore the artistry of Prada hairstylist Guido Palau
The spirit behind some of fashion’s most memorable hairstyles – from Balenciaga runway shows, Valentino to Prada – has just launched a book showcasing the behind-the-scenes art of his practice.
Indeed, Palau made a career of building characters through hair. His distinctive and particular styles have made him a go-to hairstylist for Prada, as well as Balenciaga, Valentino and more.
#Hairtests is a collection of iPhone photographs of Palau, taken behind the scenes on these shows. These are straightforward photographs, with the sole purpose of capturing the art of Palau hairstyles, which made a name for itself with ’90s fashion icons such as Naomi Campbell, Linda Evangelista and Tatjana Patitz.
In Palau’s hands, profile photos of idiosyncratic fashion beauties become minimal, cool documentations of today’s anti-perfectionist and self-expressionist beauty standards. “By studying the models, I was trying to capture their essence,” says Palau. “Their features, often angular and unconventional, raise many questions: are they clumsy, geek, rebellious or anarchic? What I do is often just a squirt away from disappearing. As soon as you put water on it, it’s gone, so often I only had a few seconds to capture this character.
His grainy images for iPhone resemble modern reinterpretations of Piero della Francesca or Fra Filippo Lippi, and their depictions of Renaissance men and women, with their royal domineering and sculpted braids or angular bowl cuts (styles for which Palau itself has become well known).
As Palau says: “The images present an artist’s rendering, a visual diary of characters. It is not about the photography per se. I simply saved the results to my phone. I’m not a photographer, but like everyone else, I have this camera, like an extension of my hand, which records what is in front of me. ‘
#Hairtests is a treasured addition to any fashion enthusiast or hair enthusiast’s library, allowing you to take a behind-the-scenes look at one of the industry’s most famous artists. It is also a fascinating testament to the transformative power of hair.
“I’m still in love with the way people can change with their hair,” says Palau. “It’s a really exciting time because the boundaries of beauty have really collapsed. Each is beautiful in its own way. Hope this book captures that. §