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EXCLUSIVE! Sam McKnight at Andrea Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood

Creative HEAD was invited exclusively backstage at Andrea Kronthaler for Vivienne Westwood to see Sam McKnight for BaByliss PRO create the hair story for one of the biggest labels at Paris Fashion Week. And with Vivienne Westwood herself walking the runway, all eyes were on this show! Here, we illustrate just how the lead hair stylist designs that look in synergy with the label’s own collection concept…

In his A/W17 collection for Vivienne Westwood, Andrea Kronthaler pointed to a number of inspirations – including the centenary of the birth of Vienna Modernism, Kronthaler’s childhood Austrian home and his bedroom’s Gustav Klimt posters – while declaring the collection a ‘tribute’ to the Wiener Werkstätten (the Vienna Workshop). “One is a felt two-piece costume raw-cut, decorated with alpine flowers and the second, a glorious little ‘dirndl’,” he stated. “We changed the cut but kept the childish proportions.”

“I prefer when people choose not to show everything, it is more interesting what you hide. I don’t dislike any body shape, there is too much emphasis put on it nowadays. I like the eyes and the face and I love hands and feet,” he added. “Men and women in suits! It adds formality to our relationships. It is good not to be part of any scene or movement. I think it’s cool to be out of place or awkward, insecure, overdressed, weak, romantic, in love…”

Then, it’s over to Sam McKnight to create the hair look – something he called Recycled Chic, that’s on message with Vivienne Westwood’s sustainability mission. Here’s what he told us from the midst of the action backstage at The Grand Hotel in Paris…

“The hair’s quite naive today, quite childlike. We have lots of coloured hair that’s being thrown in because the idea is that they’re kids getting dressed up at home with whatever they can find.

“We’re starting with clean hair with a nice texture and a little bit of tonging [Sam’s team used the Titanium Expression Ultimate Styler, Italia BRAVA hairdryer and Titanium Expression Tongs, all from BaByliss PRO]. It’s clean, it’s not grungy. We’re adding coloured hair, we’re putting on fringes back to from, we’re tying fringes onto the bottom of the hair, tying crisp packets and biscuit packs through the hair, kind of like you might do when you’re 17 and you’ve been to Glastonbury and you’re on the third day and you’re dressing up in whatever you can possibly find!

“The team has been collecting the accessories from the recycling in the showroom! It’s great. There are lots of hats in the collection made out of recycled rubbish too, earrings from long pieces of hair, so this is carrying it all through. We’re adding long, long pieces of hair; if someone has curly hair I’ll put a straight piece in; if someone doesn’t have a fringe we’ll put one on with the pin showing. It’s a bit Blue Peter really…

“It’s lots and lots of fun, and when they’re done, they look quite elegant in a way. I’m trying to keep them (the accessories from rubbish) looking like hats. We’re doing little braids, messy cornrows and twisting and folding the hair over and we’re not hiding the pins or the elastic. It’s kind of haphazard and everyone is completely different.

“I’m going to leave the boys and some of girls until after rehearsal so that we have everything – from nothing to lots and some bits inbetween. I’m not thinking they’re punky or gothy – it’s much more childlike and innocent than that. It’s a nice healthy texture. It’s a little bit like the Port Eliot Festival, it’s brilliant!”