Philippe Tholimet is a French hair stylist who lives in London and works all over the world. He styled the hair of Birdy and models Mia, Ina and Tandi for the REDValentino Spring/Summer '17 campaign without using a single hair product. Here he describes his bohemian way of life and rising to the challenge of the unexpected...
On building up a portfolio: ‘I assisted A-list hairdresser Eugene Souleiman for 10 years, and traveled with him all over the world. When I had a day off (if I had one!) I would call up new photographers and build up a portfolio with them. I knew that I couldn’t assist Eugene forever, so I signed with the agency Streeters in order to collaborate with inspiring brands like REDValentino.’
On his bohemian way of life: ‘I worked in Paris hair salons for five years from the age of 18, but disliked the restriction of working in one place. I wanted to be on the road and working with new people every day. The REDValentino campaign was perfect for me because it was reactive. We moved from Hackney street locations to buses and diners, and I got the chance to flow with the mood of the shoot.’
On using wind as a tool on the REDValentino shoot: ‘As the campaign focuses on four friends hanging out, it was important to keep each model’s individuality. I wanted girls to identify with the group, to be able to achieve the hair as well as buy the beautiful clothes. I kept the hair natural and organic by simply using the wind to create movement and texture.’
On being ready for anything: ‘I have two suitcases of products with me all the time. In reality I would like to have wigs, extensions, hair-pieces and dyes in every color, so it would be like traveling with my own shop. You never know what direction a shoot will go in, so being ready for the unexpected is key. Luckily the weather worked to my advantage on the REDValentino shoot, and I barely needed any styling aids.’
On staying switched on: ‘Whenever I meet someone, I look at their hair. I find inspiration on the streets when I travel, but especially from performers who use their hair and makeup as a way of saying something. Amy Winehouse, Siouxsie Sioux and Boy George are iconic to me, as are artists Andy Warhol and Lucian Freud. Now I can add Birdy’s flowing hair in the REDValentino campaign to my moodboard.’
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