Monday, 2 March 2009

The rat in the hat: Q and A with Charlie le Mindu

One of the most controversial shows this fashion week was the hat and headress show by 22yo hairdresser and wigmaker Charlie le Mindu, showing (excuse the pun) on the fringe of LFW. His full face headress made from rat and mice carcasses has caused a storm in cyberspace, but we know the genteel Frenchman as the creative tour de force behind Vauxhall Fashion Scout designer Emma Bell's amazing catwalk hair. So who is Charlie le Mindu?

The Fashion Scout: Where are you from in France and how do you find yourself here in London?
Charlie le Mindu:
I'm from a village near Bordeaux, where I lived with just my grandmother, called Castelnau De Medoc. Then at 18 I moved to Berlin for 3 years which was great, but since January 2008 I'm here in London - the city that I really love and finally understands my work... There is more for me to do here and also more interesting people to work with.

FS: When did you decide you wanted to be hair stylist?
: I was saying to my mum at 6 years old I wanted to be hairstylist. I started at 13 in my uncle's salon of my uncle, which i left really quickly because I hated it, and went to work at 14 in a salon in Bordeaux where just punks were coming to get their hair done.

FS: Who or what inspires your creations?
I don't look to any magazines or any catwalk shows for that, more to do with crazy shapes that I invent myself then also lots of singers inspire me such as Grace Jones or Khima France from Kap Bambino.

FS: What's your signature cut?
CLM: I think lot of people knows me as doing massive double quiff like a Teddy Boy or the "Plonk-on" shaved side and a really short bowl haircut that looks like a wig. But I will say that my most famous wigs are the Cone wigs.

Do you have a permanent salon? Or are you doing the pop up salons at the moment?
Yes I'm working from home in my cute flat in Shoreditch. Also I'm going to people's houses and every Monday doing haircuts in Tatty Devine. I'm going to start again some club to do hairstyles at night, maybe Collapsing New People at the Macbeth.

FS: What's the idea behind the pop up salons?
CLM: I start doing that in Berlin because the first reason is that Berlin day life is boring and I wanted to have to people from the nightlife coming to me to have their hair done. Also I will never work in a salon again in my life because I think it's so not interesting. At least with the pop up salon I work with different people everyday in my life which is really fun.

FS: How did you get involved with Emma Bell?
CLM: I got to work with her because I do lots of shoots with her friend Alexis Knox who is a stylist for tonnes of magazine. And Emma Bell said to her that I was the only one she wanted to have as Hair Director for her show.

FS: So what hair did you do for Emma Bell this season?
CLM: It’s quite romantic, kind of Italian and Romanesque, it’s very sexy. It’s not as crazy as usual.

FS: Did you enjoy working at Vauxhall Fashion Scout?
I really like to work there as Hair Director- there's really good space to feel comfortable and all people from the venue are really nice.

FS: Whose hair would you love to have a go at?
CLM: I would love to do Cher a wig, I think she is so funny! And so trash!

FS: What does the future hold for Charlie Le Mindu?
CLM: I've just done my first wig and hat collection at fashion week but I prefer that everyone knows me more as an amazing hairstylist than a wigmaker. Yes, one day people will wait out front of my door to get their hair done.

Interview by Hannah Kane