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On Beauty: Pantone Hair

By Renée Batchelor

Models backstage at Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2019 show.
Marc Jacobs
Models backstage at Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2019 show.

There have been many hair-raising moments that stand out in fashion history. Think Jean Harlow popularising the shade platinum for the first time ever in the 1930s, or Linda Evangelista’s ever-changing hues in the ’90s. But for the most part, many of the most jaw- dropping transformations we’ve witnessed have been attributed to the magic of wigs.

In the Marc Jacobs Spring/Summer 2019 show, 37 models agreed to have bespoke hair colours created just for them. Taking its cue from a ’60s-inspired, vintage pastel theme, all the models sported colours that matched their outfits and wore complementary eyeshadow shades for a tonal effect. Discarding wigs in favour of hair colour, famed colourist Josh Wood, of the Josh Wood Atelier — he’s famous for giving supermodel Elle Macpherson her beachy highlights — and his team meticulously selected colours based on actual fabric swatches, before beginning the arduous process of prepping the hair: Bleaching where necessary and adding root dimension so the hair would look a bit worn in. This was not a paint-by-numbers job — no two models had the same colour.

Amongst those who sashayed down the runway in their customised colour included Adwoa Aboah in a pale, almost indefinable shade of pink on her afro, and Mariana Zaragoza in a peach-hued bouffant ’do. These colours were particularly unique as they defied easy categorisation. Dree Hemingway’s buzz cut had just that hint of chartreuse, while other colours rested in the interesting realm between grey and dusty blue. In order to create what he termed “lived-in colour”, Wood applied a metallic base coat followed by vintage pastel overtones, so there was a softness and depth to the colour that hid the fact that it was a fairly recent dye job.

Taylor JewellA model dons a hair colour similar to Pantone’s 2019 Colour of the Year, Living Coral.
A model dons a hair colour similar to Pantone’s 2019 Colour of the Year, Living Coral.

But when wearing colours on your hair — be they soft pastels or brighter orange hues like living coral, which is Pantone’s 2019 colour of the year — there are things to note when it comes to maintenance and even the process of dyeing your hair. Before deciding on your colour and your colourist, note that several factors will affect the longevity and vibrancy of your dye job. The quality of the colourant, the application process, the formulation of the colour, the pre-colour prep, the after-colour care, and the condition of the hair, will all need to be taken into account according to Chester Wong, the creative director of Singapore salon Hair Philosophy. “Hair that has gone through several chemical processes will require attention before, during and after colouring to prevent fast fading,” says Wong. To achieve the pretty, muted effect of these hues will require a deft touch and plenty of patience, and yes, this colour must look expensive — there’s no place for overgrown roots or brassiness, so be prepared to spend on maintenance. As a matter of fact, Wood and his team were applying toner on the hair up to a day before the show took place.

And what does one do about makeup to suit these dusty hues? The models in the Marc Jacobs show — following the direction of lead makeup artist Diane Kendal — wore matching, pastel hues on their eyes, had tightlined eyes and a sheer, glossy lip. So, ditch the strong lip colours like rich eggplant, bold scarlet or brick orange, and go for those that match the undertones of your hair colour — be it warm or cool — for a soothing, eye-pleasing vibe.