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Interview: Mark Hayes, Fashion Buff and International Creative Director for Vidal Sassoon

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We're fascinated with the way Vidal Sassoon creates a collection. While the Sassoon looks change from season to season, the fundamental geometric techniques remain the core of Sassoon's seasonal collection of cuts and colors. In each collection there are several different revolving techniques that are customized and applied to a client's haircut.

Recently we had the opportunity to chat with International Creative Director for Vidal Sassoon, Mark Hayes. As a man with a pretty hefty title and the power to influence the fashion, beauty and design worlds, we wanted to know his inspirations behind the current collection, how its implemented in the salon, and what he feels the future holds.

Racked Chicago: If its a reinvention of one's self that people are after, how do you bring that to people season after season, what inspires you particularly for this collection?

Mark Hayes: We look at fashion to get a fix on where things may be headed and we got a real move toward this slightly decadent slightly subversive look. What it reminded me of was was this reoccurring fascination with the corset. You know, if you think about Madonna in the 80s, Gaultier, Galliano, Dolce and Gabbana, Viktor & Rolf - all those kind of designers seem to have this reoccurring theme. It made me think of the work of a famous photographer - Brassaï who in the 20s and 30s photographed the city of Paris at night. A lot of his images have been used in fashion over and over again. Madonna's Vogue video the back shot is a forced image. Also in the recent Madonna with Louis Vuitton campaign where she's in the cafe is directly inspired by Brassaï. He also has a book called Paris by Night with all these images of the sort-of underworld of Paris which is where the name of our most recent collection comes from: "Demi Monde"

Racked: That means 'half world', right?

Mark: Yes but it also refers to a certain type of woman who has this slightly hedonistic lifestyle. So when I think of Paris in the 20s, I immediately think of that neat sculpted head shape that was the jumping off point for all the hair cuts.

Racked: We're seeing a lot of around to the jaw line, corner of the mouth and slightly shorter on the cheek bone.

Mark: Right we still are using the geometric approach that Sassoon has but the end result doesn't have to be geometric - depending on how the cut is styled - it allows you this versatility. All of our cuts have a real edge because I'm seeing there's been a lot of long, nothing-y hair around for a while now and I just think its really boring. Its nice to have the hair cut in a shape that works with the individual's bone structure as opposed to just long hair having it cut round to a length.

Racked: What direction are you giving to your colorists - what colors are you using?

Mark: The colors right now are suited to the individual so anything from white pale blond to deep red into a midnight black - some things very powerful and clear to the color. You really have to look at the individual and see how the color works with their own personality - that is the key to any Sassoon collection.

Racked: We had the opportunity to briefly talk with Vidal [the man] and ask him what piece of Chicago architecture he admired and he told us the John Hancock. Being the International Creative Director for Sassoon what pieces of architecture or art are you looking toward for your next inspiration?

Mark: I think one think that is certainly happening especially in the UK is the Olympics, sportswear is going to be huge. There's also a definite reaction to that over-styled glamour look. I think the most inspirational things for me at the moment are Balenciaga for the cut and the angle of the line, the strength. There's also a definite trend toward the idea of authenticity. I like the idea of taking a brand and in a way, like what Tom Ford did or Celine, Phoebe Philo. Sort-of re-launching it to make it more authentic.
· Vidal Sassoon [Official Site]