Pretty is as Pretty Does

Pretty is as Pretty Does


What are the current directions in hair? Ask 10 hairdressers and chances are you'll probably get 10 different answers! Such is the nature of individual opinion in the ever changing and often fickle world of hair fashion.

We took our cues from Rob Hastie, creative director for shibui salons, one of Melbourne's leading and most credible hair companies with close to 20 years experience. shibui clients include Holly Valance, Rachel Griffiths, Guy Pearce, a myriad of actors, models, celebrities and, of course everyday people with individual character and a desire to express it.

In shibui's recent photo essay, "pretty is as pretty does", their visual statement explored the notion of what's natural, nostalgic and ... well, pretty.

Q.1 - What was the inspiration for 'pretty is as pretty does'?

A.1 - The unique character and diversity of natural hair textures. The diverse looks and personalities of the models themselves, and the revealing nature of portrait photography. Really, I guess it's a photo essay exploring more than on notion of 'beauty'.

Q.2 - Are individuality and natural hair current trends?

A.2 - For shibui and myself personally, they always are and always have been. We have based our whole brand on what is achievable working with the natural texture. It is our point of difference in the hairdressing market where forcing the hair into shape is usually the norm.

Q.3 - What is shibui's usual approach to a new photographic collection?

A.3 - over the past 20 years we have attempted to focus on every shoot with a healthy dose of realism as opposed to a 'fantasy make-over' mentality. Generally we would conceive a concept first then choose appropriate models and build the look around their individual attributes, just as we would with a client in the salon.

More often than not, we've discovered that simply because we are interested in, and are up to date with hair, we'll arrive at an outcome that we have a good feeling about, and there is every chance that it is what's current or will be. Modern work in hair and most other creative fields usually comes from natural progression, not so much invention. We try to think laterally, keeping our eyes and ears open in order to maintain a fresh approach. We tend not to force ourselves to think about it, it just happens because you can't help but think about it!

Q.4 - Why did you choose to photograph this story primarily in black and white?

A.4 - We decided that a portrait style of photography would best reflect 'character' in both the hair and the subject. Portraits tend to have an inherent revealing nature.

In my minds eye I saw young starlets from a past Hollywood era turning up at a photographer's studio for a 'sitting'. I guess the black and white completed the picture, throwing in a touch of retro classicism with the modern twist being realised by the distinctive lack of over-stying in hair, make-up and clothing.

Just as the client is the 'star' I the modern salon (not the hairdresser!) so too our models represent this philosophy in 'pretty is as pretty does'.

Q.5 - Why did you name the story 'pretty is as pretty does'?

A.5 - (laughs) maybe I'm a little jaded after 27 years in beauty and fashion, but it's actually a light hearted, 'tongue in cheek' comment alluding to the fact that so much of what surrounds us these days is so 'surface' or superficial.

What this story hopefully reveals is that beauty is more than skin deep, that it has character, that it is something more than what initially meets the eye. Meanwhile, 'pretty is as pretty does!"

Q.6 - With that in mind, describe what it is that you see with the hair in these shots?

A.6 - The shapes suit each person and the individual hair textures. The textures are real and have natural character. None of the hair looks forces or 'try-hard'. I feel the story is simply trying to say use what we are originally blessed with, enhance it and work with it rather than against it.

Q.7 - So, to what extent has the hair been styled in these shots?

A.7 - I think the point is that is has not been over-styled to within an inch of it's life. We've trusted the cut and the natural texture to work for us rather than automatically switching into hairdresser mode applying our ability to 'do' hair and remove it from it's reality. The shibui client needs to be able to handle her own hair between visits. Ours is a 'no fuss' or at least' low fuss' attitude.

For this story, all the hair had been pre cut, trimmed, coloured and treated in the weeks leading up to the shoot. We prescribed the home haircare required to achieve the desired results (see model to product assignment following). On the day we simply enhanced the various shapes and textures with intelligent use of specifically chosen styling products from the KMS turnstyle range. The hair was either allowed todry naturally or was dried with the fingers using minimal heat and force from the blowdryer. Nothing was set in stone, everything had to be versatile and easily changed, as is the case with all our editorial work. Providing versatile options is a important on a shoot as it is in the salons. The versatility of the turnstyle range and the KMS products used, not only compliment the differing hair textures but provide quick change options that are essential for these natural looks.

Q.8- Is this the same approach shibui uses in the salon?

A.8 - Absolutely. Where possible we adhere to shibui philosophy and then begin to bend the guidelines without breaking them to suit each individual situation. To maintain our point of difference and retain your credibility, we must practice what we preach and remain true to our principals. Our approach is based on common sens, not a common approach based on nonsense!

There are a lot of myths about how to get the best our of your hair, and the average consumer appears to be kept in a constant state of confusion, bombarded as they are with all sorts of marketing much regarding product and practices. It's not rocket science but it is simple science combined with common sense, which will help to provide the answers to easy, natural hair.


hair care

  • Hair, colour, make-up and clothes styling by shibui for KMS
  • Black and white photography by Peter Rosetzky
  • Colour photography by Rob Hastie @ shibui

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