Considered to be one of the most influential figures in hair today, Eugene Souleiman’s path into the world of hair was, perhaps surprisingly, one of pure chance. Describing himself as “an art school dropout”, Souleiman fell into hairdressing when a careers advisor nudged him in the right direction. Hair college and a brief stint in a barbershop followed, after which he cut his teeth at Trevor Sorbie, where he spent over a decade. Souleiman’s session career took off in 1996 when he landed his first high profile campaign for Jil Sander, shot by the British photographer Craig McDean. Crediting McDean as the person who ‘put him on the map’, the two continue to work together to this day.

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Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans (Issey Miyake AW15)

Another long-time collaborator is the make-up maestro Pat McGrath. The pair share an innovative approach to their respective mediums – hair and make-up – a desire to transcend the traditional confines and expectations of their materials, in pursuit of the extraordinary.

From adorning models with feathers at Maison Margiela, to Björk’s otherworldly scarlet wig on the cover of ‘Biophilia’, Souleiman’s versatility with hair means that his creations vary from the whimsical and surreal to the sharp and stripped back. Moving effortlessly between the realms of fashion, art and music, his collaborations are varied. They include working with artists Jake and Dinos Chapman on their Saatchi Gallery exhibition, and sculpting Lady Gaga’s cropped blonde wig in her music video ‘Alejandro’.

Now approaching his third decade in the industry, Souleiman continues to be a trailblazer. But despite being in high demand with the world’s biggest fashion houses and publications, he’s vocal about the importance of pushing yourself to keep learning. Said best when summing up his relationship with hair in his own words; “student for life!!”

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Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans (Issey Miyake AW15)
What inspires you?
It changes on a daily basis. Probably, the people that I work with, and I always have my eyes open. I’m inspired by life, music, the things around me… books, photography, art, history, and technology. I find Instagram interesting too and looking at people’s posts.

Trends in fashion and hair are always shifting, as are our ideas of what constitutes beauty.
What is the role of beauty in your work?
It’s at the core of what I do. Evolving beauty, hopefully changing people’s concepts of what is beautiful, offering a different or unusual opinion.

During your editorial career you have worked with many incredible creatives including Craig McDean, Steven Meisel and Pat McGrath to name a few. What has been your favourite shoot or image to date?
There are so many images that I have been part of, but if I did have to choose a favourite image it was a Steven Klein, Patti Wilson shoot for Vogue Italia, September 2011, with technicolour period hairstyles. It was a really interesting perspective in how it was shot and made me look at the hair in a new way. I also think that a story I did with Paulo Roversi at least 15 years ago for Vogue Italia with intricate braiding. It was a moment in time when I was inspired by mixing African with Native American and Geisha hair. These techniques became something that I always go back to and reconfigure into new styles.

 

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Image credit: Karl Collins (Maison Margiela AW16)
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Image credit: Karl Collins (Yohji Yamamoto AW16)

 

 

 

“I believe that all levels of creativity converge and inspire one another”
Eugene Souleiman

 

 

 

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Image credit: Karl Collins (Maison Margiela AW16)
KarlCollins

You’ve worked with musicians and artists including Lady Gaga, Bjork and Jake & Dinos Chapman. Do you think this illustrates the relevance of hair across multiple disciplines?
Yes, I believe that all levels of creativity converge and inspire one another.

If you could cut or style anyone’s
hair who would it be?
To be really honest Elsa Schiaparelli. I’d like to get lots of different wigs from different periods, eighteenth century, punk, graphic and pile them on top and with gravity defying proportion.  Something really severe and surreal. Different shapes, just let it go!
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Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans (Blumarine SS16)
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Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans (Blumarine SS16)

 

Sum up your relationship
with hair in 3 words.
Student for life!!

 


 

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Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans (Jeremy Scott SS16)
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Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans (Jeremy Scott SS16)
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Image credit: Jason Lloyd-Evans (Jeremy Scott SS16)
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Credits

Eugene Souleiman is represented by Streeters

Interview Anthony Mascolo
Text Emma de Clercq
Images Karl Collins | Jason Lloyd-Evans
Special Thanks Eugene Souleiman Instagram

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