PEOPLE: London session stylist Mark Francome Painter on favourite hair trends and most memorable shoots
Images: Maurizio Bavutti, Boy/Girl, Damian Foxe, Diego Indraccolo, Lorenz Schmidl
Interview: Emma de Clercq
Special Thanks: Mark Francome-Painter
Mark Francome Painter started out in the world of hair aged 15, when his mother found him his first job as an assistant at Toni and Guy. Working under Emanuele Valenti, he was encouraged to keep an open mind and explore every type of hair styling. Now based in London, he works internationally as a session stylist, and his work has been featured in publications including i-D, Schön and Dazed Magazine.
What’s been your most memorable shoot to date? Probably those I did with Damian Foxe for How to Spend It magazine. He really likes to push the styling to the limit which allows me to go there with the hair every time. Once, he asked for our models to look like deity statues. I used a rolled up camping mat as the base for one of the styles. It was sky high hair at its best! Gotta use whatever’s at hand sometimes. I use foam a lot now as base structures.
“The best hair in the world belongs to those who love their own”
Current favourite hair trend? The short bobs at Balenciaga last season were cool, my good friend Gary Gill came up with the looks. They wanted all the girls to look as if they’d just stepped out of an expensive Parisian salon. Doing the haircuts backstage with all the team was a real buzz, we cut and coloured so many models that day – I think it was 50 in total.
Most unlikely source of inspiration? Unlikely inspirations crop up all the time. When I was away snowboarding in the Alps a few years back, queuing for the chair lifts, I noticed everyone had this flat, sweaty, dishevelled hat hair that looked really cool. I worked on a show for Ann Demeulemeester with Martin Cullen the year after, and hat hair was the theme – it looked great! Painters also inspire me a lot, graffiti artists especially.
Who has the best hair in the world? The best hair in the world belongs to those who love their own. Much like beauty being in the eye of the beholder. If it feels great, you’ve got it.
If you could cut or style anyone’s hair, who would it be? I rarely envision haircuts or styles on specific people. I think more about what I might do for a particular show, or film, or for a certain photographer. I would love to collaborate with Paolo Roversi or David Sims one day, I think they both have a healthy appetite for good hair styling.
Sum up your relationship with hair in 3 words. Hair must move.