ROAR: Homage to Grace Jones


imon Webster Hair’s tagline is style – music – fashion and nobody epitomises that more than Grace Jones.

ROAR salutes the fierceness and beauty of a true icon. In-line with the creative ethos of Simon Webster Hair, ROAR is a collaborative project between visual artists across different fields; Made Better Media, The Brighton Studio (Olly Hearsey and Xoe Kingsley), Simon Webster (Simon Webster Hair) and Lindy Ncube.

The History of That Hair

The shoot was inspired by the model-as-muse, referencing icon Grace Jones and capturing her hybrid style and strength of presence. Grace Jones is all about contrast and contradiction. That became the starting point for all elements of the project.

Having worked in hair for over 30 years, I’ve seen lots of styles and trends come around again. In the early days, I worked a lot in gents’ barbering. The ‘80s was a time when there were multiple tribes and sub-cultures that expressed themselves through their hairstyles; punks, mods, psychobillies, new romantics and skins.

Grace Jones added a cross-gender twist to the traditionally-masculine flat-top, making a bold statement about fashion, beauty and sexuality.

The crew-cut originated in the 18th century, but later got its name from the rowing crews of US colleges like Princeton and Yale who adopted the style for practicality. In WW2, it was the chosen sut of the US military and emerged as the flat-top, named after US aircraft carriers’ distinctive shape, becoming prominent in the ‘50s with many variations.

For men, it was re-popularised in the mid-’80s by hip-hop artists like Big Daddy Kane, developing into the high-top fade. But Grace Jones had already adopted the style as her own and it became her trademark walking the runways of Paris, New York, London and Milan. She added a cross-gender twist to the traditionally-masculine cut, making a bold statement about fashion, beauty and sexuality.

This collaboration was an opportunity to revive that and make it more current. It is particularly relevant now, with the industry focus on the fluidity of hairstyles, gender neutral styling and the introduction of label-free services in more progressive salons, such as Simon Webster Hair.

Channeling Grace for a New Generation

I’ve worked with the model, Lindy Ncube, a lot over the last couple of years. In fact, I discovered her while judging the final hair show of a local Brighton college.

It was the first time Lindy had modelled and from then on she’s become something of a muse, starring in our Avant-Garde shoot, UV and appearing onstage for us at Salon International representing The Fellowship – she’s so versatile that you can manipulate her look in unlimited ways.

I reached the final of the 2017 One Shot Avant Garde Shot of The Year competition with an image of her, taken from my UV shoot, this time much less structured and formal. So it was great to take her in a completely different direction for this shoot.

I’ve just been made UK Guest Artist for KMS for 2018 and so I wanted to put the KMS product range to the test. I started with the cut first, using the KMS to moisturise and straighten out some of the curl. To create an even base I used the Moisture Repair Anti-Breakage Spray and Revival Crème, followed by the Thermashape Straightening Crème.

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