Posted by Irene Ojo-Felix | December 2nd, 2016

The path to one’s ultimate destiny can be a convoluted one and master hair stylist, Eugene Souleiman, has a story that is as circumstantial as it is compelling. The English phenom has maintained one of the most impressive portfolios in the business working with an elite roster of photographic powerhouses. Penn. Avedon. Meisel. Lindbergh. Roversi. McDean. These names have called upon his creative talents to tame and temper hair tresses into performative displays of wonder, captivating viewers with their gravity defying volume or ultra polished sleekness. His inventiveness has crafted memorable looks for famed international glossies and brands like Maison Margiela, Prada, Yohji Yamamoto, Haider Ackermann, Jeremy Scott and many more while his spirited charm and curiosity has maintained a fearless aesthetic that pushes boundaries with super cool edge. Models.com sat down with the hair guru to hear about his humble beginnings, how he developed his craft, and what inspires him to make his most dream-worthy creations.

Interview and text by Irene Ojo-Felix

Above portrait by Andreas Laszlo Konrath
All other images except otherwise indicated courtesy of Streeters London
Eugene Souleiman is represented by Streeters London

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W March 2012 Craig McDean

How did you first start on your path?
You’re really gonna laugh, because I used to be in a band.

A band? What kind of band?
A punk band. And whilst I was in a punk band, I went to art college. But I never really went to art college so they kicked me out because I was having way too much fun. Since I was a kid, all I ever wanted to do was be creative and I saw art school as the place to start. 18 years old, I don’t think anybody knows what they wanna do when they’re 18. I certainly didn’t. So, I went to a job center for career advice and filled out this questionnaire and they said you’d make a really good hairdresser.

Really?! I’m curious about this questionnaire and how it figured that out.
You know it asked things like “What are your interests? What are you drawn to?” I was like, obviously music & art. They asked “What are you good at?” I’m thought I was good with my hands. It was just questions on people skills and stuff like that. It was a bit of a laugh but at the end of it they said, you’d be a good hairdresser. There was a job at this salon but I thought, “I don’t really want a job, I don’t really want to work.” *laughs*

Eventually, I went to college for hair and I was literally the only guy. I think it was like over 100 girls and I was just like “Wow! This is really cool, this is really fresh.” I absolutely loved it. So, that was the start of my career. I passed my city & guilds, which is the training for vocational services, and from then on I went to work in a quite stiff gentleman’s barber shop. It was in really high end hotels in England, like the Churchill Hotel and the manager just went, “look at you, what are you doing here? You just don’t fit…you need to go here.” She booked me an appointment to get my haircut at a really famous hair salon back then called Trevor Sorbie. Sorbie used to run Vidal Sassoon and I asked him for an interview. Completely naive, I had like no idea it was like really competitive to work with him.

So you go in for a haircut for the job that took you to the next level?
Yes, it was random. I just thought I’d give it a go and it turns out they were actually looking for assistants. So I came back for an interview and Trevor said, “Can you do this? Can you do that? What do you want to do?” and I said immediately, “I don’t want a job! Nothing boring!” *laughs* He went “I like you! You’re something else.” Basically I got the job as the assistant and within a year I was on the floor teaching other hairdressers doing seminar work, trade shows, all of that stuff. Since it was such a trendy salon we were asked to do magazine shoots all the time so I met people through doing shoots at the salon and it all kind of fell into place. I started working for magazines, like The Face and i-D, back in the day. I met Craig McDean and Pat McGrath and the rest is sort of history. It wasn’t anything that was planned for me, at all. I was completely clueless. Just like, “yeah this is cool, I’ll do this.” Then all of a sudden, Pat and I ended up doing Prada. We got flown to Milan, stayed at a 5 star hotel, and we were just in the bar after the show and it just hit me. I understood it all when she said “you do realize we are like the top 2 sought after people right now”. All of a sudden it was like ”oh!”

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W June 2001 Craig McDean

It’s sounds like such a circumstantial path. It seems like your intent when you first went into hair wasn’t necessarily to work in fashion?
I just wanted to have fun. That’s it really. And you know what? I’m to this day really not that different. I mean now I know who I’m working with. I’m working with John (Galliano) and he’s the best thing since sliced bread. I’ve never worked with anyone like that in my life. You know the really funny thing that I realized with what I’m doing? It’s that I’m never gonna stop learning. The minute I stop learning is probably the minute it’s over, in a sense, and working with John opened a door in my mind which I never actually knew existed. He’s a true visionary, a true artist, and he’s also got an incredible imagination. His knowledge of cultural history? We did a fitting for the haute couture show over the summer and he was talking about this group in France in the 18th century called Les Incroyables and the Merveilleuses. They were like rich anarchists in France, revolutionaries. They had this hairstyle with incredible braids and tufts and he said it was for a reason. When they would get guillotined, they didn’t want their hair to get messed up! I don’t think there are many people like John, in the world, especially in fashion. His attention to detail and his craftsmanship are beyond. Mind blowing.

What’s the process of finding your own inspiration for the hair direction so it match his?
I’ll go to a fitting and have loads of ideas swimming in my head all the time, in and out. I love to research just for fun, not even like, “Oh I’ve got this job. I need an idea.” I go to galleries, I go to films, I go out and try to experience life. I realize that all of those elements have kept me afloat through the years. I’m constantly being fed by culture and what’s around me. To be honest with you, I’ve got two children, and I’m married. I don’t know where work begins or where life ends. They’re all intertwined, but I think I’m really lucky in that sense to do what I love doing. I experience these really creative people that are totally bright and totally inspiring.

As a creative, you talk about people you’ve worked with like Craig McDean, John, even Pat that might take an inspiration and evolve into something that’s very unique and pure – I include yourself in that description as well. How do you take what you’ve seen before and make it completely new?
What I do is I have all this information that’s constantly going through my mind and there is a point where I always find a common thread somewhere – that’s generally my starting point. For a fitting with John, I have almost too much information, that I don’t know where to start because I’m so inspired by the guy. You just have to play! We’ll find a theme for it. I’ll give you an example, for about 4 years now I’ve been working on this personal project. It started when I was researching Victorian women and I stumbled upon this website on Victorian Hair Art. It was this thing that was done in middle America when women used to make flowers and wreaths from their deceased love’s hair. They were absolutely so beautiful. I looked at it and thought I could do something with that. I’m not gonna do that exactly but I could do something with that. I just wanted to play around with the technique. So for a year or so I was playing around with the technique, using different tools. Are you familiar with the artists the Chapman Brothers?

Yes! The visual artists.
Jake and Dinos called me about 3 years ago and they had made a chess set of small bronze figurines of these classic characters. I think it was the 10th edition. The very last one, I was talking to Dinos about it and he said, “what are you thinking?” They pretty much let me do pretty much whatever I wanted to do. They were blue and orange and their eyes were black. It was a very very odd piece and we were talking about them, and I said, “in a funny kind of way, they’re quite beautiful to look at, but they’re very very strange. They’re kind of like flowers.” And when I said flowers, it just kind of **snaps fingers** went back to Victorian Hair Art. And I thought, I could do a kind of Mary Antoinette kind of floral head designs for these figurines.

I still felt I could push the concept even further. John was talking to me about a couture outfit that he was making in red lace and it was like a cherub. I showed him the original reference and he was like, “This is incredible. And I was like “can we go there” and he was like “yeah, oh yeah”. And we kind of made it into a baseball cap. Kind of veil thing. I guess that’s my process – I don’t really have a process.

That’s amazing. How is it working with someone like John? With his couture shows it clearly a lot of different hair and makeup looks.
It’s just beyond and he’s so giving. You don’t realize you’re doing a 3 or 4 day things, it feels like a day.

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Maison Margiela Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2016-2017 (Photo by Thierry Chesnot/Getty Images)

Like this look you created. Are those rollers?
No, it’s tin foil, it was laying on the table in the fitting room and I had no idea why it was there. She was dressed in silver and it was like, “maybe I’ll do something really simple.”

It doesn’t really look like tin foil because it’s so smooth.
Yeah, it was wrapped around kind of like hair and rolled out. You know, just things like that and the kind of ponytail crushed tin foil in it.

Like Beethoven meets super futuristic architecture.
Yes exactly. You know, he kinda understands that. And he’s very much like “I love it.”

I wanted to ask your perspective on the industry and how it’s evolved with digital media and the advent of the computer.
It’s completely changed the game. In some ways it’s really fantastic because it has given a lot of people a chance to share their work. It’s opened a lot of doors for some really great people and opened some doors for a lot of really not great people. I think for us creatives it has sped up the process a lot. I don’t think we’ve had time really to enjoy, appreciate and ingest what we’ve done and evolved. It’s just like constant constant constant…celebrity, celebrity, celebrity. It’s kind of homogenized a lot of things at the same time.

I’m very much stuck in 2 fixed minds. One thing says to me what creatives do for the sake of digital is so throw away. Are people looking just for their next fix. Or does it make people look? I look at stuff more deeply, so I get a lot out of it. The other side is I’ve stumbled on loads of things I never knew online. I’ll look at someone, like a drag queen and I’ll go Oh, that’s really interesting, and there’ll be a hashtag down there and I’ll look at it and I’ll become educated. Or I’ll look at the science Instagrams handles, there are so many other Instagram accounts. I love stuff like that. Someone was talking to me about who inspires me. And it’s really weird because the person who inspires me is a chef…actually, it’s Heston Blumenthal. Do you know who he is?

I’m not familiar.
He’s amazing! He used to be a chemist. And he opened a restaurant called “the Fat Duck” that is kind of a sensorial experience.

Wait a minute I think I have heard of him…is he in gastronomy?
Right. Like bacon ice cream! I swear. He understands the science of the ingredients. He plays with the ingredients creatively to create something that’s very different. In a sense it’s almost like a form of alchemy. I look at what I do in a sense of it being orientated because if you take something like that piece of hair and turn it into a skull or stuff like that it’s something much bigger than what you perceive it as in its natural state. It’s almost like you get something and you push it to the limit of what it can actually do. I guess that’s what I try to do. Just keep pushing it and pushing it and pushing it. Especially with people like John.

Where he kind of demands that.
Like he’ll let me put balloons in there. No problem!

Do you have a specific aesthetic or is your aesthetic that constant push?
It’s just keep pushing, keep evolving, keep trying. I think my aesthetic is my train of thought, in a sense. There’s nothing I won’t try, you know? Everything’s fair game to me and I’m always making mistakes, all the time. I like the mistakes because they lead you somewhere where you haven’t been. When I’m uncomfortable with something I’ve done, I confront that fear and go further with it. That’s how I’m made, I constantly push it.

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Maison Margiela Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2016 (Photo by Victor VIRGILE/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images)

Do you have any muses? Or someone you constantly look to as far as inspiration or somebody you stick to?
For me I guess, she’s not around anymore, but one of my earliest memories actually was something I saw on tv when I was about six or seven. And I was like, this is really beautiful, I was really attracted to her. It was a documentary on a woman called Lee Miller. She was the girlfriend of Man Ray, and was a surrealist muse. Bjork kind of in a funny way as well. I kind of like women who have something that nobody else has. It could be the way they look, their personality, it can be what they do. It can be anything that I find attractive. Anytime a woman has a “thing”. Like, Guinevere Van Seenus, the model.

I love her. I always thought to myself “how is this woman so transformative?”
It’s stored inside her. It’s all in there, and it’s all hidden. And I guess for me that’s the joy, you discover. I’ve worked with her for 25 years and I’ve never, ever done anything crap with her. You can’t go wrong, you just cannot go wrong with that girl

I love how she’s just like “yeah I’m going to school”
She’s doing jewelry now. Have you seen the pieces?

No, I haven’t yet.
It’s so intricate that they can’t produce it *laughs*. It’s amazing. She’s that kind of girl though, she’s very artisanal, she’s creative, she’s a free spirit, she’s gorgeous. Face is amazing, body’s beyond incredible. It’s like all turned up to like 11, you know?

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W Sept 2004 Craig McDean

Talk about some of your craziest moments in your career, where it’s like #onlyinfashion. Any long day shoots, wild destinations, where you think “this is crazy what’s going on here, where am I?”
There was one thing, probably one of my best 10 moments, apart from where I am now. It was Lee McQueen’s last show for Givenchy. It was like the last couture show, that no one ever saw because he left the house to start his own brand along with Tom (Ford) at Gucci Group. It was like 3 days of no sleep and full on all the way through. Probably some of the best hair I’ve ever done.

And you can’t find pictures of it anywhere?
Nowhere. And I was delirious, it was like Mary Antoinette traveled Africa. It was so sick.

How was it like working with him?
You know what? I love Lee. He was really really hard work. We’re from very similar backgrounds, London working class and I guess we’ve kind of carved a career in fashion. So for me, I totally understood him and I was kind of quite forgiving *laughs* You could spend days with people but you only need to spend 10 minutes with a genius. When you’ve spent a month, you kind of realize time is irrelevant. What’s really relevant is the connection, or how much you’ve lived in a space, what you learn in the moment. Sometimes I find you can learn more in 5 minutes than you can learn in a year. Lee was one of those people, that could kind of go up there, but you kind of always work with that. When you work with someone like that you just take it onboard, you don’t question it. I always look at the work I did with him with very fond memories.

If you throw me a ball, I’m gonna run with it, I’m gonna kick it really hard. I’m not gonna get all nervous about it. I rise to the challenge, and I enjoy the challenge and I will never be beaten.

Focusing on editorials, since we’ve been talking so much about shows. You collaborated with some of the biggest names in fashion.
You know I’ve been really lucky to work with people like Irving Penn, Avedon, Meisel, Paolo (Roversi), Craig, Peter (Lindbergh). I’ve worked with them all, really.

In those first moments when you first collaborated did you get the spectrum?
People are attracted to what you put out there. You always end up in the right place, for whatever reason. Like, you work with people because they want your flavor, they want your opinion. They don’t want someone to go in there, blow the hair out, shove a bit of weave in there, get a bit of powder, and shake it about. Those guys exist, and they do really beautiful work, but I don’t really get that part of the spectrum. I always get the kind of creative, twisted, genius to work with. That’s what I put out there and that’s what’s they’re drawn to.

If I trace it back, it definitely goes back to being a punk. Not having any money, getting your dad’s suit from the closet, turning it inside out, putting zips in it, splashing it with paint, ripping the collar off, putting some pins in it. It comes from being really resourceful, from nothing. I guess that’s probably what I do. I don’t think that that’s ever left me, and I don’t think it ever will leave me. It will stay with me till the day i die. That’s who I am.

Like DIY.
Exactly. “Yeah, we’ll work it out, we’ll do this!” I never say never. If you throw me a ball, I’m gonna run with it, I’m gonna kick it really hard. I’m not gonna get all nervous about it. I rise to the challenge, and I enjoy the challenge and I will never be beaten.

Is there anything that you’re afraid of in this business?
Just my wife *laughs*

Fair enough! I ask because everyone has their knickers in a bunch about the state of fashion and the future. Do you think people look too much into the future?
I think, you know what? If you think that way then it will be that way, and I don’t think that way. Never have thought that way, and I don’t really wanna think that way. I see a lot of really great kids coming up. I would, however say that, I would love for designers not to go to like really big houses when they’re so young. I would love for them to develop and grow.

It’s all the pressure with money right?
It depends on what you want out of life, you’re either a true artist or you’re not…you’re a businessman. I mean I do that, I consult for Wella Professionals and work for like a huge conglomerate company, but they’re not squeezing my balls, you know? There’s a great load of people who have opportunity. I just hope they don’t sell out too early, and they really get a chance to grow creatively as artists. I think that’s really the only pitfall. I look at somebody like John, you know, he’s still who he is. He may have worked for Dior, but he’s still John. He will never stop being John. Like Yohji (Yamamoto), he’s Yohji, he’s never not gonna be Yohji. Stella’s Stella, she’s who she is, she’s who she wants to be. There are so many different philosophies out there, so many different vibes, different processes, and it’s all good. That’s the really great thing about fashion for me right now. It’s so diverse. I think it’s really really important that people are going out there and putting forward their proposition. Like Karl Lagerfeld. Genius! Heaven! I love the man! What I’m saying is, there’s a place for everything. And I think we should appreciate that we do live in a world where there is a place for everything. We should just take our hats off to any designer out there that does a show. What’s important is that people are doing things, rather than not doing things, you know?

And even in the sense of focusing on beauty I feel like now there’s this push for like individualism. Like a celebration of different types of looks, which must be great compared to 3 or 4 years ago when it wasn’t like that.

You had to be really skinny and 6’1” and then you’re fashionable. I’m so glad that time’s gone. We’re in such a better place now. At the end of the day, that’s also the exciting part of it. There actually is change. You think back to like six years ago, right, there’s like 3 times the amount of magazines around now there was then. There’s much more stuff going on. Even though people are freaked out by it, and are like “there’s no money”….that’s rubbish. That’s absolute rubbish and we know that because I see those people getting driven around, and I know where they live. *laughs*

I was talking to someone the other day about doing shows. And it’s like, you either do a show for a paycheck or you do a show without a paycheck. It’s fine. Do you like the idea for the show? The designer? The makeup? Then do the show! I think the thing is is that people take what they do really seriously but lighten up. That’s the bottom line. I know when I work with Pat (McGrath) we cry with laughter. We know who we are and we’re comfortable and we just have the best time. It’s like almost too much personality for the room!

I don’t want a job. I never wanted one, never set out for one. I wanna do something I love. I want to enjoy what I do and I wanna grow with what I do.

Oh to be a fly on the wall to that conversation!
You would love it! You would laugh! I know you would.

I wish!
At the end of the day, I don’t want a job. I never wanted one, never set out for one. I wanna do something I love. I want to enjoy what I do and I wanna grow with what I do. A lot of people are like that. When you see some young kids all serious and got it all mapped out, it’s like, it’s gonna go wrong! I mean, you’re great and you’re really sweet, but just chill out. You know what I mean? I was talking with Pat the other day about someone, who shall remain nameless, and it’s like, they could be working behind a tin in a bank, like, they don’t create anything. They’ve got nothing. It’s like you either are or you’re not. No matter how much research you do, you’re always copying, it never comes from the heart. You know, and it’s got to come from your heart.

Is that the most important thing?
Absolutely. I like to look into people’s eyes, I like to make a connection with people, because I like people. I think now it’s very hard. Because there was a time when the creatives were in charge of fashion. Now it’s not the creatives it’s the marketing people. Because things swung too far the other way. I’m hoping now, there’s going to be a really good balance. When we go “this is what we feel” and they go “yeah, we’re gonna do something like that.”

And you meet somewhere in the middle.
Absolutely! An equilibrium, you know? You need that.

That seems to be what people are trying to figure out, is that balance that you’re referring to.

It’s art and commerce. It’s the two things. They’re selling the art, we’re creating the art. That’s how it works. You know, a lot of the stuff is about how you perceive something. And how it evolves into something else. You gotta let go, you can’t constantly be in control. Sometimes it’s nice to be a little out of control. There’s no right way, there’s no wrong way, there’s just the way. To go out, you know, you’re kind of setting yourself up for failure. If you’re so closed and focused on a particular thing, you’re missing out on so much. That’s what I try and teach all of my assistants. I have very very mixed assistants. I have people from Australia, people with same sex orientation, working class, blue blood, I have everyone, I love that. I feel like what I’m doing I’m bringing all of these people together, and they’re learning from each other, and not one person is looking for the same thing that another person is looking for. Everyone has a different kind of vibe and agenda. So there’s not a cold, bitchy, competitive atmosphere. Which is really good. You know, I’m not into it when an assistant steals a girl from another assistant.

Not necessary?
Not necessary, yeah. I’m not into that. Everyone that I have on my team is nice.

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Bjork “Moon” Album 2011 Inez and Vinoodh

So you’re based in London, but obviously you work around. I wanted to talk about London and its place within the fashion system and what keeps creatives here. I find that London breeds creativity.
Yeah, I think what breeds creativity in England is lack of support and government funding! *laughs* I’m being really serious with you, because fashion isn’t considered a real form of art or really a form of commerce. I think you can only go so far in London, but at some point you have to leave the island. So I went to the other island, New York. God Bless America!!! You know, I would have never been able to afford my house. It’s not a bad thing. I think about what I was doing before I did session work, I never imagined I would end up in New York, or Paris. Those options would never have been available to me, as a working class bloke.

It’s funny you say that, because in the same breath, I find that London and England have by far bred that.
You know in America, people are…open, in a sense that they’re prepared to give someone a chance. They’re not stuck in their old feudal ways about our society and class. It’s not where you’re from it’s about where you’re at. Especially in New York. I never would have been able to have a contract, or buy a house, if it wasn’t for America. In a way, people gotta be not so down on America, I think. There’s a lot of really good things about it, in my opinion. It’s only ever been good to me.

It has a system that supports the industry. Say if you need a messenger, or some rare flower.
The great thing about America is you can be a busboy one minute, who has an idea, and you can go to somebody with it, and they can be “yeah alright, let’s do it. I like you, you have an idea, I can make money off of it, we can work together on this.” And I think that’s great.

There is a really vast youth culture in London, a system that’s supporting the designers. New York has it as well, but….
New York is a place you go to make money, right? That supports making money, and it’s set up for that. It’s a huge business capital. We are an island. You’re a continent, not even a country, a continent! SO there’s a very big difference there! We are a very old country kind of set in our ways. There’s a kind of undercurrent struggling to get out of those ways. That’s where all the creativity happens. That suppression, because you have to be inventive. That’s the great thing about England. Sadly, it doesn’t sustain to keep its creatives. It doesn’t and it never will, until it changes. Chances of that changing in this particular time is probably zero.

What do you think needs to happen when you say change? That financial support or?
I’m not a politician but I think people need an injection. It needs investment. I think that investment comes from another place. Saying that, it’s still a great country to live in. I’ve lived in lots of countries around the world. England and America are great places to live. I’m only doing one show in London and that’s only because I’ve got family in London, and I wanna see my family.

Yes, most definitely. And then you’ll go on to Milan and Paris.
I’m just gonna do one in Milan. Because for me, it’s like 5 weeks away from my family, it’s too long. So, I just like, I hit New York. Then I kind of slow it down between London and Milan, and really step it up for Paris. I guess that’s really the home of fashion. And that’s what really excites me. Because people are more open with where they want to go.

From an outside perspective it kind of seems like you’ve literally done everything. But is there anything you want to do still?
There’s so many things! Like maybe one day I’ll make my own product line, maybe I’ll do a book. People keep asking me when I’m gonna do a book!

Would you want it to be a retrospective, or all new things?
I think it should be a greatest hits and a new releases. *laughs* I don’t know if paper’s the format I want to go in. Maybe a salon, or an academy. I really love to teach and I kind of still do, because I have all of my assistants. It is something that I really enjoy. I love working on projects and sharing ideas, and listening to what people pick up on. That inspires me too. I love drawing, I love painting.

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Vogue Italia Spring 2005 Craig McDean

My last question, is kind of an existential thing but, When you think about beauty, specifically hair, what do you think is the connection between that transformative moment, like taking somebody from something, maybe ordinary….not even ordinary, just one state, and then evolving them into something completely different? How is that process for you, is it fulfilling?
I love that process. For me, I can only really do a good job with someone if there’s this chemistry. When I was working in a salon, back in the day, I would spend like half an hour, just talking to the person. What do you like, what are you into? I think it’s really about getting to know the person, and understanding them. Looking at the material you have to work with, and their proportions. Because they’re all the things that inspire you. You have to be open to the person inspiring you, as a hairdresser. That’s when you make the transformations. They can either be really big transformations or they can be tiny little touches. People talk about these transformations, really, in hair, they’re really talking about transformations in terms of their life. Like, a woman wants her hair cut off she’s gonna cut him or her off. You know, there’s all these underlying things.

What is it about cutting all your hair off that’s like “I just broke up someone?”
It’s about getting rid of that bad stuff. Sometimes that’s not really the way. You can do it in stages. You don’t wanna react wrongly, because you have to live with it. Whatever it is, if it suits your personality, or your face shape or your body type. If you’re cool with that, then you look major. It’s convincing. I used to have a huge client, she was huge! She was a big lady. She used to have really really short hair, and really tight clothing, and she was loud. But it worked, she owned it. I think transformations really are about transformations from within. If you feel you look good, you do look good, because that’s who you are. Like oh, you’ve got a heart shaped face, you’ve got a big nose, you need something that’s symmetric. You can look at them that way, but if you look at them in a more emphatic way, a more human way, there’s a very different creative process that you go through. And I think that can be either really big changes or really small changes. Someone came in once and said “Oh I wanna cut my hair I want it shortened up” and I was like “you look really great with long hair.” “yeah but I want a change.” and I’m like “maybe we just need to lighten the front of your hair.” And that’s what we did and she was like “you know what, you’re right!” Sometimes the transformation you want isn’t the transformation you should’ve had.

Or even taking it back to runway, taking a very ordinary model and putting this weird skull-rose piece on them.
People go how does that translate to the stage? It’s not supposed to! It’s like eye candy! Really what we’re talking about is, the idea behind it, is not really the visual, it’s the thought process that’s gone into create it. You can acquire that thought process in a dilutive way in certain areas. It doesn’t have to be….

Fashion’s all about the dream, right?
I’d like to believe that! There are a few of us that think that. I was talking about that amazing September cover of W with Rihanna that Pat did the makeup on with Steven Klein and Edward the other day. Have you seen it? I mean, just….

Stopped in my tracks! How even?
You know what, amazing! There has never been a cover like that! I was like “Jesus Christ!” You know every magazine was ringing every magazine when that cover came out! No words…

Not even selling yourself short, what you do for Margiela makes it a show I clearly always look forward to seeing.
Yeah but you know what’s really great, which is what I’ve kind been saying, is that people are around to put that stuff out now! It’s been like laying dormant in your imaginations and people are starting to look. It’s a really good time! Think about it, you would have never seen a cover like that 5 years ago, never!! You know, on a black girl you’d see like weave maybe a braid if you’re lucky. That was like……that was like Josephine Baker on acid!

w2011_inezv_1

W 2011 Inez and Vinoodh

What a description!
Everything, you know. People now are wanting it. People are out there pushing it. I think it’s a really good time right now! I don’t think it’s such a bad time. And there’s people who are really into what they do. And there’s the people that are pleasing whoever, and are like whatever. There are people that are steppers and people that aren’t steppers. But there’s room for everything. But when you see something like that. I was like “……Whoa!” Do you know what I mean?

Yeah, for sure.
Especially when you have a celebrity to go there, like Rihanna.

Mmmmhmm, she’s not afraid. She trusts everybody. I had to see the behind the scenes, I thought they painted it. And she wore that on her face? I was like….
Because she’s got the brain. There’s certain people who would try that and freak the fuck out. Some people need to process the way the look, and work it out from there. For her it’s natural. Sorry, you were talking about muses, I’m gonna go back and say probably for me one of the best models I’ve ever worked with is Raquel Zimmermann. She’s a very smart model, and you can do anything with her, and she gets it. Little bit like Rihanna, you can do anything to that girl and she can process it and understand it and she becomes that person, she’s like an actress.

We talk about models all the time and what always stands in our minds are when models are professional and really love what they do, like Raquel Zimmermann. She’s not coming all timid, she’s fun, she’s professional. She’s not complaining. She’s smart. She knows how to move and she’s the total package. There’s a reason people go to the Raquels and the Guineveres, because they’re transformative. Just like Rihanna. Transformative…

…to their personality. They’re not just flat and the other thing is they’re older. More mature.

It’s a question we always have with the current speed of everything. You unfortunately see that in the fashion industry.
I mean look at Cindy Crawford now. She’s still hot. There are all these girls who are older and still hot and major and winning. There’s still the girls that are gonna do great for two seasons but I think there is still a lot of girls out there that are still incredible that have been out there for a long time. Raquel was one of the top cover girls for years in Brazil. She understands clothes she understands the weight of fabric. You see her work, you see her in the mirror, she’s like “that’s good I’ve worked with that”. She’s like “on”. It’s obvious when you look at a girl like that, because there’s something behind their eyes. Like Rihanna. I mean that cover was like WHOA. Amazing, amazing.

Not that many people can do that.
I was like go Ms. Pat McGrath OBE! Mr. Edward Enninful OBE! There’s a reason why they are where they are. I don’t think we’re in a bad place. I think anyone who’s insecure with stuff, isn’t so good. I don’t know. They’re not confident with their own place. I’m not like that. I’ve let a lot of stuff go, and I’m very happy that I’ve let a lot of stuff go. Cuz I wanna do the best.

Focusing on quality, over quantity.
Exactly! You know, you can’t work at the pace you work at, constantly produce things that are you and fresh if you don’t have a life, and can’t really focus on stuff. I go to Paris a few days before I’m supposed to because I wanna spend some time with John, I want to get involved in the process. It’s not for me to rush. As you’re doing things you’re constantly evolving. Your expectations of yourself should grow. The challenges you set for yourself should be higher. Your goals should be higher, in that sense. Your professional goals with yourself. I don’t think of things that I do as competing with anyone. I’m always constantly competing with myself and I will tear myself down if I don’t think something is good enough. I’m tough on myself – no one actually really knows that. It’s not what they feel, but inside, I know. I have to be the best.

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2 Comments to “Eugene Souleiman”

  1. OlgaShvets says:

    I saw this man in the video wella – very creative.

  2. Gustavo says:

    OMG, Eugene is such a dream come true! A genius! There is always a quip, a hint of his ever present thoughtfulness. This is such a great treat, MDC!! 😉

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