Neil at work backstage at BCBG on Patricia van der Vliet
Fashion is heading online, but no one is doing it with quite as much flair as Neil Moodie; the trendsetting hairstylist launches two brand new websites this month, bringing glamour, laughter and an insider perspective to a whole new audience. Iconic Heads, his collaboration with milliner, Flora McLean takes hair styling to the next level, re-imagining classic dos as cutting edge hats, while Moodie’s personal site serves as not just a portfolio, but also a cheeky blog offering insight into the life of a jet-setting hair maestro. MDC catches up with Mr. Moodie himself to discuss hair milestones, his early work for The Face and what the future holds.
MDC: Why do you think so many creative professionals are getting online & starting their own sites/blogs?
NEIL: The internet is now the biggest, fastest form of worldwide media communication, and whilst there are many great websites and bloggers around that we quote for etc, it’s really great to be able to have our own unedited platform to work from that we control. I’m not a control freak but many aspects of my work are controlled by other people and this is a small part of me that I can keep a small grip on. I think creative people like the idea of being able to show people who are interested in their work, a little piece of themselves that people wouldn’t be able to see or read about elsewhere.
MDC: How did you begin in fashion?
NEIL: I was hairdressing for 9 years and was working as a Color Technician for Toni and Guy in London when I met the late fashion photographer, Corinne Day. She asked me to colour the hair of a new model for a shoot for The Face. The hairdresser working on the shoot got called away and Corinne asked if I could step in to do the hair for the actual shoot. I said “yes” thinking I was just helping out a friend… When the shoot was published 3 months later, I next got a call from Vogue Italia asking me to go to Milan to do a shoot having seen The Face shoot. The rest is history!!
One thing I will add is that in one photograph I sprayed the ends of the model’s hair pink then we proceeded to do a picture of her with a mohawk. That particular image most definitely helped to launch my career in fashion.
A glimpse at some of the Iconic Heads hats
MDC: How did the Iconic Heads project get its start?
NEIL: In 2003 I saw a picture of the cloche cap in Rudi Gernreich’s book and it gave me the idea for another shoot I was working on for The Face magazine. I’m not a trained milliner so my stylist friend Grace Cobb introduced me to Flora McLean from House Of Flora. I told Flora my idea about making hats based on iconic hairstyles and she loved the idea; we’ve been collaborating ever since on the project.
MDC: What are some of your personal favourite hair styles that you’ve created? Or recent favourites?
NEIL: I love the curly/wavy faux bob I created for the Ruffian A/W 2012 show. Chic retro personified but somehow modern at the same time. I like reinventing old hairstyles and hair-ups by changing the texture of them. This makes it contemporary and not just copied. The hair for the Burberry Prorsum Show I work on is also a favourite- unassumingly sexy. It looks completely effortless, but it actually can be a lot of work to make hair look natural. I recently gave Victoria Beckham a faux fringe (bangs) for the cover and story for Numero Tokyo. The press went mad about it. That was exciting to work on, not only had she never had a fringe before but the reaction afterwards was phenomenal.
MDC: What would you say is the style of the season – or the look of the moment?
NEIL: Most definitely short bobs- Think Arizona Muse! Choppy, jaw length and a little unkempt. It’s one of the favourite haircuts ever after Mia Farrow’s Rosemary’s Baby Crop.
MDC: What are your goals for the site & the blog?
NEIL: I would like to think that people come to the site to read my blog, which is not only informative but also entertaining. It’s a personal insight into myself and my slightly left field mind. I just want people to enjoy it, as I’m loving working on it and making my ideas come to life. My creative mind goes beyond hairdressing sometimes and it’s great to have somewhere for it all to go.
MDC: If you could go back in time and give yourself any words of advice, what would they be?
NEIL: Listen to my gut instinct a lot more. It’s 99.9% always right. If only I knew that before!
MDC: What does the future hold for Neil Moodie?
NEIL: More of the same for now. I never like to plan too far ahead. I believe in fate and impulse.