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Charlie le Mindu * Hairdressers

May 30, 2015

I first came across Charlie’s (Charlie le Mindu) work when he did the incredible hairstyling for a project I was working on for T shirt brand Noiwear in January 2009. Rai Royal, the photographer, suggested him for the ultimate in over the top, carnivalesque styling and he was perfect.

Charlie le Mindu * Hairdressers

Charlie le Mindu – one of Lady Gaga’s favourite coiffuriers

Based in the East End of London, Dalstonite Charlie le Mindu was working on his first “Haute Coiffure” collection at the time, to come out later in the year, and in the mean time working as a session stylist for different shoots and wig maker for an up and coming singer who was called Lady Gaga. Remember her bow hairstyle? Who doesn’t? Even small children wear it now, probably not knowing that it was created by a stylist primarily influenced by old ladies and drag queens. In fact, Lady Gaga collaborated with many East End creatives around that time, from members of the !Wowow! group including Millie Brown, the puke artist who Gaga lovingly bounced on her knee during performances, to Nick Knight, who shot her “Born this Way” video.

 

But le Mindu continued to work with Lady Gaga over many years and music videos. She wore his giant hair lips perched atop her head, a swirling purple human hair gown from his collection in 2012, and his indescribable hair sculpture-mask for a public appearance in 2013.

Charlie le Mindu – wigs and drag queens

Charlie, who is delicately decorated with tattoos, including on his eyelids, has a beautiful French accent and a wonderfully eccentric history in the art of hairdressing. His parents were gypsies – his mother a drag king – and he left school in France at the age of 13, to start working in what he calls a “grandmother style” salon, because he wanted to learn the straightforward basics of the craft.

 

At 15 he got bored and moved to Paris to work in a punk salon, and at 17 he flitted to Berlin, though he spoke neither German nor English. There he started a job in a nightclub, cutting the hair of drag queens while the partying went on around him. Working with the drag queens got him started on the hair extensions and the wigs, and he likes nothing more than to work with artistes who are into the big hair look look, including Peaches and Lana Del Rey – he says approvingly that she “always wants to go bigger” and notes that when he worked with the B-52s on tour that “They refused to do the beehive and they just wanted really normal hair.” He was terribly disappointed.

Rat fur and human hair

Charlie’s kind of creative logic is impeccable and he’s outraged that people would be outraged by it. He showed one collection on naked models because it’s a collection of wigs, of course, and he didn’t want people distracted by any clothes. “It was really annoying that everyone was shocked about it. If you go to any museum, you always see naked people in art, but in fashion people are so stuck up and find it so scary.” And the story where he wanted to make a burkha from fur, but being unable to afford, say, fox fur, he got some rats and mice from the pet shop (“they were dead, obviously, the snakes had eaten them”) and had a friend taxidermy them. “It was a big scandal” he comments, bemused.

 

Scandal or no, le Mindu has gone on to work with L’Oreal and even Harrods, and still creates incredible collections and shows them on naked models.

Additional info from Kate Hutchinson’s lovely interview.

 

One version of the Lady Gaga bow.

Lady Gaga in more Mindu creations – photo courtesy Vogue Italia.

Both a model and Lady G in le Mindu’s AW 13 creation

Lady Gaga in Charlie Le Mindu Fall 2012 “Charl’ De Jouy” – image Charlie le Mindu.

Gaga wears le Mindu’s Pink Flamingo dress – photo copyright Splash

A 2009 creation. Photo courtesy Charlie le Mindu.

Charlie le Mindu. Image courtesy Interview magazine.

some AW 13 designs. Photo courtesy Charlie le Mindu

 

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