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Q&A with Sassoon International Creative Director Mark Hayes

Content supplied by Hairbrained Community Manager Sarah Federico.

Mark Hayes, International Creative Director for Sassoon, touts a signature style that is simultaneously pared-down and technically precise. His pace-setting aesthetic and inspiring educational methods help to keep the Sassoon brand at the forefront of the craft. Read on to discover how Mark leads his team of artists in conceptualising and carrying out Sassoon’s seasonal collections – plus learn about the points of inspiration for the Fall/Winter collection, Poetica.


Q. What inspired the cuts, colours and shapes for Sassoon’s Fall/Winter Collection, Poetica?

A. From an overall perspective, we were inspired by the concept of reinventing traditional dress as street style, hence the basis of the wardrobe utilized the Korean Hanbok, the Chinese Cheongsam and the Japanese kimono.

The collection is also quite cinematically inspired, with the movies of Chinese director Wong Kar Wai playing a major part, in particular his trilogy ‘Days Of Being Wild’ ‘In The Mood For Love’ and ‘2046’.

In the movie 2046 there is an android character who wears exaggerated curled, geometric hair that provided the inspiration for what we are calling the ‘Fro-bob.’

Another Wong Kar Wai movie ‘Chungking Express’ provided the inspiration behind the close-cropped androgyny of the other main theme for the cuts.

The colour themes take a very sombre palette of ecru, crimson and ebony placed in tones across the head, harmonizing with the jet-black wardrobe.

Q. The use of accessories is unexpected, and deviates from the aesthetic of past collections. What inspired this whimsical addition?

A. The entire collection from wardrobe/makeup and hair to soundtrack, staging, setting and lighting is carefully considered to produce a cohesive story. The accessories that we placed in the hair, crystal beading, lanterns, cherry blossom branches and fans all added to the story. I feel that as Sassoon cuts and colours are very pure and minimal in their aesthetic that they lend themselves quite well to accessorizing.


Q. You recreate your collection, internationally. How do you work to guarantee that the original concepts remain consistent? Are the looks interpretive or formulaic?

A. All of the teams receive detailed notes and storyboards that illustrate the entire concept of the collection from make up to staging, choreographic notes and of course hair themes, which ensures that the overall message of the collection remains constant. However the individual members of the creative team can use their own creativity to interpret the looks with their own unique, individual stamp.

Q. Sassoon creates bi-annual collections. As International Creative Director, how do you direct these collections? Do you conceptualize them from start to finish, or are the looks collaborative?

A. Every Sassoon collection is a collaborative process, I am in the unique position of being able to work with the team on an ongoing basis and while I am of course responsible for conceptualizing the overall look from start to finish, I am always looking for fresh, interesting ideas from the team.


Q. For many years, stylists have been creating long, layered looks. Do you predict the return of ‘the haircut?’

A. To us the haircut has never been away! Though I don’t think it is a question of length. In our collections there are always a variety of lengths, textures and colors. To us it is a question of suitability to the individual and the face is an architectural fame for our work.

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