Sunday, October 11th marked the 33rd year of the Alternative Hair Show, this year titled Aurora. Bringing colour and creativity from 20 international hair teams to the iconic stages of London’s Royal Albert Hall, the event once again proved why it has become a staple of the hairdressing calendar.

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Apart from the inspiring hair created on stage, the show has philanthropic roots, working to raise money for the charity Fighting Leukaemia in order to fund research and ultimately find a cure for Blood Cancer. With the help of a film screening at the event which showed the important work the charity does, a testimonial from a six year old Leukaemia survivor and the contribution of the creative teams, who finance their own conceptual shows, the evening raised a phenomenal £201,000 (AU$428,902) in donations. £8.5 million have been donated to the cause in total.

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Koshuke Visual Network

“There are no words I can find to thank these wonderful hairdressers. Their support and generosity never fails to make me feel both eternally grateful and humble,” said Tony Rizzo, Alternative Hair Founder.

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These generous global teams consisted of Saco, Babicz, Rossa Danagher, Anne Veck, Class, Mario Krankl, Paul, Stafford, Gogen é SALON, TIGI Creative Team, Kohsuke Visual Network, Alan Edwards, Robert Cromeans, Andrew Collinge, Fehringer, Klaus Peter Ochs, Laszlo, Hajas, Dmitry Vinokurov, Carlo Bay and Sanrizz, who all put on their own three minute hair show.

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‘Aurora’ is defined as “a natural electrical phenomenon characterized by the appearance of streamers of reddish or greenish light in the sky, especially near the northern or southern magnetic pole” – translated in literary terms as “the dawn”.

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Alan Edwards

The teams delivered on this creative premise, with fashion-forward hues that ranged from pale pinks and yellows to intense shades of blues and greens, and even rich blacks. Artistic facets of dawn and dusk, glacial ice patterns and frozen landscapes defined the styling theme.

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Dmitry Vinokurov

Representing Australia, é SALON presented a combination of three strong geometric shapes and three ethereal, Avant Garde looks inspired by crocheting, string and lace from Lisa Muscat Vitale’s Virtuality collection. The team even pushed the notion of a bald head, creating shapes around that aesthetic.

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“Our interpretation this year was inspired by the Northern Lights and this was reflected in our lighting and makeup, and our white colour theme. With the hair colour, two colours, black with metallic as a focal point, fuelled our inspiration. We knew most teams would be working with lots of colour and our interpretation stayed pure and clean, perfectly capturing our underlying feeling of haunting etherealness,” shared é SALON Creative Director, Emiliano Vitale.

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Another significant portion of the evening comes in the form of the Alternative Hair Visionary Award, where finalists in each of the three categories style one model live on stage and are judged by an esteemed panel. This year’s overall winners were Barry McDonagh from Ireland for the Cut & Colour category, Walter Armanno from Italy for Men’s and Emmanuel Esteban from the UK in Avant Garde.

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Visionary Award

“Every year the work gets better and better,” shared Alternative Hair President Anthony Mascolo. “The standard was phenomenal. Every single hairdresser not only showed beautiful hair, but the makeup, and styling created fantastic overall looks. I don’t know how we actually decided on winners!”

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For the past several years the evening has also linked with AIPP to present the winners of the AIPP International Awards. Part of this Award ceremony. This year the title of Alternative Hair & AIPP Legend was given to the incomparable Robert Lobetta, while other title winners included Angelo Seminara, Philip Bell and our very own Uros Mikic.

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With 5000 attendees in the audience, and thousands more supporting the event from afar, the Alternative Hair Show proves just how much can be done by the global hair community when we come together. Until next year…

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Photography by Alex Barron-Hugh