The Race for the coveted cup begins…
Let’s rewind back to 2016, the first time I entered the L’Oreal Colour Trophy with Sara Bergantini under the mentorship of salon owner Sinead Johnson. I admit I did not know much about the Colour Trophy or what it entailed in terms of kudos in the industry and sheer amount of work and dedication to not only represent ourselves as colourists and stylists but also as a salon aesthetic. We went on to win the competition with a denim blue bob. Little did I know how important this would be, not only in my own career but as a creative. Our beautiful model Natasha Underwood embodied everything we felt represented the modern London woman, the colour; a bold, strong statement with an expertly cut bob by Sara to make the look unconventional yet timeless. Gladiator heels were added to the Maje umbrella dress to indicate a fierce, industrial warrior going into battle on the National hairdressing stage of L’Oreal.
Now, here we are again. Three years on and with a new challenge ahead of us. How has fashion evolved? How has our interpretation of the London woman evolved? And how do we create yet another iconic look that embodies the aesthetic and ideals of Sinead Kelly London as a salon? Myself and Sinead go into battle again, armed with a new warrior; new in terms of style but recognisable in terms of bringing out our finest muse; Natasha. As we have evolved, so has our model, embodying a new representation of style. The challenge is great but one I and Sinead fervently take on. Both of us complete perfectionists to the point of obsessive. So where do we start?
Colour Trophy isn’t simply a hair competition. L’Oreal Colour Trophy is the longest running live hairdressing competition and has also evolved in its 64 years from only 300 attendees in 1954 to thousands of the industry’s greatest talents. This is serious business in the world of hairdressing and the cup is greatly coveted.
In terms of colour, it was brought to my attention by one of my best friends Emer (who also trained as a hairdresser originally) that mustard hair was an exciting new trend hitting social media. It certainly caught my attention yet something was lacking. As beautiful a colour as it can be…mustard to me represents something matte, dense and simplistic. I wanted to take this concept of mustard hair and elevate it. Create a colour not yet seen in a single tube. I didn’t want it ‘yellow’ or ‘orange’; I wanted something luxurious, beautiful, and complex. Something that also embodied the ideals of L’Oreal and its preference for shiny, beautiful hair. Then it hit me, Sienna. Sienna represents a colour which is classic in its use but multi-faceted and luxuriant. But how do you make it?
After several failed attempts on multiple swatches, like some mad scientist, my thoughts go to my sister Elizabeth Mikellides, a master of fine art with a wealth of education behind her with a Masters from the Slade School of Art under her belt and a creative analytical thought process. Surely if I follow the laws of fine art painting I can adapt those to the laws of hair colour? I got straight on the phone to her. This is when it clicked, a trichological eureka moment. Elizabeth explained to me that Sienna is translucent, whereas yellow ochre (a colour similar to mustard) is opaque. There are various tones in Sienna: orange, yellow, blue. Tones that contradict each other on the colour wheel but when layered on top of each other and kept translucent can create a stunning colour with multiple reflects.
I won’t bore you with the exact measurements of each tone but it was armed with this information that I created our final colour. We had our colour but now we needed our ‘look’. What does our muse represent? How is this relevant for today’s woman?
There is a mutual respect between myself and Sinead. We work well together and hold no punches. We are honest about what we think from the outset and it is with this that our most achieved looks are created. Every length and style of hair was considered. Long, short, sharp, straight, curly. With Sinead as the stylist and with a penchant for giving a woman the most complimentary length and style it was decided that a long sharp bob was the canvas to our colour, the style a meticulously symmetrical yet elegant soft wave. A true representation of the 2019 woman; strong and bold yet soft and with a French classic twist (it is L’Oreal after all).
A contemporary yet chic look, I would describe the colour as a rich and glossy Sienna, multi-faceted and complex in its composition, the style; a soft yet perfectly symmetrical waved sharp long-bob. It is a combination of contradictory messages, challenging the expectation of femininity. Not sticking to current trends, it was our goal to produce a look with our own interpretation of the 2019 London woman, resilient yet feminine, gentle, earthy and natural. Recognition of what is going on culturally with climate change and ethical obligations to preserving our environment.
This was further represented by our beautiful burnt orange dress by Self Portrait, with its classic 1940s cut but modern high neckline and the fierce Zara ankle sock boot with a killer heel and beaded flower brooches to add softness and pay homage to classic ideals of femininity. The make-up was executed by Cristiana Maxim, the same make-up artist who worked her magic on 2016’s final look. A fresh, dewy complexion with freckles and muted nude lip, complemented by a stronger brow and Natasha’s hazel eyes. The colour palette; from the hair to the make-up to the clothing all marries together to create a fluid, earthy interpretation of the London woman with a nod to French style and class.
Off we send our Amazonian beauty into battle, having already beaten hundreds of salons nationwide to get to the highly anticipated final. A glitzy affair in Battersea, where we again compete to lift that sought after trophy. This time a little wiser and happy in the knowledge that win or lose, we have yet again represented ourselves and the salon as a force to be reckoned with. Even more importantly, I and Sinead are content in our ability as colourist and stylist and thrilled to showcase our collaborative work as Natasha sashays down that catwalk once more. And that truly is triumph enough.
The L’Oreal Colour Trophy final is on 3rd June 2019