// We go behind the look with two Masters of artistry, with a time laps video and breakdown we get a in depth view of what goes in to making of a truly spectacular artwork.
// About the girls
Sarah Laidlaw has been awarded Australia’s prestigious Session Stylist of the Year title an impressive three times; Hair Expo Session Stylist of the Year in 2010 and 2011, and AHFA Session Stylist of the Year in 2014.
As Australia’s Kérastase Paris Creative Stylist and the Cloud Nine Artisan Ambassador, Sarah is a great advocate of education within the industry, and is constantly touring and educating.
Sarah’s work has been seen in the pages and on the covers of Grazia Italia, Harpers Bazaar, Wish, Madison, Karen, Koncierge, Freundin, Yen, Cream, Singapore Harpers, Fashion Quarterly, Instyle and Rolling Stone Magazine.
Alexia Sinclair is an award winning Australian Artist and Photographer. Her distinct style is easily recognisable and highly original. Using a visual narrative to seduce her audience with each photographic feast, Sinclair’s art is dark and seductive, baroque and symbolic. Her multilayered photographs subtly present contemporary notions of fashion and beauty through innovative digital media, whilst restoring antique notions of classicism, elegance and luxury.
Motivated by her love and devotion for all things intricate and unusual, this versatile creative uniquely approaches her creative production by filling all of the roles, from designing sets and props, to makeup and costumes. Sinclair travels the world photographing locations and models and works in post production constructing imagined worlds through the combination of her photographs and hand illustrations.
Working with photographer and artist Alexia Sinclair is always an exciting and in-depth journey. Over the last 7 years, I've collaborated with her on many of her amazing creations and each time I'm ridiculously excited and bursting to see it all come together. As a hairdresser and makeup artist, it is a brilliant forum to showcase my work in an entirely different way and to an entirely different audience..
In Alexia's images, she creates everything herself. She does a huge amount of historical research, designs and sews the costume, designs and builds the set from scratch, photographs it and then does all the retouching. Then I'm lucky enough to come in, in the midst of her hundreds of hours of hard work, and do the hair and makeup to add the final piece of the puzzle.
For this image titled "The Golden Phoenix", Alexia wanted to do her version of an historical portrait of English Queen Elizabeth 1.
As Alexia writes "In a time of religious turmoil, a time when women held little power, Elizabeth I rose to great popularity by manipulating her public image through the use of symbolism in her portraits. Foremost, she aligned herself with the biblical figure The Virgin Mary, the Tudor Rose and the Phoenix, rising from the ashes. These symbols are woven into the elaborate costuming of The Golden Phoenix."
The makeup for this portrait was to be strong and striking, while maintaining the delicate beauty of our model Monique's bone structure. On the eyes, I worked with a classic "beauty eye' in the purple and gold found in the costuming. The skin was luminous and polished.
The first plan we had for the design of the hair was to build it into a starburst shape similar to the halo depicted in religious iconography from that era.
As you watch the time-lapse film, you'll see that I completed that starburst effect then dismantle it again. Alexia and I decided as it all came together that with all the detail in the costume, throne, background and set dressing that Monique had looked more beautiful when her hair was down. Simplifying the design added so much more to the overall image and I could showcase Monique's incredible length and rich natural hair colour.
I began with placing the leather and golden feather crown onto the head in the correct position so I knew what space I had to work within. A centre part first, then set in a traditional wind down either side of the hairline. I set the entire of the hair in a simple classic wind to create flowing waves. Next, I sculpted in the finger waves at the front and clipped them into place to sharpen the peaks before brushing the lengths of the hair over one shoulder into shiny, polished waves. The wave clamps came out and final spray at the front, then I added the little golden stars that are scattered along the length of the style... so we got our starburst after all.
It was a challenge doing hair and makeup for the time-lapse as I couldn't stand in front of her or use a mirror, as that would be in the way of the camera... I couldn't stand behind her as the back of the throne was so high. I had to do the entire hair and makeup from the side and run out to my table (that was hidden off to the side) each time I needed a roller, pin or another swipe of eyeshadow. Monique was so amazing and stayed still the entire time for the video, and then couldn't move as we'd built her into the set by then... and then the photography started.
It is so fun working on a project like this as it is so different to my editorial fashion work, and it feels quite thrilling to be part of the creation of an artwork.
Alexia Sinclair does limited runs of each work and she has passionate collectors of her art all over the world. I love that in a small way, I have contributed to a huge artwork (they're usually 1.5m square) that hangs on a wall in some amazing space with someone who truly adores it.