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BUNDY BUNDY Fall/Winter 2014/2015: new Montmartre

BUNDY BUNDY art collection
A tribute to Toulouse-Lautrec

Montmartre in Paris. Behind the stage of the Moulin Rouge, the great Vaudeville performers of the Belle Époque are getting ready: La Goulue, Yvette Guilbert, and Jane Avril. Mingling with them is Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, an up-and-coming young artist with an analytic eye and close ties to women in the demimonde. He draws on this background to create unprettified and pure paintings which tend to raise some eyebrows. Artistically speaking, he is clearly ahead of his time. This year, we commemorate Toulouse-Lautrec’s 150th birthday. The Kunstforum Vienna is showing a retrospective and BUNDY BUNDY pays tribute to this great artist with its “New Montmartre” art collection.

We drew inspiration for our “New Montmartre” collection from the posters and portraits created by Toulouse-Lautrec. Renowned photographer Inge Prader relies on sophisticated light and photography techniques to create modern-day poster effects. For this art collection, the designer duo Schella Kann specifically drew inspiration from the Belle Époque. Up-dos that make it difficult to see just how they have been created take centre stage. But we’ll let you in on part of the secret: we use a combination of twisting, braiding and curling. To create extraordinary effects, our BUNDY BUNDY artistic team uses Hairdreams extensions. These extensions can even be used to create a fascinator effect for festive occasions.

With this exclusive art collection, the BUNDY BUNDY artistic team showcases its skill and expertise, not unlike high fashion. The world’s leading designers, such as Chanel and Dior, as well as the newly rediscovered Elsa Schiaparelli draw on the Belle Époque with this season’s cuts, shapes and colours. Exaggerated and magnified shapes also of hairstyles are deliberately used to polarise. Clients can pick and choose elements to be used in their hairstyles for special occasions, such as balls and weddings. Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec would have approved!

Interview with BUNDY BUNDY‘s artistic director Hannes Steinmetz about his passion for art, ingenuity and inspiration courtesy of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec.

Every autumn, the world of hair design eagerly awaits the new BUNDY BUNDY art collection. Please tell us briefly what “New Montmartre” is all about.
We drew inspiration from the work of Henri de Toulouse-Lautrec, and that’s why the new collection turned out to be very feminine, somewhat erotic and with a touch of risqué lightness.

This year, we are celebrating the artist’s 150th birthday. Is there anything in particular about his paintings that inspired you?
His entire life is an inspiration. Given his own personal shortcomings, he was a strong advocate of marginalised individuals. He worked as a dressing assistant at revue and dance clubs. To some extent, he had the same role as we have during fashion shows: he worked behind the scenes. I like the fact that he painted women how he saw them, very pure and with no make-up, which was something some of his models disliked because they ended up not looking as pretty on canvas as they would have expected.

Now there lies the difference to your line of work.
Yes. We don’t show women as pure and realistic as they actually are. With the right hairstyle, every client who comes see us will be even more beautiful than before. We do add something, which Toulouse-Lautrec never did.

Lautrec loved to observe women. His paintings reflect the image of women in his era spot-on. In your opinion, what have been the biggest changes since then?
His models’ position in society granted them a large degree of emancipation. There were no conventions they had to follow. Since then, a lot has changed in terms of clothing and hair fashion. As the century came to an end, during the Belle Époque, all women had long hair and wore it in an up-do. Nowadays, having long hair and wearing it down has long been acceptable. Back then, that was something women only did while getting ready in the morning or before going to bed.

We could put it like this: what used to be an everyday style back then is considered to be the pinnacle of hair styling today.
Exactly. Nowadays, up-dos are the exception to the rule. Women very rarely have up-dos in their daily lives, except for balls or weddings. Also, very few women can actually create an up-do on their own. Back then, women had to be able to do this themselves.

How can the art collection look be interpreted for modern times?
That’s what makes this so interesting: the fact that the look can nowadays be elegant. In our times, wearing your hair up says something about a woman’s position in society. Back then, up-dos were for everybody and it wasn’t a sign of social distinction. We have created hairstyles that are considered elegant today, but modelled on less than elegant demimonde dancers. We even asked our hair models to strike poses reminiscent of nightclub dancers. I find this contrast very appealing.

Lithography has been around for 100 years when Lautrec used it for his posters. Which tried-and-true techniques do hair stylists use to this day?
One of these old techniques is applying heat for shaping the hair. During Lautrec’s time, curling was gaining ground, for which the hair was curled over a hot iron, which gave the hair structure and made it easy to pin up. We have adapted this idea for our collection: we curl the hair before proceeding to the up-do. This makes the hair manageable. Long and straight hair would just be too slippery.

How much of past and how much of the future is in your new collection?
One third of it comes from the past: the inspiration, the shape, the feeling, and the setting. And two thirds are potential for the future. We believe that in the future, women will want to do more with their long hair than just letting it hang down loosely.

How innovative are the latest hair care and styling products?
Things are happening on this front. When we curl the hair, we use heat protection to avoid the hair from drying out too much. Afterwards, we use hairspray that goes on in a thin layer and doesn’t make the hair sticky. I use high-quality styling products to balance out the hair’s moisture level, which improves the hair structure and makes it shine. And I use UV protection to avoid damage from the sun. I can say with a clear conscience that it is better to use finishing products than to expose your hair to environmental influence without any protection.

What was the biggest challenge regarding this art collection?
The biggest challenge was doing something that we hadn’t done before, playing around with these great patterns, testing different structures. We have created new hairstyles from scratch. Opening up new paths is always a challenge, and the same is true for taking an inspiration and adapting it to the modern world and with a look to the future.

Lautrec had a penchant for artistic ingenuity. What does artistic ingenuity at BUNDY BUNDY look like?
At BUNDY BUNDY, that would be the use of typical and customised techniques, what we call signature techniques. We deliberately use steps that will not give away at first glance how a hairstyle works. We never use the one-size-fits-all approach. We always add that special touch.

Artists have to deal with art critics. What would a hairstyle critique look like?
We scrutinise each other. When preparing our collection-- let me exaggerate a bit--we talk about every single hair. Is the style missing a playful element? Do we pull out a few strands of hair? Or do we leave it as perfect as it is?

When is a hairstyle done, when is it perfect? Does it compare to an artist’s final stroke of the brush?
It does compare to a work of art. At some point, you just need to let it go. Painting a canvas over for the third time is just as bad as styling a hairdo to death because the hair will lose its tension and lightness.

Are you able to let it go?
Yes, that is something you need to have. Just like painters, we always take a step back and observe our work from a distance of two or three meters, which allows us to evaluate it. If the tip of your paintbrush is too close to the painting, you won’t be able to see as well as you would from further away.

Back to your daily work at the salon: what if the hairstyle looks unfinished to the client?
All we can do is provide assistance and recommendations, but at the end of the day, whatever the client wants trumps everything else. After all, it is she who will go to an event or who will even start a new stage in her life with that hairstyle. We might be artists, but first and foremost, we provide a service. We want our clients to be happy and beautiful with their hairstyle. However, when creating a collection, nothing keeps us from unfolding our creativity.

How do you reconcile your daily work at the salon with artistic development?
Our daily work can be very inspiring. We deal with different people, different wishes and different situations and we always have to adapt to new circumstances. Nothing about it is ever routine. For our art collections, I rely on art as a source of inspiration. I look through art books, I analyse works and then go into experimentation mode. You have to be a little crazy to do that. In this phase, we literally play with hair and we combine structures and shapes to create something new and unique. This is when my work and hobby become one.

The city of Paris is well known for its influence on the world of fashion. Is the same true for the world of hairstyling?
Paris is also very much the centre of all things hair design. To prepare this collection, I strolled the streets of Montmartre to soap up the ambiance.





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