Charlie le Mindu and His Magic Scissors

Dazed Digital talks to Charlie Le Mindu, a new force in the hair and wig industry about taming the locks of his celebrity clientele and his fascination with rats.

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At just 22 years old, French born hairdresser Charlie Le Mindu is no longer the new kid in town with his recently established studio in Shoreditch tending to the tresses of many a celebrity and his first show at London Fashion Week recently completed. With his eccentric style and ever changing hair, Charlie is beginning to make a name for himself with his elaborate wigs and unique hairdressing techniques.

Dazed Digital: How did you first get involved with the hair industry?
Charlie Le Mindu: Well when I was 13 I started to cut hair, firstly Barbie Dolls hair. I would give them crazy cuts and then colour them. I studied at a French hair academy before moving to Berlin when I was 18.

DD: You created your “pop up salon” at the Modular parties in Berlin. Tell us how did this idea come about?
Charlie Le Mindu: Well in Berlin nobody was up and about in the day time; they are more nocturnal, so I really didn’t want to cut hair in the day. So at some club nights I would take along my mirror, scissors, shampoo and everything, I knew people had done similar things in the past but where they would only really style people’s hair. I wanted to cut it, blow dry and style it. It was a big success; clients would leave home without their hair done and then party with a new hair cut.

DD: So how did you venture into the world of wigs then?
Charlie Le Mindu: Well I met Peaches (not the Geldof) in Berlin and she asked me to make her a wig so I created my first wig for her. I find wig-making a lot more interesting than just cutting hair, there is so much more freedom and creativity as I am not contained to just a clients request.

DD: You showed your wigs at your first London Fashion Week show in Februrary. How did everything go?
Charlie Le Mindu: The show was something I had been planning on doing for a long time; it was quite stressful as I produced the show myself but I have had very positive feedback and also some negative feedback from PETA.

DD: The rat and mice mask I imagine?
Charlie Le Mindu: Yes. I created a wig out of flattened white rats and mice which has caused a bit of a stir with the people at PETA. I wanted to show something that was a bit twisted but could still be beautiful.

DD: Was there a concept behind the show? What was your inspiration?
Charlie Le Mindu: My show was based on women who could be mental but sexy at the same time. I find wigs are mainly associated with drag queens and people who are undergoing cancer treatment and so I wanted to show that these could be beautiful and could be used as an extension of somebody’s style.

DD: So are your wigs an accessory like a hat or what is your purpose for creating them?
Charlie Le Mindu: I want people to know that I am not a milliner and that the wigs are not hats, rather an elaborate accessory. I made the wigs to reflect my style of hairdressing, I love freaks but I prefer long flowing natural hair in natural colours. The wigs can bring out the wearers personality or create a completely new one.

DD: You have worked with a lot of celebrities including Chicks on Speed, Carrie Mundane, Jodie Harsh and Peaches to name a few. Any difficult encounters?
Charlie Le Mindu: I worked with the B52s on their last tour of the UK and they are originally famed for their beehives (which I loved) but whilst we were on tour they decided to change their style at the last minute and wanted something quite modern and geometric, I tried to talk them out of it, as it did not suit them and I did not like it at all, but you have to keep the client happy.   

DD: What projects are you currently working on?
Charlie Le Mindu: I am creating a hair jewellery/accessory range for Tatty Devine which is based on the wig collection and includes skulls and mirrors, but no rats at this stage. I am also going on tour with Peaches and have just finished her new music video which features the wigs.  

DD: Can you tell us about the preparation that went into the wigs for the show?
Charlie Le Mindu: The wigs took 6 months to create in total. Although each was different it was about 200 hours per wig. The “skull wig” was the biggest challenge as it is so heavy and I had a team of about 10 assistants working on that with me at once. We used natural hair that we sewed onto the frame of the wigs and then cut and styled it once it was attached.

DD: You previously trained at Vidal Sasson and Toni and Guy. What made you go it alone?
Charlie Le Mindu: Vidal Sasson created the bob back in the 70s so I trained and was educated on how to create the bob but I left to concentrate on my own projects and be able to do my own experimentation. Since I left I have adopted a “trial and error” approach to hair cutting and have been able to develop my own cutting techniques and signatures.

DD: What is your “signature” style then?
Charlie Le Mindu: Well I wanted to take the piss out of celebrity hairdresser Lee Stafford’s signature which is called “The Gherkin” named after the building in London; so my signature is called “The Eiffel Tower” and is basically a big pineapple tower shape of hair.

DD: Being the cutter to the cool, where do you see hair trends going? We have had the bob, the bleach and the bowl. What is next?
Charlie Le Mindu: I have to say wigs! Wigs were very big in the 1960s and now is there time for a comeback. All these crazy hairstyles have been done so I think we will see a return of extensions and hair accessories. In London most hairstyles are so forced and people try too hard, I think natural hair should see a return too, although the colour green has been requested a lot recently.

DD: Finally if you could create a wig for ANY person who would it be?
CLM: Easy. Cher! I would give her 50 metres of hair full of curls and massive volume. She would pull it off easily; she is the queen of extensions and always has volume and length.

The Charlie Le Mindu Accessory Collection for Tatty Devine is available online now.
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