“When we got to Paris, where we shot this story, there was this undercurrent despite the presence of a curfew. It felt as though there was a lot going on behind closed doors – almost as if it was the start of a rebirth,” says hairstylist Anna Cofone about the atmosphere that birthed her new photo series created in collaboration with photographer Felicity Ingram.
The two long-time collaborators and close friends teamed up on a punk-inspired story that arose from their need to be creative, expressive, and abstract after the isolation and restrictions of the lockdown period. “We longed to break away from the monotony,” Cofone says. “To create and express again.”
Feeling creatively stifled, Cofone found herself drawn to punk culture. It’s an aesthetic she had always been interested in thanks to its individualism and self-sufficient DIY attitude, but which during lockdown took on new resonance for her. Particularly, the scene that arose in East Berlin in the early 1980s.
“Punk was born from a time when there was a lot of social, economic, and political conflict,” she says. “Thanks to the repressions in East Berlin, only a secret punk scene could develop. It was an opportunity to go against rules and again regulation in order to find some sense of freedom and escapism. I guess in many ways it’s what we were all craving during that first lockdown. Repression, in all its forms, has the power to create community and develop a language within that community that encourages a sense of belonging, a safe place to escape to.”
When it came to creating the hair looks for the photo series, Cofone drew inspiration from the colours of the punk aesthetic and the rawness of the shapes of the cuts. She referenced a Crazy Color London catalogue from the late 70s, full of geometric shapes and clashing primary colours of blues and yellows, as well a book she picked up in a gallery in Berlin’s Mitte neighbourhood.
“In it were these incredible images of Zandra Rhodes taken in 1981 wearing bright pink hair, sculpted by the incredible Leonard. Siouxsie putting on eye make-up in Linda Ashby's room, images of Leigh Bowery photographed at Farrell House in 1983 wearing extreme make-up and eccentric self-embroidered clothes.”
Channeling punk’s DIY attitude, Cofone created wigs out of used hair extensions, fashioning them into shapes that were abstract and raw – short mullets coupled with disconnected lengths in bright primary colours – almost as if the models had cut the hair themselves.
“I'm obsessed with shape and structure as well as colour and during the lockdown I would spend a lot of time in my studio making headpieces,” she says. “I love to keep used pieces to then play around with, and reuse hair to create completely different looks, I find it empowering to work in that way. This shoot was the perfect opportunity for that.”
The result is striking, lively hair looks that pay tribute to both the punk attitude of decades past and the playful DIY spirit with which people are now approaching their hair today. As Cofone says, “I think that by the time we came out of lockdown we were all craving play, expression, and creativity.”
Photographer Felicity Ingram at Visual Artists, photographers assistant Bastien Santanoceto, styling Theophile Hermand, make-up Tiziana Raimondo, hair Anna Cofone using Oribe, casting Ikki Casting, models LeeLou Laridan and Jeanne