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Supercuts: a tribute to subcultural hair styles through the ages

Creative director Carlo Avena takes the lead on a hair shoot that contrasts modern and classic sensibilities

“We wanted to create something that felt familiar but also uncharted,” says Carlo Avena, the hairstylist and creative director for a hair-raising new photo story. Using analogue film as a medium, the team – which included Charlie Soffe, Katie Scott, Nat Bury and Emily Wood – experimented by running images through VHS screens and digitally scanning them, alongside more traditional photography methods. 

The result is a story of contrasts. “On one side we have a clean black and white approach to film photography which could represent the vulnerability of the photos, simple, loud and effective,” he says. “On the other side, we have a darker section which is more ritual, brutalist and a raw approach.” This darker side creates a more sinister feeling to the images, leading to what Avena calls a new age battle between the modern and the classic.

When it came to the hair looks, it was important to be bold and have the freedom to play around. “Always go big!” he says, explaining that when working on brand campaigns, the creative is often out of his hands so the chance to create and play was a luxury. “If I’m putting a story together, the hair’s got to be pretty big, right.”   

For inspiration, he looked to the perennial subcultural images of Derek Ridgers as well as the paintings of Quentin Matsys, in particular “The Ugly Duchess” with her split peak hair and the portrait of Jacob Obrecht for the bowl cut. The result is hair that doesn’t play by the rules. “If it’s looking too right and you’re spending too much time on smaller details, change something drastically,” says Avena. “Bang a clipper on it or cut off a fringe.”

Creative Direction Carlo Avena, art direction Charlie Soffe & Katie Scott, photography Katie Scott, VHS stills & video Charlie Soffe, hair Carlo Avena, barbering Nat Bury, make-up Emily Wood, studio