ALAN WHITEO
HAIR DIRECTOR
ALAN_expert images.jpg

KNOWN FOR: Effortlessly cool hair.

WHERE ARE YOU BASED? Canberra.

HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN THE INDUSTRY? When I was 13 years old, I found a job sweeping away hair in an East London Barber shop. Soon, I learnt how to use clippers on a Saturday morning when the shop was busy. I used to cut my school friends' hair; David Bowie's Aladdin Sane [style] was a favourite. When I left school, I headed to Savile Row in Mayfair, London. It was dandy and very stylish there. I worked at a salon called Mane Line as a junior to the owner, Christine. She worked on editorials for British Vogue, and I liked that! I used to do colour work on bands like Japan huge New Romantics and their lead singer, David Sylvain. [I worked with] Kym Wilde, Spandau Ballet and a boy band called Haircut 100, and they were pretty big in the post-punk scene. It was overwhelming, but you had to be prepared for anything, and learn fast. It didn’t occur to me to stop. I acquired a taste for fashion, and kept running with it. 

CAN YOU SAY A LITTLE ABOUT WHAT YOU DO AND YOUR PROCESS? I build hair. I then take it apart, and do it again, working with the memory I built that is still left in the hair. For me, hair can then become its own relaxed place. It takes on a loose vibe, and then I can play and finesse. I don’t like hair when it looks like it’s been over-done, sprayed within an inch of its life. I like hair to have its own identity, character and moments that seem to just happen, like in real time with meaning.  

MOST MEMORABLE SHOOT OR PERSON YOU HAVE WORKED WITH? Tom Ford would have to be way up there. There was a period when I did a fair bit for Gucci and Yves Saint-Laurent. One time, we did a shoot at his ranch just outside of Santa Fe in New Mexico. We were shooting there with fashion editor Carine Roitfeld for French Elle - a story on Gucci and Tom. In the afternoon he took us for hike through a broken-down fence to his neighbour's property. It happened to be the estate of American artist, Georgia O’Keefe, preserved in its original state. Her artefacts, her blankets, and her cow skulls surrounded us. Amongst her paintings, original photographic portraits of her, captured by her husband, Alfred Stieglitz, hung on the walls. It was overwhelming and I will never forget it. Then, as if it was just another day’s work, we went back to Tom's for dinner.

 

YOU ARE VERY ACTIVE ON INSTAGRAM. WHAT ROLE DOES IT PLAY FOR YOUR BRAND? It’s so easy to get amongst some serious creativity on IG! One image leads to another, constantly sparking my imagination. It helps feed your creative soul when you least expect it. Building on your own inspirations is a good thing. Instagram acts like a filter system, sorts out what you don’t like and allows you to form concepts fast. For my brand @alanwhiteanthology, it has been a massive benefit - followers react to what we post, and engaging with them is what keeps us adapting and relevant to what our customers want. 

 

What’s your favourite social platform and why? I really only use Instagram regularly. I communicate easily with clients and friends, building relationships that may not have happened. Staying in touch with people’s lives, while in the comfort of your own home - how good is that!

We’re staying at home  quite a bit at the moment,  what’s keeping you entertained? Netflix has been thoroughly entertaining. The best thing I have seen has to have been Schitt's Creek. 80 episodes!! We laughed so hard, so many times and then cried with joy in the end. Belinda, my wife, and I both related to the characters - we had friends, especially in New York, who were those people. The writing was perfection; the humour subtle but hysterical. We cried laughing. Belinda said I was David!

What’s your coffee order? Large long black.

what’s your favourite playlist, classic go-to album, or new discovery? Spotify - Essential Folk.

What’s your favourite new gadget? Hermes Space Black Series 5 Apple watch 44mm.

Are there any future projects or plans you can share with us? Mentoring young hairdressers is something I have always been into and that’s growing through Anthology. Focusing more of my time on the website has been inevitable during the current restriction, and has kept me busy and focused. It's given me time to fine-tune what I am trying to achieve and it seems to be moving forward.  

Essential 5 items in your kit? 

YS Park G Series boar bristle and nylon brushes.

Create curling irons.

Mason Pearson Popular Brush.

Davines Oi Oil for nourishment and hydration.

Super Single Curl Clip Pins.

Favourite Australian product? Beauty dept. – Hydrate Essential Oil Face Pads.

What look/style will we be seeing in 2021? Self expression and plenty of [hair] colour work.