05/10/2009

Expert Profile - LYNDELL MANSFIELD

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Lyndell Mansfield started hairdressing when she was in her Aussie mothers womb, well, almost. When she was just 2 she would set her hair with pegs and charge her family’s house guests 20 cents for a head massage and call it a ‘Head Job’! She was obsessed with singing, dancing, fashion and hair. 4 qualities combined together to create one of the most iconic, feminine and innovative hairdressers of this generation. Since the age of 12 (when she had to lie to the owner about her age) she has worked in a salon and began her apprentiship at 16 in Sydney of which won over 2000 applicants. From there she went on to enter an open hair competition in the Aussie Journal of which the prize was a trip to London. Her goal was to win the trip and never go home… And that’s exactly what she did…
Her clients now include Burberry, Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, Claudia Schiffer, Chloe Sevigny Beth Ditto, Victoria Beckham, Ellen Von Unwerth and she is Represented by CLM.

Lyndell, how did you get started?
I was just a keen replacement girl in a salon Chiswick and someone gave me a go. Next thing I knew I was at Paris Fashion Week. I was such a geek I got up at 4 am to finger-wave my hair! And went to assist on the teams. Suddenly I was backstage at Chanel, I met Karl Largerfeld, Cindy Crawford all of these huge huge people in fashion.. I ran outside the Louvre to the phone booth to phone my mum and be like “Oh My God Mum I’m at Fashion Week!”

Are there any people that helped and supported your career because they believed in you?
Yeah there's loads of people. The girl who owned the salon in Australia, Renya, she believed in me, and Danilo from the agency in Paris, it wasn’t a huge agency but it was a nice agency that helped me out. Then from that point I was doing hair in my salon in Chiswick and I met a young photographer who assisted someone huge. I told him what I wanted to do, so we started testing and he would recommend me to hairdressers that we on the shoots that he worked on, putting me forward all the time, and from that I got to assist a few of the big guys from Streeters London, Johnnie Sapong, Steven Lacey, Adam Bryant, Malcolm Edwards. All these boys, at the time, were like the cool clan of male hairdressers, which made me realize that the industry was SO over populated with men and there weren’t any women. I wanted to work under a woman. There was one big female hairdresser at the time that inspired me, Odile Gilbert
from Paris, but getting in with her was near impossible. I want to assist as many people as I could… because you realize there’s no rules. Its all about your aesthetics and and what you think makes something beautiful, everyone has a different eye, a different feel. I never wanted one person to influence me, that probably went against me in one sense because I was never one huge hair dressers first assistant, I wanted to assist everyone! It also made me realize that there was room for me, I was a girl, and I did things differently, I had so much training and no inhibitions or agenda. I believe you can only learn from experience, in life, in love, in your profession.

How did you go from assisting to getting booked as your own artist?
Well because of my background, I could cut and colour and do wigs and all of that stuff.  People were having me go and assist them, and then having me do all of their colour work, so I was meeting, all the big girls, I was going to Kate Moss, Karen Elson, Liberty Ross’s houses myself and colouring all of the big supermodels of that time in their hotel rooms. 




Just as I was becoming busier and working with all of these amazing people, suddenly, my visa was up. I went to Paris, lived in Paris, then went to New York, September 11th happened….freaked me out, I got offered a sponsorship in London from a Salon, so I went back. I had a reputation building there and this way I could become my own artist.
However the sponsorship meant that I was tied in for 4 years to that salon, which wasn’t what I wanted to do. I had to sacrifice and put everything on hold… But I was between a rock and a hard place… I had to do the 4 years. I believed what I was doing was my calling and working in a salon again was difficult, but they were good to me and they would let me do session work so long as it was under their name. It flew by and suddenly it was up. I still have one or two die hard loyal clients from those days.

I left there in 2006 and since then I have been with my agency.
 



Who are your influences?
I’m a big believer in being a true hair dresser, that knows the old school basics right across the board. A salon education and structure is really important. All of the hairdressers that have inspired me have been true hairdressers. Guido, Eugene, Orlando, Malcolm Edwards. I don’t have one in particular that I longed to be and that was my idol. I had my own ideas and I think you can see that in my work.
I hate it when your on a job and there one big ego directing the whole thing, because when you break it down, that image comes from everyone on the team and that’s why it’s beautiful.
I get inspired from a good photographer or a good model I’m working with, you cant work in this if you don’t get excited about the girls and if they are happy with what you’ve done.

What was your worst job?
My first trip to Morocco I stitched myself up, got myself in over my head, I was so young and I had said I could do hair and make up and tanning. I had too much to do. The boy turned up with a beard and looking like a ghost and I had to make him look tanned. It was hideous. I hated Morocco, I was intimidated by the photographer. I didn’t mess it up at all it was fine I just didn’t feel comfortable in my environment which is what ruins a job for me.

What has been your career highlight?
There’s loads, I’ve done so many high profile people and I still get excited when I do them.. I’m never going to be satisfied, I’m always going to want something bigger and think to myself “I nailed that.”  Just today I had a young Japanese girl, email my agent from Japan saying she wanted to assist Lyndell Mansfield… I LOVE THAT it’s like what the hell that our job reaches so far, that’s a real highlight for me.

Your one and only baby is...
Mason pearson



What are your top 5 products?
PERSONAL
I love natural products I'm really sensitive I like an Australian brand called Akin

Joico Silvern
Papaw Ointment
MAC Face and Body

A red lipstick - Ruby Woo

PROFESSIONAL
Elnet

Bumble and Bumble Thickening Spray
L'Oreal Glam Definition Balm

Bumble and Bumble Bb Gel
Bumble and Bumble Sumo Wax

Define Beauty

A timeless image.




Who do you think is the most beautiful woman?
For me, I think Beth Ditto. She has made people question what is beautiful and she’s stood up and made people take a different look, whether they like it or not. She has made people question what is acceptable, conventional beauty and
realize that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. And I know her, I cant label someone as more beautiful than someone I know. Beauty is a sparkle in the eye and a passion in the heart. Beauty is what you make of it, inside and out.

If you could, what would you change on your face?
I want a jaw, my chins too pointy my profile is shit, I probably wouldn’t do it though because I hate surgery!

How long do you spend on your hair and make up?
Half an hour, I’m very trained in the world of dressing up!

Describe your work in 5 words?
Done, prepped and structured, and then destroyed. I do it and then I undo it.
Feminine and organic with personality.

What inspires you?
Youth culture, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Tim Burton films and Aubrey Beardsley.




If you weren’t a Hairdresser what would you be?
A dancer

What is Lyndell’s moto for life?
Live your dream, not chase it.