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MBFWA Day 4: Backstage with John Pulitano at Tome’s Pre-Fall runway

No fashion week should be without a good hair director.

A long line of models linger in the dim and moody backstage light at the Tome Runway, their silhouettes exaggerated by sleek black turbans. Amid the preparation, I grabbed five minutes with REDKEN Hair Director John Pulitano, to talk texture, turbans and Tome. 

Renowned for his devotion to grunge-inspired looks, Pulitano has the ability to integrate iconic hair styles into fresh and modern concepts. I wanted to know more about Pulitano’s process, inspiration and his fashion week essentials. 

Take us through the look for Tome and inspiration behind it.

Well, the inspiration was Nina Simone, hence the turbans. We wanted to create a little gritty, grungy texture to go with that. We obviously didn’t want to just go back to that time, we wanted to give it something more. So we used some Shape Factor Wax, which it is a soft, pliable wax that dries almost instantly. By the time the girls go out there, their hair will have dried a little and it’ll be more matte, there’ll be that nice piece of texture. Then we just finish with some Diamond Oil over the top. It’s really simple. 

How many different variations of the look were there before this direction was decided on? 

There wasn’t that many actually. We nailed it quite quickly. It’s really unusual for Tome, but I’ve been working with Ryan Lobo (from Tome) for a really long time, so I kind of get the brand and know the aesthetic. I know he doesn’t like fuzzy, fluffy kind of hair, so we’re always looking for a new way to create a slightly ‘piece-ier’ texture. I was overseas in February, and there was this almost natural, oily kind of texture coming through. So that’s where I drew my inspiration from. 

What are the key products you used to create the look?

Rootful 06 Root Lifting Spray, Shape Factor 22 Sculpting Cream-Paste and then some Diamond Oil to finish. 

What is your creative process when you’re conceptualising looks for fashion week?

For me, it’s always good to know what the collection looks like. It’s also good to know what the designer’s inspiration is and then we can go from there. Generally, the designers will have a silhouette they might like, but it is really up to me to just say: “I’ve just done 20 shows overseas and I’m feeling this kind of direction and this is what my intuition is telling me.” 

What’s your favourite hair look to create and why?

I love bringing that retro ’70s look back to life – making it not so authentic and a little bit sexier. I was lucky enough to work on Gucci last season, so I just love that vibe right now. Grunge is my signature and I think people would probably go with me because they want something that is a little bit grittier. Grudge-inspired looks are where my heart lies, for sure.

What’s your favourite era in hair history?

I love the ’50s. I just love that sort of ’50s housewife look. That very dressed up hair.

What should every look start with?

Body-building spray [laughs], that’s the thing I use all the time.

Fashion week in three words?

Fun, challenging and tiring.

No fashion week should be without?

Umm… a good… hair director. 

First thing you did this morning?

Brushed my teeth.

You should always remember to?

Brush your teeth! 

And lastly, what’s the one REDKEN product that everyone should have?

Rootful 06 Root Lifting Spray

shop.redken.com.au

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