AnOther speaks to Eugene Souleiman, the hair stylist behind some of the fashion industry's most extraordinary creations, about Maison Margiela, Dr Dre and his devotion to Instagram
Eugene Souleiman is one of fashion’s most prolific hair stylists. Ever since the Jil Sander campaign which launched him to success emerged in 1995, he has travelled the world collaborating with the industry’s most gifted visionaries, from dreaming up the show looks for the likes of Calvin Klein, Missoni, and Prada, to creating Björk's otherwordly, ethereal styling for her cover story in the Spring/Summer 2016 issue of AnOther Magazine. He is nothing short of a magician, recognising the tiny fragment of a reference which first inspired a designer, and working with it to elevate the collection another plane entirely. And yet, his Instagram profile humbly professes him a "ladies hairdresser", as though all of this were by the by – a neat summation of his infallible authenticity.
When we catch Souleiman, it’s just as New York Fashion Week S/S16 is taking hold, and it’s incredibly difficult to maintain his focus for long enough to eke a full interview out of him. “I’m looking forward to the challenges, and being creative with my team!” he says of the whirlwind approaching, and confesses that he’s always too occupied backstage to enjoy the shows he works on from the audience’s vantage point. Fortunately, the hair stylist's Instagram provides a detailed a visual diary of his comings and goings as show season commences, from chronicling his myriad references and inspirations – hashtags know no bounds here, and #bighairdontcare, you'll be pleased to hear, is a firm favourite – to providing a portfolio, of sorts, for the backstage glimpses and work-in-progress snapshots of the wide-ranging catwalk looks he creates with designers. Nonetheless, we pinned Souleiman down to find out his influences, inspirations, and discover how he decompresses once show season has come to an end.
What is your greatest inspiration when it comes to your creations?
"My greatest inspiration comes from the people that I work with; people like John Galliano, Yohji Yamamoto, Pat McGrath, and Craig McDean. My own inspiration is pretty eclectic – it doesn’t come from one particular place. I’m completely obsessed with hair, so I’m always designing it, or coming across ideas, no matter where I am. I think people are very inspiring."
Your favourite show you’ve ever worked on?
"The first couture show for Margiela with John [Galliano] in London. I look at it as a milestone in my career. I’m very honoured to be part of the Margiela/Galliano family. John is beyond talented, and lovely too!"
Do you ever find yourself referring back to old ideas, or are you always pursuing the new?
"Probably both. It’s good to readdress your past looks because things can always evolve. Respect your history and look to the future."
How do you find Instagram feeds into your work?
"I use it to document things I’ve done. The way I use it is always evolving – it depends on my state of mind. As for people I avidly follow, The Nomad Barber has made a niche for himself by combining all the things that he loves to do – barbering, traveling, and education. I also follow an artist called @genevievefiggis – her work is where figurative abstraction and sickness collide, genius! @drdre’s Instagram, too – he’s a legend in his own lifetime! He has never put a foot wrong in my books! Massive respect."
What is your favourite way to celebrate after the show season is over?
"I need to release… It’s not fashion week, it’s Fashion Month! I need to eat properly, drink, and party. And then collapse."