Long fascinated by hair and its movement, Charlie Le Mindu considers it a veritable artistic medium. Born in France, he says hairdressers are often undervalued in his home country, so he began traveling — first to Berlin, then London before settling in the U.S. this journey freed his creativity and artistic practice, exposing him to new cultures while falling in love with eclectic personalities, the energy of big cities or else discoveries in nature. Embracing “weirdness”, he has pushed existing boundaries of gender and beauty to create hybrid forms of expression that he refers to as Haute Coiffure, Tricophile Art or Chorégraphies Capillaires. His ongoing aim is to question what they see and spark emotions in people, or as he likes to say, “hairmotion”.
In what ways is exploration such a natural part of the design process?
For me, exploration rhymes with being curious and bold, going beyond what is expected. In my practice, it is key as I try to reach beauty from oddities, or even redefine what beautiful is.
What are some of the themes and ideas that you would like to see designers exploring through the next few seasons?
I’d love to see fresh and unseen ideas in fashion and beauty, as at the moment, I feel like all is about recycling the old or redigesting what other designers do. I am craving pure creativity not directed by marketing. I would also love to see current designers going further than just the concept of inclusivity. I am a bit tired of seeing lazy designs pop, using the excuse of being open-minded, gender neutral or body positive. Don’t get me wrong,I love that fashion evolves towards these notions and indeed, it should be for everyone. Still, we should stay critical of the end product and its relevance as well, no matter how « “inclusive” it is. Inclusivity shouldn’t be used as an exit door for mediocrity or as a “washing” to hide more serious issues like shady production conditions or no sustainability in the product.
How do you, personally, explore what’s new and exciting in fashion?
I’m not really researching current fashion for inspiration. I prefer being curious of everything I encounter from my travels or nature for example. I research by drawing, making, trying, producing accidents. This way things evolve and it is way more organic.
How have the past few years shaped your exploration through social media and the virtual world?
Lately I’m trying to get away from the digital world and reconnect with the real one. I’ve been looking for isolation and finding my true self, as social media is already overwhelming and over-stimulating. I am looking for inspiration from quiet boredom.
Exploration image : Fluorescent Species
This piece is the result of an extremely intense exploration of technical possibilities as well as my own physical boundaries. I stayed in the dark in a cave in Berlin for six months to create the technique that allowed me to obtain the exact phosphorescent effect I wanted. It is now part of the very special selection of my archives for Artcurial.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.