We’re unsure whether Guido Palau watched Good News Week, but his gelled whimsy at Burberry looked strikingly similar to Australian comedian Paul Livingston’s Flacco; a misfit with a single coil gelled on his pale bald head. We do think, however, he knows FKA Twigs. On Riccardo Tisci’s Burberry runway, Palau’s version of the British singer / songwriter played out on Gigi Hadid and a few select models.
With or without intention, Palau reimagined Twigs’ iconic hair; those famous slicks of sculpted baby hair, always impeccably gelled down at her hairline. Appropriated from Latinx and black youth culture, the slicked-down baby burns became a hallmark of the singer’s look.
Bar a few buzz cuts and sleek buns, the hair at Burberry was his version of this; slick swirls gelled deftly across foreheads and around ears with the kind of creative rigour only a great could master. Lucky then, Guido Palau is the greatest of great. While his accidental muse may have been FKA Twigs, his true inspiration came from a decorative art style of the late 1800s. Referencing the intricacies of Art Nouveau in his handiwork, Palau’s work became an art form in itself. It was hair art; the pièce de résistance in a show that had a lot going on.
“It’s inspired by a much more elaborate version of youth culture,” he mused backstage. Much like Tisci’s vision, Palau’s, too, was about young people having a voice. It was about the subversive spirit of Britain’s youth culture, the grunge and grit of the underground told through subtle sartorial protests. It was also about London’s weather. One look at the hair (and glossy raincoats) will tell you this. Wet in finish, Palau’s generous use of hair gel an obvious reference to London’s inclement climate, a glossed-up labyrinth of delicate coils.
On the runway, it was a look we’d seen before. In 2015, Tisci staged his Givenchy show in New York to “real people”. Girls walked out with faces dripping in incredible jewels and bijoux piercings (thanks to Pat McGrath), and the hair was slicked down the middle with wispy baby hairs plastered down like kiss curls. Perhaps a moment of introspection for Tisci; it was a clear riff on his Givenchy past, with Palau rehashing it for his modern Burberry.
Be it FKA Twigs, a 2015 Givenchy or even Flacco; Palau’s Burberry hair is proof that inspiration truly is all around us, and sometimes, even closer than we think.