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Immaculate hair

November 15 2017

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Feminist claim or call of the natural? Taking control over time and its consequences or fashion effect? Sporting her white hair has become a style like any other, a choice that can be made at all ages. Transient or sustainable trend? - Melina Staubitz

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i Marie Seznek has been sporting her white hair since the 80 years, when she parades for Christian Lacroix, Hermes, Yohji Yamamoto and others, it was not until the second decade of the 2000 years that the language of the catwalks was taken up by the crowd. In 2010 and 2011, the respective projectors of Calvin Klein and Jean Paul Gautier allow the white manes to take a place in the world of fashion.

After a natural delay, the effect of the runoff does its work and the salons leave the pots of discoloration. Lady Gaga, Pink, Rihanna - on the side of the young heads - and Kristen McMenamy and Carmen Dell'Orefice - on the side of the less young - carry the standard of the gray wick. Whether natural or dyed, the slogan is "assumed". And for proof: the million occurrences of the hashtag #greyhair on Instagram.

But, according to Christophe Durand, hairdresser, make-up artist and founder of the Bal des Créateurs in Geneva, "it is important to dissociate the trend of natural white hair from that of gray dye. Behind the first hides a fight against the dictates of the West that overwhelm women: unlike men with whom white hair is admitted and even desired, the woman must be young and fresh, at the risk of seeing its seductive potential disappear . "

Sign of an unbearable aging that we do not control, the whitening hair is associated in the collective imagination with unflattering images: be it the sweetness of the grandmother or the hardness of Cruella - when n is not the carelessness of an old careless woman -  the seduction is scratched from the painting. Faced with these imperatives, Sophie Fontanel advocates a revenge of the natural: in his very recent (and very commented) book The Apparitionshe says her return to gray as a takeover and a personal release. At the center of a feminist trend that questions the restrictive aesthetic norms imposed by patriarchy, the journalist chooses white hair as one of the facets of the struggle. With other women, she refuses full-time job femininity to find and assume a deeper self.

Of course, the reactions are not delayed. There are those who proudly wear this non-color by his side, and then those who take offense at his speech. "Sophie Fontanel is akin to a movement a bit rigorous that goes up and imposes the natural as a standard: the hair must be white, weight assumed, non-existent makeup, says Renata Libal, editor in chief of the magazine Encore! and columnist in the Sunday morning. But this injunction is as dangerous as the imperative "Barbie": it makes women guilty who make an effort to please themselves by brandishing before them the joy of being natural. Sophie Fontanel has traveled a therapeutic path where it turns out that her hair played a role, but that does not mean that white hair is a beauty ideal for all. One should not make oneself militant flags. " Thus, if Renata Libal deplores the inequality in terms of the admissibility of white hair between men and women, she preaches a respect of oneself and others in society: first of all by presenting a welcoming face on the outside ( for her, dyeing is one of those little daily efforts), and firing female guilt. The final challenge, according to her, is to find in the mirror an image that reflects what we feel for ourselves.

That's what caused the problem Tanya Drouginska, a model in the mystery age, who has just participated in the lastedition of the reality showSecret Story and whose gray mane has earned him many of his contracts. "For me, white or gray hair is synonymous with giving up some form of seduction and, if I wore them proudly, it was because I had no choice. But deep down I never accepted them and, even if I found my photos beautiful, they sent me an image that I did not agree with, "she explains..In the case of Tanya Drouginska, no claim, therefore, and a refusal of the role of "ambassador of white hair". His family is also mostly brought in a bun, which makes them more anecdotal than essential. But she admits, however, with some pride, having participated "in launching a trend that frees some women from the constraints of coloring", these beautiful women with gray or white hair that escape the labeling "old lady".

Christophe Durand seconds Tanya by affirming that, in the collective imagination, "the white hair becomes asexual. It is a symbol of the passing of time, and in reality, the natural gray hair is always transformed, patinated, never accepted as it is. "Two unique exceptions: when the priority is financial or natural - but the hair is then no longer seen as a fashion accessory. In summary: the natural white hair is often a tool of expression and it dissociates itself from the desire to seduce.

What about gray hair dyed? On a young head, he seems ironic and defies stereotypes. True posture, it denotes a redefinition and reappropriation of color. According to Christophe Durand, two movements are at the origin of the trend. "Marketing, first of all, has opened a gap with the aging of the population. By opening an "age" segment, advertising is moving in this direction and offers products for white hair, through imagery that hitherto only touched a niche clientele. "

At the same time, an analysis of trends in recent years highlights a rebel movement that is expressed, among other things, by bleached. After the year 2000 and the resetting that characterizes it, embodied by the omnipresence of white (that the aesthetic Apple is emblematic), the ultra-black contestant is emerging. It conveys rock and gothic images reworked, anti-bourgeois as possible. And it is accompanied, as during any period of sedition, of hair experiments: the hair is for the purpose of confrontation. Serving a movement of affirmation of self, the white allows to differentiate itself from the mass "fashionable". While being provocative. The claimed influences, both rock and 80's (with Blondie and Kim Carnes at the head of the bow), are contemporaneous with the patina. And today, an Asian spirit joins the mix to create characters that respond to the desire of youth to be an actress of the future: colored pastels, the white hair becomes that of a new inspiring female warrior. Rebellious and futuristic urban poetry.

So, according to Christophe Durand, the trend of white dyeing is not a heritage of natural white hair. "If it is also a means of expression corresponding to a great social movement, it fits, contrary to the natural mane, into the notion of choice: nothing has been imposed, and that is what makes all the difference. To emphasize this, the root is often visible, while the eyebrow is dark and the face is decidedly young. Everything is in contrast. "

We warmly thank you Michèle Bloch-Stuckens to have allowed us to reveal some pictures of his series The loneliness of the elements to illustrate our article.