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Charlie Le Mindu: From Coiffure to Couture

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Is the world of Haute Couture ready for London-based bad boy Charlie Le Mindu? We’re about to find out. The French hairstylist-cum-designer (who’s probably best known for Lady Gaga’s electric dye jobs and sculptural coifs) will show his first couture collection during Paris’ upcoming Haute Couture week. But don’t expect mousseline or brocade to make appearances in Le Mindu’s Spring ’13. Since he began designing clothes in 2009, the designer has favored a more unconventional material, one that’s near and dear to his heart—human hair. Le Mindu has used the stuff to create everything from ball gowns to circle hats (although, it should be noted, he’s also crafted looks out of synthetic nails). “It takes me up to five hundred hours to finish each piece. I put so much time and energy into my designs, so it made sense to show during Haute Couture,” says Le Mindu, who previously debuted his collections via theatric Paris presentations during ready-to-wear.

Named Metal Queen (for his muse Lee Aaron’s eighties heavy-metal hit) the predominantly black-and-white collection will fuse human hair and Japanese leather (which Le Mindu says “feels like skin.”). “The hair just looks like textured leather,” says the designer, who has shared some exclusive sketches of his upcoming collection with Style.com. “It’s very organic, but also kind of fetishistic.”

In the name of fun—another Le Mindu signature—the designer has enlisted performers from Crazy Horse, as well as bearded New York personality Andre J, to model in his presentation, which will be held at RA on January 21. Haute Couture clichés (think strong poses and jutting hips) were also a focal point of the collection, and the presentation will have lots of them. “We’re going to do things in a really exaggerated, over-the-top way so that people can laugh about it. I take fashion very seriously. But when you’re at a show, you just want people to react and enjoy it.”

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