Words that immediately come to mind are exaggerated, fetishistic, derivative, historical, and sculptural to name a few. Guido Palau is at once artist, designer, stylist, inventor, and iconoclast. Anyone who might refer to him as a hairstylist would be grossly understating this man’s range of creative ability.
Hair: Guido is as much educational and informational as it is artistic in its minimal and modernistic presentation. Photographer David Sims captures the artistry of this creative wunderkind in an almost disturbingly and otherworldly simple fashion, and yet one might even see this series as the train wreck you can’t look away from.
Without question, if there were a hall of fame for those creative types involved in editorial and fashion photography, there is no doubt that Guido Palau would be ranked with the greats such as Ara Gallant, Suga, Vidal Sassoon, Alexandre, Kenneth, and Julien d’Y. Unquestionably, there are subtle and in some cases more obvious references to those mentioned, but Palau also remains a creator in his own right and has definitely put his imprimatur on this area of fashion.
If there is criticism to be given about the book itself it is pointed to the marquee names that were assigned to write the book. Andrew Bolton, whose credentials are extremely impressive, needs to dial it down when it comes to his choice of verbiage as it comes off rather overly intellectualized and exaggerated. In his defense, the preface is in many ways far more insightful that his counterpart’s interview with Palau.
Blanks insists on and persists in inserting himself into the dialog rather than to just prompt Palau to espouse his take on his own talents and profession. The interviewer ought to serve as a conduit, someone who gets the subject to expose himself to the reader for purposes of enlightenment and entertainment. Blanks, however, seems to think that the reader could care about his personal opinions or arcane knowledge on the subject. Despite Blanks’ ramblings, there is much to be learned about Palau and the work of David Sims as they are inextricably linked via Palau’s books.
The bottom line here is that the book comes off as a very successful exploration into an exceptional body of work that belongs to a rather brilliant hair stylist. No question, the images are arresting in their own right without the text and despite the shortfalls of the accompanying written parts, the book is quite a treasure for those who wish to explore all areas of the fashion world.