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An interview with Neil Grupp/WWD April 2016

“Great collaborations and trust lead to beautiful images.”

We asked our friend Neil Grupp to pick out an editorial or an image to write about. He picked a recent editorial for WWD April 2016. We wanted to get a feel for Neil’s process, both conceptually and technically. This is what he had to say. 

Neil: Ok here it goes, a new cover story for WWD. A denim story shot by Jerome Corpuz. I got the job from Jerome. I got the look by doing research on the character Jerome was looking to create, which was based off of Marla Singer from Fight Club. Naturally, I watched the movie again to see the feeling he was going for, then at the salon I started to prep wigs and send Jerome pictures to see what he was liking. The second wig I put on was the winner, it’s actually on backwards, and has been in my kit for along time, waiting for its moment. When we got to set, WWD was wanting something natural as far as hair and makeup. We gave them our best to try and sell the character Jerome was envisioning, and after the first shot, they loved it!  The rest is history. Great collaborations and trust lead to beautiful images.  This was the first look, and I believe the first shot that was the winner and then the rest of the story evolved.

LHAside from the wig being backwards, what did you do to get the the look and texture?

Neil: That wig, I believe I tried to color it with rite dye to make it darker, because its synthetic, I also cut it a bit. If you were to turn it around its a bob. I used wax on it a bit for shine and to calm it down at times, as well as shine spray, and mostly just my hands, no combs or brushes. A lot of wind from me and my assistant using homemade wind boards. After lunch, I cut the ear sides out to let models ears be more comfortable, because it was in the wrong way and that changed the shape a bit.

LHHad you created a texture similar to this before? Was this all experimental?

Neil: I feel like the texture is different than past work, more of a haircut and more shine products, rather than products that give grip. Synthetic hair is different than human, so you have to work it out by feeling. I mostly work by feeling. The ritdye was new, and gave it a bit more texture.

LH: Can you tell me a bit more about Rit dye?

Neil: Lena Ott introduced it to me, and helps if you want to color or stain a synthetic wig. This wig was already dark, but I made it a bit darker and gave it some more texture. It is probably better to use on a lighter colored synthetic wig as far as the rit dye and achieving the color you want, blue…black…red, etc. It’s when there is no budget for hair and you need to DIY on the cheap.

WWD April 2016

Hair: Neil Grupp

Makeup: Jen Myles

Photographer: Jerome Corpuz

Stylist: Mayte Allende

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