The Making of V: Hairstylist Jimmy Paul Reflects on V11

Jimmy Paul on Hedi Slimane’s First Dior Homme Show as Documented by Karl Lagerfeld

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I did the hair for a couple of seasons at Saint Laurent. Hedi Slimane and I got along, and it was very fun. I absolutely was obsessed with the whole vibe—it was thrilling. He then gets his appointment at Dior. It worked out that I got to do the hair for the show. I don’t remember how we came up with this hairstyle, but I think it’s really inspired by Eric, the model. He had this really angelic, like silk, fine hair. Then the actual show comes [in January 2001]. It was electrifying. The casting… I’ve just never seen anything like it. It’s very hard to explain now how radical this all was at the time. It’s considered subtle now because it’s been normalized. But it wasn’t at all subtle at the time. Before, it was just normal, muscley looking guys too, all of a sudden, these emaciated kids. They weren’t all super skinny, they just looked very different. It wasn’t a cookie-cutter thing.

We’re prepping backstage and all of a sudden, you could just feel the buzz. Karl Lagerfeld was there, Catherine Deneuve was there, Yves Saint Laurent was there with Pierre Bergé and Betty Catroux. And the last fashion show that Yves had been to was something insane like Marc Bohan for Dior in 1967. In my personal opinion, they were handing over the keys to a new generation. It was utterly mindblowing.

At one point backstage, Karl and Amanda Harlech start going through the clothes. I could see that Karl was really losing his mind over the pieces. I knew at that moment that this movement became valid; this was a real thing. The boys are starting to line up, and Karl is taking pictures in this very tiny space. I got swept up in it; my adrenaline was up. All of a sudden, we’re in this frenzied moment. You know, Lagerfeld is back here taking paparazzi pictures! Uncharacteristically, I started saying to Karl, “Look at this guy… this guy is amazing,” and he started to listen to me. These shots later became four split covers for V11. One of the covers features this really great guy with the signature hair from the show. I’m fixing his hair and saying to Karl, “Isn’t this great?” It’s my favorite for obvious reasons: You can see me—I’m the one wearing the watch adjusting his hair.

I’d never seen anything like that: Karl Lagerfeld in the flesh just taking pictures. And I, of course, didn’t know it was going to end up being the cover of V, but it was the kind of unforgettable gig that should be remembered that way. It felt like a very unique, extraordinary and rarefied situation. I am forever grateful.

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