Interview by Filep Motwary
Hair can be defined and shaped by the use of hands. Hair can be immortalized through photography, complimented by clothes, makeup, through a story, in a context where instant reality becomes a global fantasy or a fact for the years to come. A champion in his own right, today Luigi Murenu creates fashion via hair styling and photography, and observing him at work is like attending a masterclass.
His recent hairstyles for Rick Owens Homme and his photographic stories alongside Iango Henzi make fashion seem to be a game with rules to be broken.
FILEP MOTWARY: Luigi, it is always a pleasure to see you work during fashion week. There is calmness in your approach. How do you stay focused?
LUIGI MURENU: I suppose I stay calm because of my knowledge and experience. As time has passed I’ve learned how to look at the big picture and be more focused on that without being affected by the rest of the chaos during fashion shows. I zone out and concentrate on what I have to do.
FM: How do you communicate an idea with a designer and create the hairstyle that will complete the hero/heroine?
LM: Sometimes I receive some ideas from the designer in advance so I can work one or two months before the show to prepare. That includes educating my assistants, prepping and communicating with the designers via phone calls and emails. The initial process can change every time. It is a communication process, a development that brings to life agreements and the final idea.
My relationship with a designer starts by understanding their taste and combining it with mine.
FM: For the hair you did for Rick Owens for the season to come (autumn/winter 2015) there was a visible aggression—a primitiveness combined with roughness. Could you take us through how you created this look?
LM: The aggressiveness was mixed with the graphicness of beauty. The primitive element is apparent because we executed the hair all by hand, with gel and hairspray. We didn’t use any modern tools. The result was rough, but graphic and beautiful.
FM: How should a man’s hairstyle be defined?
LM: A man’s hairstyle varies. Sometimes we look for more street hairstyles that only young people can wear. Sometimes we take classics and destroy them to make them new.
FM: Is fashion real outside the context of fashion (speaking of hair of course)?
LM: Yes because fashion is always a dream. It’s a projection of what artists escape from—the reality of everyday— to achieve a singular interpretation and hopefully make it different.
FM: Through your work as a photographer, together with Iango Henzi, the industry has witnessed a reintroduction of what we refer to as “iconic”…
LM: After 30 years of being in the business, I was not searching for a sense of “success” anymore because I’ve been blessed already by working with the greatest in the industry. I found myself when I met Iango and knew that my future would be in photography. What we are trying to reconstruct is the iconic sense of photography without tricks of heavy digital manipulation. We try to evoke the true nature of photography and keep a true sense of artisanal execution.
FM: What is your vision of a woman? And a man?
LM: She has to be intelligent, versatile, sensual, and extraordinary. Same for the man.
FM: Does history serve the future, in your opinion? What about in your work?
LM: Absolutely. It serves as knowledge and experience. You can re-elaborate and re-enter new codes of modernity.
FM: There is a real questioning of what people’s perception of beauty is today. What is beauty for you? What defines it?
LM: Beauty for me is anything that thrills and inspires me. In a much more defined way, beauty is able to produce work that highlights exceptional and noticeable grandeur. To get excited, and stay excited is a way to embrace and define beauty!
FM: After working in fashion for such a long time, what is your verdict?
LM: It’s everything and nothing at the same time: futile and deep when it is convenient but, at the end of the day, we all eat, we go to sleep, we enjoy, we are sad, we are happy and we bring all these sentiments to it. That is the world of fashion. Then it disappears again and recreates itself.
Courtesy of Dapper Dan Magazine © , Volume #12, released in October 2015
Cover photo courtesy of Luigi Murenu.
Born in 1964 in Sardinia in Italy, Luigi Murenu moved to Paris in 1983 in hopes of becoming a hair stylist. Working both in a professional hair salon as well as for magazines, the young stylist’s work in Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar attracted Madonna’s attention, in the start of a long collaboration between stylist and performer.
Since then, Luigi Murenu has become an internationally renowned stylist, working with celebrities such as Nicole Kidman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kate Moss, Cate Blanchett, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lopez, Janet Jackson, Drew Barrymore, Naomi Watts and Anne Hathaway.
Luigi Murenu’s designs moved over to the runway when he began to work with fashion designers, and his unique hair-styling was seen on the runway for Gucci, Yves Saint Laurent, Victor & Rolf, Giorgio Armani, Chloé, Givenchy, Prada, Helmut Lang, Cavalli, Gianfranco Ferre, Alessandro Dell’Aqua, Max Mara, Pucci, Ungaro and Blumarine. The hair stylist also signed onto advertising campaigns for Jil Sander, Helmut Lang, Louis Vuitton, Armani, Versace and Narciso Rodriguez. As for editorial work, Luigi Murenu has styled for Vogue Paris, Italy and US, as well as V and W.
Murenu is also known for his breathtaking photography along with Iango Henzi. The photo duo is known as Luigi and Iango.