21 April 2024

Estetica’s Tell the Tale: Paul Wilson, American Crew Global Artistic Director

American Crew’s elite International All-Stars educator team could only be directed by someone with even bigger shoes than the ones they fill.

This is why, under the guidance of Theri DeJoode, American Crew Global Technical Director, and Paul Wilson, American Crew Global Artistic Director, the All-Stars Educator Team learned of the brand’s 2017 men’s cutting/styling collection, ‘Americana’, which was unveiled for the first time to the 46 international hair artists that arrived last month at American Crew’s Miami studio located in Wynwood. We spoke with Paul Wilson about ‘Americana’ and his experience as the educator of educators when it comes to the world of men’s grooming.

How is your work dynamic with someone like Theri DeJoode, who you have worked with for years?
Theri and I have been working together for so long that you have a kind of symbiosis whereas the artistic director, I work on concept, come up with the theme of the collection. Then she comes and takes up the concept for the whole technical story to it. I show her and describe to her how I would go about and she expands on it with a more technical approach. Globally it has a very cohesive look. I end up drawing and sketching a lot and then she puts her mind to it, making sure that all the technical methods make sense for the buildup mechanism. The ‘Americana’ collection is more about the physics of hair and the secondary shape components, so we turned it on its head a little bit.”

Could you describe, in your own words, the new American Crew Collection, ‘Americana’?
So, it has evolved a bit since we did that ‘Texas’ segment during the Style Masters Show Paris last year and that is really what has spawned this collection. We love the hair getting longer, we love these 90s influences that you are starting to see, we love the anti-grooming message that was tied to that. So we based it on this grittier, lived-in quality that we were seeing in men’s hair. We wanted to cultivate that so that’s really where it came from. At its most specific reference point that whole idea that when you look at River Phoenix at ‘My own private Idaho’, where his hair was this perfectly lived in shape that still had an intentionally carefree styling – so we wanted to make a collection that was built on that.”

What was the energy like at the ‘Americana’ photoshoot with David Raccuglia? I understand it was an amazing one!
It was an amazing experience. These six haircuts tell a story because they represent a state of mind. The technique is a means to a very specific end, but this is more about technique that broadens the mind of the stylists, and gets them to go in and create movement, texture, support. Getting all the textural components intact before you start thinking about cutting the primary shape of the haircut. So that’s where it’s been a challenge for the team and they’re loving it. It’s refreshing because it is the exact opposite of all the meticulous barbering that have come in the past.”

How much of a challenge is it to conceive a collection from the US, and then bringing that overseas?
I don’t find it to be a challenge at all because when you look at European culture, men’s hair, Asia… I feel like other cultures outside America understand how to wear long hair better than the American culture. So we’re having a moment where we’re having to pull from retro images and films of the past for inspiration to new trends. If you’re living in America and wearing your hair longer, well, there’s really no clarity on how to do that well, so we want to bring a method, concept and intention to do that. Whereas in Europe, this idea is already embraced there.”

What is unique about the educational plans of the new Master of Men’s Grooming (MMG) curriculum, what makes it special?
It encapsulates everything that is great with American Crew in a very easy to deliver and easy to teach format. I think that a lot of times what you had with primary shape, people were at a rudimentary level, just to understand the very basics of men’s hair. I think we have spread that message enough. With MMG we have an online, very simple teaching platform. We have 10 haircuts with cutting alterations, so we have taken these haircuts and shown them an ability to take a sole haircut and make it more extreme. What we don’t want to do is pigeon-hole people into thinking that this is the way that hair has to be cut. Take the same haircut and make it whatever you need for the client. I think this collection shows a very cool way to do that.”

Stay tuned for the American Crew ‘Americana’ collection coming next January 2017


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