Kevin Murphy | Out of Africa

Africa was such an amazing place it was my first time we went deep into the Kalahari desert to the edge of nowhere, there were only 3 colours in the landscape the soft blue of the sky the dried shrubs and the white sand of the salt pans. The colours of the landscape were amazing and simple the perfect place for a shoot. The cover was shot on the salt pans out the front of the camp it was super windy so it was lucky that I had the hairband in my bag, i had bought the hairband many years ago while i was living in New York and it went perfectly with the cover look, I had never had the chance to use it, luckily I never throw anything away.

 Shoot 1 – “Afrique C’est Chic”

We shot 2 stories while we were there one really fun an colourful using lots of turbans and head bands, its was great to create the turbans, I was really influienced by the local women and how they tied the turbans and I decided to create hair that was in the shape of a turban. All the plants were really bush like with lots of long sharp thorns, those long thorns were the inspiration for the hair that popped out of the turban. I first pulled the hair into a top knot then pulled bits out of the knot I used TEXTURE.MASTER  to define the spikes so that they were separate but together.


I always like to take a piece of my environment into the shoot I found these African necklaces in a store in Johannesburg and it gave the hair a sense of place. All the collections that are shown in the pictures were the “Resort Collections” of all the designers, resort is a quick flash of summer clothes that appear in the stores so people have some new summer clothes to take away on holidays, that meant the shoot had to say holiday. I removed the top knot and simply tied the hair into a big knot and looped the African necklaces over the knot and secured them by sewing them to the hair at the back. The hair looked so great all piled up high and it was super secure.


I love this Leopard dress it was by Dolce Gabbana, the dress being so tight but quite demure with a longer length and deliberatly high neck that keep you covered up but still super sexy. I kept the hair really flat at the sides so that it accomodate the scarves so the hair looked super high on top of Katie’s head, the atmosphere of the desert was really dry so I applied a bit of NIGHT.RIDER to the spikes to define them this really helped to give the spikes a waxy feel in the African sunlight, there was no problem with volume as it was so dry my only issue was keeping the hair moist and shiny, I did not want Katie’s hair to go matte or dull looking.


I love these Vionet hair clips they were beaded in African beads and the had the best grips on then they were super tight and you could really control the hair with them. The clips allowed me to pull the hair down at the front and create a fringe or bang with her hair that again used the idea of a turban by keeping the front of the hair flat. The star shape complimented the spikes of the hair and made my spikes make more sense, I tried to make the spikes look a bit like stars around the base of the bun. The TEXTURE.MASTER really helped me mould the hair and make it stay i would have been lost without it. I also found by adding a bit of EASY.RIDER to the spikes it softened the TEXTURE.MASTER and made it easy for me to come back and re-dress the hair between shots


In this shot you can really see the structure of the hair, you can make out the knot sitting underneath the spikes, without the scarves you can see how big the knot was and the tiny fringe that swoops over gives the hair a chic look so its not just all crazy hair with no form, the slick sides give the look a certain glamour and strength its all about putting hair up now and having a bit of a do.


SHOOT 2 – “Wild At Heart”


This was the cover story of the mag and the main reason for going, we went to a high end luxury camp that was all organic and had no phone, electricity or internet at first I was shocked as its hard to do the hair without turning on a hairdryer, my second thought was to embrace the fact that we had no power and I decided to attempt to do the shoot using no electricity. The location was no natural and calm, the eco system was so delicate and felt precious I didn’t want to disturb the mood that the wilderness by turning the camp into a salon with noisy hairdryers going off at 3am. I did the whole shoot without using one scrap of electricity and that made me feel good and i was up to the challenge. Who needs power when you got products.


Isabel Lucas is an australian actress and she had just finished the film the Immortals starring Mickey Rourke and John hurt, Isabel plays Athena. Her hair had been coloured for the role and it was an amazing colour the perfect contrast for the African desert. Her hair had become damaged from constant colouring, my prescription for her was BORN.AGAIN.WASH and BORN.AGAIN.MASQUE and hourly sprays of STAYING.ALIVE it took about 2 washes to plump up her hair and make it feel thick again. The only styling product that I used was MOTION.LOTION to define the ends.


Isabel has the kind of beauty that takes your breath away, it was really hard to stop staring at her. Each morning to prep the hair i applied the STAYING.ALIVE to her ends and mid-lengths. All the time brushing this through the hair with my smoothing brush, I found just by treating the hair and brushing it I could get the hair smooth. Once completed I used the smoothing brush to back brush the roots mid-lengths and ends of the hair to give it some texture, I brushed out about 60% of the teasing and left the roots teased and applied the MOTION.LOTION to the ends of her hair so it was dishevelled but defined.


It was really an amazing opportunity to go to Africa and do it all with respect to the environment, I was so proud of myself that i did not have to use any chemicals or electricity to achieve the looks, by using a wash and two treatments from the range i was able to revive Isabel’s hair back to life and get through 20 pages of editorial STAYING.ALIVE proved to be my best friend in the desert, it gave a plumpness to the hair and made it easy to manage all through the shoot.

Happy Holidays to everybody and I hope you enjoy looking at the shoot.


Kevin Murphy