Photographer Mikkel Russel
Hair Søren Bach | Tomorrow Management
Make-up Sidsel Marie Bøg | Tomorrow Management
Model Anne R. | Elite
Opposites attract – so the saying goes. And in many ways that is exactly what Søren Bach lives by.
The world-renowned hair stylist and milliner is originally trained as a hairdresser and got a job in the Copenhagen hair salon Monroe, which has trained some of the best hairdressers in Denmark over the years. But for Søren, it has always been the case that creativity couldn’t bloom unless he kept feeding it with new angles and impressions.
When he moved to London in 2004, it was to work as a hair stylist rather than a hairdresser and when he made contact with The London School of Design and helped them style hair for graduate shows, among other things, he discovered a renewed love for studying. Feeling an urge to grow even further, he applied for an MA degree in millinery at Royal College of Art in London, which only accepts two new students a year.
It would soon prove to be the turning point in his life. Here he could finally apply the artistic aspect that he loved so much from hairdressing and combine it with the very traditional artisanal discipline of millinery. He dyes and cuts fur as if it were hair and shapes hair on models as if he were putting hats on them. And it works.
Søren has this unique combination, which is why his work is sought after around the world. And yet he would not want to be without his hair styling jobs in between his milliner jobs and sometime it’s almost a relief for him to get a commercial job where everything is defined in advance.
”In the commercial jobs, the style has already been defined and even though I’m passionate about art, it’s also good to supplement it with fixed boundaries once in a while. Luckily most people want the artistic side of me where I’m given free hands to create something. But this also implies a huge pressure because of the expectations”, says Søren.
It is apparent that he is passionate about art but at the same time he is also passionate about the craftsmanship. And when I ask him exactly what goes into the process of creating a hat from a piece of fur or leather, he quickly goes into detail and apologises for the fact that it can be very difficult to explain. As is the case now. While talking, he is putting the last finishing touches on a number of full grain leather masks for Danish designer Anne Sofie Madsen’s next fashion show.
”The leather is fashioned into a pattern and I shape and put it together like a puzzle which forms a whole. Each hat takes at least a week and not just an average full-time work-week”, he explains. He also says that many new processes have to be tested for this project since it’s the first time he works with full grain leather.
”Everyone can learn the techniques. But it is the combination of having ideas on how you can in fact use the craftsmanship. I’m the architect, the engineer and the artisan all at the same time. But the artist as well because much of what I do is not that functional but rather has a significant aesthetic value”, he says.
What Søren is capable of is achieving a special combination of art and craftsmanship, which is one of these instances where opposites attract. And when they work, they work really well. It’s an almost old-fashioned approach to craftsmanship from back in the day when artisans didn’t just put boards up on the walls, but actually spent quite a while on carvings and embellishment, which Søren has combined with a special avant-garde approach.
”The pieces I design you can’t really wear. But it’s interesting to think of how everyone used to wear hats and how millinery was once divided into several branches. But with our lifestyles and current fashion trends, there is really no place for hats anymore”. (…)