It’s a beautiful thing when art and charity collide. With Noodled, a photographic study of beauty inspired by nature, hairstylist and Oribe global ambassador James Pecis does just that. All proceeds of the limited-edition hardcover tome, which explores the parallels of nature and hair by juxtaposing colorful images of the ocean with black-and-white portraits of tresses, will be donated to Mission Blue, a charity that inspires action to protect the ocean. At the Noodled launch party, Launchpad sat down with Pecis, the man behind the hair, to discuss the concept, collaboration and the importance of giving back. Read on to find out more.
Launchpad: What sparked the idea to create Noodled?
Pecis: Kimberely Norcott [the concept, art director and book designer] was pushing me to do a book that would connect beauty in nature with the beauty that we find in hair. Water seemed like the most obvious way for me to connect that because water naturally moves in different ways that is very similar to hair.
Launchpad: How so?
Pecis: Water is always trying to find a crack and trying to move. If it runs into something it pushes into a swirl or a curl. So there’s lots of connections with water and hair. It’s really fun.
Launchpad: Is there anything else that drew you to the water theme?
Pecis: Most of the time these ideas were being planted when we were on vacation at the ocean. That's my happy place. I love being in the water and at the ocean just as many people do.
But then this became more [of a passion project for charity]. I have a job and I make good money so the idea became to create a book where all the proceeds would go to a charity. Kim and I have basically done everything ourselves because we're trying to give the most amount we can to charity, which is the point. If you start dealing with distributors and getting help in other ways then you lose money for the charity.
Launchpad: So was your main mission to give back?
Pecis: I think a lot of people right now are questioning what's going on in the world and [want to know] what we can be doing. I work in the fashion industry which is an awesome and fun place to be but sometimes I question, what else can I be doing? How can I make an impact in some way?
Launchpad: What led you to choose Mission Blue as the charity for this book?
Pecis: It was a really awesome connection. There was a documentary about the founder of Mission Blue, Sylvia Earle—she’s probably the leading deep sea diver in the world. The documentary is so inspiring with what she's accomplished in her life. [In fact,] she was speaking at the UN today because today is actually World Oceans Day.
Launchpad: Was the launch party planned to coincide with World Oceans Day?
Pecis: No, it wasn't planned but that's pretty awesome! In her documentary she has a quote that says [something to the affect of:] everyone has a talent and everyone can apply themselves. She basically says, figure out what you can do and figure out how you can apply that for [for the greater good].
Launchpad: In the back of the book there is a section on ways people can get involved and give back. As a stylist, do you think it’s important for other stylists to get involved in charity work?
Pecis: As the world continues to overpopulate and we address some major issues that aren’t going away, I think everyone needs to get involved. There’s plenty of [ways people] can get involved. When you’re choosing a charity, pick what speaks the loudest to you. That’s really important because there’s so many out there.
Launchpad: Your hair designs are so strikingly similar to the pictures of the ocean. How did whole collaborating process work?
Pecis: The artist from Australia [Ben Bugden] sent us an archive of [ocean] pictures, which we whittled down. We created a mood board and conceptualized different hair ideas that could possibly fit with the different images [of the ocean]. A lot of time went into planning that but we also wanted a lot of it to be organic. Our amazing casting director from London [Shelley Durkan cast] some very cool, young kids. We shot everything in two days in London. They were very fast, long days. We were pulling the kids to set, giving them haircuts and styling their hair. After [the shoot], on a surf trip to Costa Rica, we covered an entire wall with all of the images and started editing them and then we paired the portraits [of the hair] by Paul Wetherell with the pictures of the ocean. Some of the styles are literal and some of them are more abstract. The book has 36 spreads in it so it’s nice that some of them are a little more abstract.
Launchpad: With the models that were cast, were you looking for specific hair textures?
Pecis: No, we were trying to keep it diverse because there were connections with all types of hair. To be honest it was such a fun project to do because of all of the connections. There’s even some real macro close-ups.
Launchpad: Why are the ocean pictures colored and the portraits black-and-white?
Pecis: [We decided on] black-and-white so there would be a really stark contrast between the ocean pictures and the portraits. Paul is a beautiful portrait photographer and his black-and-whites are amazing. But even the ocean pictures aren’t as hyper-real as a lot of photography is today. The reason we picked [Bugden] is because he took beautiful pictures of the water and didn’t put crazy curves on them or make them extreme.
Launchpad: What’s the meaning behind the tome’s moniker?
Pecis: Noodled is a term for when your arms are tired after a surfing session.
Launchpad: Are you a surfer?
Pecis: I’m a novice surfer. But I love it!
Launchpad: Were there any star products you used from Oribe’s lineup?
Pecis: I used pretty much everything! There were planned ideas of things so I needed to hit those but there was also a lot of organic flow. One of my favorite pictures is of a guy we saved till the end because I didn’t know what to do with him. But then it became my favorite picture.
Launchpad: Which picture is that?
Pecis: It’s of a kid who looks like a Russian gymnast. His hair has a little flip, which was a natural thing in his hair. It was really subtle but it matched up [perfectly] with the picture of the water.
Launchpad: Natch there are a few beachy looks in the book. Any advice you can offer to those looking to create beachy texture?
Pecis: Get in the ocean. It creates the best hair! The best way to color your hair is to go on vacation and spend time in the sun at the beach.
Nab your very own copy of the book at accidentalism.com!
[Images by Molly Church]