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Entertainment

Fashion Studio - Charlie Le Mindu

You have to be pretty special if you wanna wear one of his wigs without looking like a posh art student who got fucked over in a Dalston weave shop.
Jamie Clifton
London, GB
August 16, 2012, 8:00am

Charlie Le Mindu is an ex-hairdresser who got bored of cutting pre-existing hair, so started making his own. His trade now is in crafting the kind of avant-garde wigs and headwear that only world-famous popstars, models and cabaret acts can pull off without looking like a posh art student who got fucked over in a Dalston weave shop.

You might know him as the guy who enjoys sending models off down the catwalk completely starkers, adorned only with one of his wigs and lashings of blood. Or, if you're dangerously obsessed with Lady Gaga (I'm looking at you, 45-year-old guy with "Gagapedia" set as your homepage), perhaps you know his name from the numerous wigs he's designed for her. Or maybe you're his postman. Or his next-door neighbour. Or his stalker. Who am I to tell you where you know him from?

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I visited Charlie in his studio above an East London tattoo shop, for a chat and a nose around all his past work and Cher memorabilia.

"I think Cher would be my perfect client. Her hair is always amazing, obviously, but it's more that I'm a huge fan of plastic surgery, and Cher is all plastic. My mum has had loads of surgery and I've always been fascinated by it because it's a form of body modification – just like tattoos and piercings – which is something I love. I've already had a little bit of botox, but if I was to get any surgery, I think I'd get some ab-implants or have some ribs removed."

"This was for a collection I did in Paris last year, and I know it looks like a dildo, but there's actually a motor in there, which makes the models' plaits spin round and round. The show was at the Crazy Horse in Paris, which is a strip-show, but it's not a cheap one – it's a really amazing, classy one – and I had one of the girls from there modelling the collection, which was nice."

"Someone got me these Britney matryoshka dolls as a present. It's funny, even though I work with a lot of popstars, I don't like pop music at all – I'm just doing it for the money. I mean, it can be fun sometimes, like doing stuff for Gaga is OK. She'll call me up and say, "Oh, I need something black and hairy," then I'll send a few drawings to Nicola [Formichetti, Gaga's stylist] and we go from there. That kind of thing is a lot of fun."

"The collection that this is from was inspired by the hair and beauty industry, so we made three pieces completely out of fake nails. Each nail was sewn on one by one, and we had 30,000 on this catsuit, 30,000 on the dress and about 40,000 on all the accessories. God, it took a long time to do."

"I start every piece I make by drawing everything out, and the idea has to be fully realised before I start actually working on it. I travel a lot for references – eastern Europe is a massive inspiration – and my parents are gypsies, so I travel a lot in the gypsy community. If I come up with an idea while I'm travelling, I'll leave myself a voicemail with the idea, then I draw everything out when I get home."

"I tattoo myself quite often and get my friends to tattoo me as well. I got 'Gypsi King' tattooed on my eyelids, which was really uncomfortable because the lady doing it had to put spoons under my eyelids so she didn't blind me."

"That's another one of the Cher reference points I have dotted around my studio, then I've got this Grease Barbie, too, which I love. Grease is one of my favourite films, and I always fancied John Travolta when he was younger, so that's kind of an inspiration, I suppose."

"I think Mari Sarai has to be one of my favourite photographers of all time. I love the way she makes the girls look – it's always very fun and sexy, but completely natural looking at the same time."

"I absolutely love this magazine. It's only just had its second issue – this one, in fact – but I love it already. It's a gay magazine and Jean Paul Gaultier is the creative director, which means all of the styling in it is just incredible, obviously."

"The wig on the left is one I made for a recent issue of LOVE. They shot a photo of me wearing it, but I look really weird. I kind of look like a lesbian, even though I have a moustache."

"I never wear any of these sunglasses any more, they've just become an installation of my past. I always find the best sunglasses in Mexico City – they had the glasses with the holograms inside them ten years before London did. It's my favourite city in the world."

Charlie Le Mindu's website is here and you can follow him on Twitter: @charlielemindu.  

Follow Jamie on Twitter: @jamie_clifton

Previously: Fashion Studio – William Richard Green