The work of Charlie le Mindu is at once fashionable, edgy, erotic, and surreal.
Le Mindu’s “Gold Sabah” collection, though first revealed while clad atop gold-painted women during Fashion Week Paris and Berlin, is now presented at projects+gallery. Straddling the line between high fashion and contemporary sculpture, le Mindu has pioneered the use of human hair as a medium to create what he has dubbed “haute coiffure.” The works featured in “Golden Sabah” were meticulously assembled through a process in which Charlie dipped each piece of natural hair into a genuine golden paint, creating a metallic effect that underscores the fascination le Mindu holds for the illustrious Queen of Sheba, whose female power served as inspiration for the collection. Equally prominent African influences surface within the mask-like shapes of the sculptures, emulating the traditional African tribal masks and hair styling that le Mindu witnessed while travelling to Africa.
Feminine strength also serves as the conceptual base for le Mindu’s collection, “Metal Queen”, a series of wigs and costumes whose forms derive from both the swank of Canadian metal and jazz as well as female icons whose strength Charlie admires. Charlie elaborates on these influences, stating that “These strong women who are a little afraid of men have made an impression on me, such as Nina Hagen, Grace Jones, or again, Rossy de palma.” The edgy, black and white contrasted figures of “Metal Queen” feature what Charlie has more delicately nicknamed “hair petals”, or sleek forms created by smoothing the hair utilizing lacquer product.
Charlie utilized similar techniques for his “Stronger” collection, an amalgam of phosphorescent hairpieces inspired by the existence of deep-sea creatures. The collection gives off a nearly retro vibe, as it fills a dark room with the glowing colors and forms reminiscent of a vibrant 70s disco. A jellyfish sporting a neon ombré stands alongside a spunky mohawk hairpiece, with the winding, outreached arms of a crab next door. DS World Paris saw the debut of “Stronger” in 2014, as well as a showing of the “Gold Sabah” collection. Both collections, as well as “Metal Queen”, are now on show at projects+gallery.