“Why is hair so emotional?”A freshly cut Isabella Manfredi recently asked on Instagram. Sitting in Anthony Nader’s chair, Manfredi’s hair – long, hirsute and unequivocally part of her brand – had been lopped off. Here she was; short, shaggy and different. It was a Manfredi we’d never seen before, nor had she for a very long time: “First time I’ve had short hair since I was three years old.”
Such a material entity, and yet it can stir a mixture of varying emotion; a simple change can be momentous or disastrous in one quick snip. Mood changes. Attitude changes. Feelings change. It’s an affect on the human psyche which is quite bizarre, considering the superficiality of it all. It’s hair. So what. But for some existential reasoning, a shift in one’s hair, albeit even a slight one, can render monumental mood change and a conflict of identity. At the end, it all comes down to identity, and when that is challenged, altered or hacked (very literally) our state of self is rocked to the core.
With that, Isabella has never felt “so free.” Here’s to freedom and hair cuts, and “feeling fucking fantastic.”
HOW DID IT ALL COME ABOUT – THE BIG CHOP?
BUT YOU CAN ALSO TELL IF SOMEONE ISN’T READY?
SO WHAT EXACTLY DID YOU DO TO ISABELLA’S HAIR?
YOU KNOW HOW IT WAS QUITE HEAVY ON THE TOP, WAS THAT DELIBERATE?
That’s so deliberate, that’s so funny that you point that out because we wanted it top-heavy, but on one side, I actually cut a shorter panel just through that section on top, so if she’s on stage and she wants to put her hands through it, she’s got this kind of disconnected texture on top, but she’s still got that heaviness through the front. That’s also the way I cut it. I over-directed everything, I cut all the underneath section first, and the top section, the big horseshoe shape, so when the hair would fall naturally, you’d get these longer pieces veiling over the shorter pieces. It’s a little bit technical, but if I was to cut it “normally” it could look too commercial, and that’s not Izzy. That’s why I disconnected the top doing a horseshoe shape so she’s got that versatility to play with.
WHY DO YOU THINK HAIR IS SO EMOTIONAL?
Because hair is confidence. Hair is your trademark. Hair is what people identify you for. I’ll tell you something really interesting, I was watching the Princess Diana documentary the other night, and Andrew Morton asked her about her divorce and at what point did she feel better. And I swear to God I got goose bumps, Diana said: When Sam (McKnight) cut my hair off. No amount of money can pay for that publicity. Sam McKnight just won gold. Even though all us industry insiders know who Sam McKnight is and know that he cut Diana’s hair, but to have Diana say that, about her hair, that is just next level, that makes everything so relevant to everyday. You don’t need to be a princess. You can be a housewife in Darwin, you can be a housewife in Point Piper, it doesn’t matter. Hair is the difference, and hair will either give you the most amount of confidence, or, after a bad haircut or colour, it can completely crush your confidence.