Beauty Insider: Rebecca Brent of Willis York

We catch up with Rebecca Brent, owner of Wellington’s iconic Willis York salon and the winner of New Zealand Hairdresser of the Year at the last L’OrĂ©al Colour Trophy, about trends, her must-have hair saviours and how to save your tresses from the winter elements.

Tell us a little bit about what you’ve been up to since you were named New Zealand Hairdresser of the Year at the L’OrĂ©al Colour Trophy Awards.

It seems so long ago now. After winning the award I focused my attention on teaching L’OrĂ©al education because of my love of colour! This found me travelling internationally for L’OrĂ©al as well as nationally. I just want to live an inspiring life and help others along the way. I also did a lot of personal travel, being out of the salon really helps you gain perspective on what your point of difference is, and also makes you realise that what we do in NZ is right up there with the best overseas. This year I have had a major life turning point with my beautiful son heading off to art school in Dunedin so I have been concentrating on growing the next generation of superstar hairstylists. Getting two young Style & Colour Trophy colourist finalists out of ten means I must be doing something right. I have also had a sabbatical year from education to re-educate myself with overseas courses, creative work, learning photography, learning about flowers, and having the space to connect with my friends and travel more. I am a firm believer in always checking in with yourself but to lead others you must do so by example.

What exciting changes have you noticed happening in the industry over the past few years?

People are getting more adventurous with their colours. Hair products continue to get better for the environment and for humans. With the launch of a silent blowdryer, equipment is getting exciting to use, and this amazing invention will protect our precious hearing! A major one for me is the looming end to fast fashion, or at least people are becoming more aware of the transparency of a garment, it’s a start! Bespoke brands are making a big noise in our industry as they have the ability to change fast and attract a new type of renegade young slashie session stylist who are using the powerful internet as exposure, and creating their own brand. I am all about this and breed it in my salon. You want to work with young people who are curious about the world and have their fingers on the pulse, it is a major key to staying young yourself.

What are the three hair products you couldn’t live without? 

– Powder dust. I have the finest hair on the planet so this magic powder gives me volume especially for messy hair ups. I particularly like LOrĂ©al Professionnel Tecni.Art Super Dust.

– L’OrĂ©al Professionnel Infinium Hairspray ­ the go to for all my editorial work. It’s light but strong all at once. No one likes concrete hair.

– L’OrĂ©al Professionnel sĂ©rie expert Vitamino Color A.Ox Colour Radiance Protection; Perfecting Shampoo and Conditioner. If you are going to invest all that money into a hair colour then you just have to use the best haircare to protect it and make it last.


What advice can you give someone whose hair is suffering from exposure to the winter elements?

I always treat winter as a time to get hair back to condition after the harsh New Zealand summer. Book in for regular treatments with your stylist, take 40 minutes every couple of weeks to have a head massage and divine treatment and blow dry. Good for your soul and for your hair! Listen to your stylist, they know your hair probably better than you and have expert knowledge on what products are best for your hair. For me prevention is the cure. Protect and love your hair.

Are there any new and exciting colour and cut trends we should be considering?

Curls are back! So is the fringe, whether it’s a 90’s baby bang or a long French-esque ‘It Girl’ style. Braids of all shapes and sizes are always cool in my world and the 90’s continue to dominate hair looks especially the “home cut, don’t go to the hairdresser” look (even though a professional cuts it, kind of like the no makeup look). Even a super short shaved head for the brave is in this season. The lob will go back to a blunter cut but have a polished feel to it. It’s about finding what you love not following trends! Colours will be delicious and quite simple. Think hazelnut, rose quartz or opal tones, “ronze” (red and bronze tones), babylights and beautiful natural hair. A big one for me is natural grey. Cool girls are embracing this.

What are some quick ways to reinvent your hair without opting for a dramatic change in colour or length?

Cut a fringe if your hair allows, or change up your usual parting. Try wearing it wavy if it’s straight or straight if it’s curly. If you are blonde, get a coloured conditioner for opal tones that wash out the next day. Learn some hair up techniques, ask your stylist to show you what to do. There are only two tricks to hair ups, prepping the hair correctly and learning how to put a bobby pin in properly. It is up to you to change and try new things. A good colour and cut takes years off you and boosts your confidence.

Can you give us some clues as to what you think we should expect from this year’s competition?

Judging by the diversity of the finalists, not really! I have my favourites in this year’s competition and could be slightly biased to wavy hair and metallic bronze copper tone looks but the finalists are all so beautiful. It’s all so different and that’s the beauty of L’OrĂ©al colour, it is the best in the world, and it gives stylists the ability to create a myriad of colour on clients.


Rockstars, rappers and supermodels star in Marc Jacobs’ FW campaign

Hip hop artist Missy Elliott and alternative rockers Marilyn Manson and Courtney Love are just a handful of the eclectic line-up of celebrities featured in Marc Jacobs’ new winter campaign. The American fashion designer revealed the weird and wonderful faces of the quirky campaign on his Instagram account along with lengthy stories explaining the inspiration each muse has fuelled him with over the years. Take a look at some of the shots below.

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CARA, Womanchild Every once in a blue moon I am fortunate enough to meet a model with a personality so huge it almost overshadows even the strongest of looks– the most dramatic fashion. When I met Cara through Katie Grand a few years ago, she was the girl in the animal onesie with boundless energy, great humor and in perpetual motion. Watching Cara’s growth and evolution into a dynamic, outspoken, independent woman is a true joy, just as she is herself. Her generosity and care in wanting to get a job done right (even if it means missing a flight!) is a testament to her professionalism and true character. Photographed sitting still and just as full of life as always, the unstoppable Cara Delevingne by David Sims for our Fall ’16 ad campaign.

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COURTNEY, R(evolution) With my abundance of respect for Courtney Love’s musical contributions to grunge/rock culture and her status as this sort of, Grunge Goddess, it was her mesmerizing and extraordinarily moving portrayal of Althea in the film, The People vs Larry Flynt that simultaneously broke my heart and won my love. While I hadn’t yet met Courtney during my time as Creative Director at Perry Ellis, it was her then style that had a great influence on that now infamous “grunge collection” show in 1992. Courtney and I (and a then 2 or 3 year old Frances Bean) first met at dinner with Anna Sui in 1994 at Bar Six in NYC. I remember being quite taken by her deep, thorough knowledge of and voracious appetite for fashion and music. There has always been a genuine allure about Courtney that I continue to admire. The way she’d scream her lyrics from that gash of a red mouth to the hard rocking, wailing sounds of Hole. She was then and remains now, for me, the ultimate divine mess in a dress. Gone but no where near forgotten is the girl-woman Goddess of Grunge in her too small tattered dresses, the little girl barrette in her messy, scattered hair and beaten up brocade 1960’s evening shoes. It’s a long distance from the now iconic kinder-whore Courtney photographed by Juergen Teller for I-D magazine in 1994 to the movie star glamour of the powerfully aloof and infinitely present Courtney, photographed here by David Sims for our Fall ’16 campaign.

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MANSON, Brains and Beauty Ironically, I met Marilyn Manson on Halloween in Los Angeles shortly after the release of his album, Antichrist Superstar in 1996. It was after meeting him that I started listening to his music- in large part because I was intrigued by his persona and curious about his perverse and incredible intellect. The Beautiful People and its accompanying music video with all its gorgeous grotesqueries is what sweet dreams are NOT made of
 The incredibly powerful and frenetic pace of the video with the attenuated and elongated Manson pulled, disfigured and contorted by means of surgical devices, dental apparatuses and other contraptions is absolutely nightmare inducing and an outrageously captivating attraction of repulsion. For our Fall 2011 fashion show, there was no better song to send the girls marching down our boudoir comme insane-asylum runway than, The Beautiful People. It was the perfectly twisted companion for that collection which played at a volume that nearly shook the walls down. In direct contrast to the outward hideous beauty of Manson’s stage persona is his instinctive, inherent intelligence and understanding of what matters. These days more so than ever I am reminded of Manson’s interview in the documentary film, Bowling for Columbine and his response to a question asking what he would say to the kids and Columbine community in the wake of the tragedy that took place in 1999. His response was, “I wouldn’t say a single word to them. I would listen to what they have to say, and that’s what no one did.” Sometimes knowing when to listen is more important than being heard, and in one sentence Manson left a stronger impression on me than his music ever had previously. Marilyn Manson photographed by David Sims for our Fall 2016 ad campaign.

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