Exclusively Fashion Magazine











Wendy is literally a jet setter, who is a sought after and well respected hair stylist.  She has worked with the best in the business. Fashion photographer Rankin as even stated; "If you see ad campaigns for beauty brands 9 out of 10 Wendy's done one of them.  She makes hair do anything she wants."  Wendy has worked with top fashion magazines such as; Vogue Italian, French, and British. Harpers Bazaar, i-D, ELLE US and French.  She has also styled hair for celebrities such as; Cate Banchett, Dianne Kruger, Penelope Cruz, Salma Hayek and Eva Longoria.

Exclusively Fashion Magazine: Can you tell me in detail how your career began?

Wendy Iles: My career began as a freelance hairdresser by accident really.  I was one of few in Sydney who had the Sassoon training.  It was not long after my return from London and my Sassoon days that I was contacted by Australian Vogue to do the hair on one of their fashion series.  Up until that time I was working in a salon, so had no idea what it even meant to go out and do hair on a photo shoot!  I must have worked ok, because I received numerous requests from Australian Vogue and other top Sydney magazines, so much so that I eventually became freelance.  From there it was a quick accent to NY and then eventually to Paris.   Today I work and reside between London, Paris, and NY.

EFM: What gives you inspiration?

WI: My eyes are searching all the time for inspiration.  I visit art galleries, art exhibitions, museums, watch old and new movies, but mostly I watch streets in the cities I'm travelling in London, Tokyo and downtown LA are my favorite source's of inspiration.  The kids on the streets have such edgy individual style.

EFM: Can you describe your work ethic?

WI: Old school and professional.  Work fast and efficiently, as time is money.  I like to be completely prepared for each job.  This is not always possible as information is sometimes not available until on set, but I always try and pack extra hair or some back up wigs just in case of an emergency of some kind.  Once I had a job where the models hair had all broken off after she had been casted by a color she put in herself.  My heart skipped a beat when I saw her hair, as we were shooting for a hair campaign.  My back up hair reserves saved that day for me and my client.

EFM: What are some of your favorite hair products you personally like to use on your hair?

WI: For some years now I have been using my own products that I have made to measure my needs.  These I will be launching to the public next year.

EFM: Have you always wanted to be a hair stylist (working on campaigns, fashion shows and editorials)?

WI: This business found me, I didn't go looking for it, but now that I know it, I couldn't imagine doing anything else.  I love my job with passion.  I dream about hair!

EFM: What do you think it takes to become a successful hair stylist?

WI: Be passionate, dedicated and professional, listen to your client's needs, adapt each style your create to the personage you are working on.

 EFM: What are some of your tips to maintaining fresh and healthy hair?

WI: Choice of shampoo and conditioner is extremely important.  That's why I created my own.  Finding the right products for your hair is the best start to a beautiful hair day.  Even if growing your hair, trim the ends every 6 to 8 weeks.  This will stop split ends settling in.  I rarely use hairspray, never on myself and I find when I'm working on set I can create a hairstyle that's stays perfectly all day long even after a 16 hour shoot day if I don't use spray.

EFM: So far, what has been the highlight of you career?

WI: Having a book published on my European archives was pretty amazing.  The Berlin Publisher was Printkultur.  They did a beautiful book on my work that makes me grateful and proud.  A 20 page preview of the book can be viewed on www.wendyiles-hairbook.com.

As far as jobs go, I'd say working with movie director Martin Scorsese on a film for Chanel was a special moment.  It's rare in the fashion business to work alongside movie directors of his caliber, so this remains a special job for me.

EFM: What are some of your favorite things about working in this industry?

WI: Trips to wonderful locations all around the world, first class hotels, excellent restaurants, meeting fascinating and creative people, what's there not to like.

EFM: What is the best thing you love about working in the fashion industry?

WI: I appreciate all my jobs, but do have a special affection for haute couture each season.  It's taught me a lot about couture and the people who create it.  These clothes are amazing to see close up.  I have great respect.  The closest I've come to haute couture was my Dior wedding dress.  The feeling of wearing that dress has never left me.

EFM: What advice can you give to aspiring hair stylists?

WI: The best advice these days would be to find the best person to study under whether in a salon or as a freelancer.  To be a freelancer anyway it's best of course if you are firstly fully trained as a hairdresser.  The next important step as a freelancer is to find the right agent.  Having an agent who is motivated and believes in you is the key.  They can move mountains with these two ingredients.  "The London Style Agency" where I am represented in London is a great agency.  I especially like the 'one on one' contact I have with my agent who is also the owner of the agency.  So many great artists I've seen have become blocked and don't work because they have the wrong agent, this is especially something to think about when starting out.  Prove your worth not only to your client but also your agent.  Undertake every job as new challenge.  Listen to the needs of your clients, read your briefs thoroughly and always give the best that you can deliver.

Interview by Rochell “E” James


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