Interview with Colette Malouf Part 1

Where did you get your inspiration from for your Spring hair accessory collection? I have been collecting beautiful shells from beaches around the world and thought that the concept of a mermaid wearing these treasures in her hair was a story I could tell. It demonstrates the power a woman has expressing herself through her hair.

You have had this company since 1987, so how do you manage to keep each collection different from the last?

That is certainly a long time, isn’t it?! I am a visual storyteller and love to do it in a three dimensional way. I express my stories through colour, textures, treatments and styling thus always having something new to share.

How did you decide that you wanted to be a hair accessory designer? I started designing on the wave of a big trend. In 1986 Karl Lagerfeld began designing for Chanel and put huge bows on the models of his first show. My cousin proposed that we make hair accessories because of that trend and my first design was gathered silk velvet on an elastic. I put off the project while trying to find my career focus but then saw my design in a magazine under the name “Scunci.” It immediately triggered me to abandon the job search and start making my own collection. Within a month I had yet another invention I called the “Malouf Pouf” (a Juliette sleeve for the ponytail), which sold 100,000 units in the first year.

What is it about hair accessories that sparked your interest? I like the styling aspect of working with hair to transform a look. I always design with the idea of creating shape around the face.

How would you describe your average customer? She is an intelligent, sophisticated, adventurous culture seeker who values integrity in everything she does. She has a strong sense of self and can be a chameleon—adjusting to varied situations and environments. She does not hesitate to spend money on things that are made well and are conceptual. If she finds it interesting, she adds it to her collection, which is a personal and individual expression.

What effect do you think hair accessories have on person’s appearance? An accessory adds colour and light and calls attention to the hair. The right accessory worn in an fresh way makes a woman look sophisticated and polished.

You have now expanded into costume jewellery, so where do you find inspiration for that? Is it a separate creative process from when you’re designing for women’s hair? I treat the entire collection as one story to tell and take into consideration a woman’s overall look and what silhouettes she would need to express herself.

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