The Color Purple Hairstylist Breaks Down Fantasia’s Look


courtesy of Lawrence Davis

Nominated for over 10 awards after releasing on Christmas, The Color Purple (2023) is the modern remake of an American masterpiece. And behind the scenes, hair and makeup played a pivotal role in how the classic unfolded. “The opportunity presented itself to me about two and a half, maybe three years ago,” The Color Purple Hair Department Head, Lawrence Davis tells ESSENCE. 

After receiving a call from the film’s producer, the Emmy award-winning hairstylist was invited by Oprah Winfrey– who he’s worked with while on set for Oprah’s Master Class– to head the historical film’s remake. “This was different for me because it was the remake of The Color Purple. It was one of those projects that I’ll remember for the rest of my life,” he says. “I loved seeing all these beautiful people of color come together and create a beautiful story.” 

Below, Davis breaks down the key hair moments throughout the gorgeous remake.

Behind The Color Purple’s hairstyling

“The process of building the hair looks for each character is definitely knowing the story,” he says. “A lot of people don’t realize that hair and makeup and other departments have to read the script just like the actors do.” Reading into the intention behind the hairstyles– which at times were battered and at other times, glorious– is key to Davis’ execution. “We have to know if that character is in the shower or if they’re running in the rain,” he says. It’s not just a last minute decision where we say, “oh, we’ll spray it down.”

And, in part, the team effort is key. “It’s knowing the story and collaborating with the actor to create the character so [they’re] 100% comfortable in that wig or in that makeup or in that costume,” he says, while ensuring to maintain the integrity of the time period. He also thinks about “if they’re a well-groomed character, if they’re scraggly, or if they’re just not that person who takes care of their hair.” Every detail, from reading the script to learning the character’s demographic and financial background, played into Davis’ hairstyling for the characters.

The Color Purple Hair Stylist Breaks Down Fantasia’s Look

All about Celie’s look

As for his favorite hairstyle? Celie’s glamorous look. “We never get to see that in the original movie,” he says. “We never knew in any of the past stories that Celie imagined seeing herself coming down the Grand Stairway and singing with an orchestra behind her and just looking like this beautiful, glamorous woman in the 1930s and ’40s.” In the 2023 version, he found Fantasia’s character was able to mature more, which is represented through a glamorized hairstyle and the amount of gray hairs she had by the end.

Pinning her in a successful light, “I wanted to bring forth having Celie well groomed. She’s a grandmother, she gets her grandchildren back, she gets her sister back, and we see her as a beautiful Black woman who’s well put together,” he says. Most rewarding to Davis was having the hair reflect Celie’s feelings of, “I’ve overcome and I’ve gotten to a better place in life,” he says. “That definitely was one of my favorite looks to do on Fantasia.” 

The key products used

Kalixto B Hair Wellness is a brand that I use on a lot of my natural wigs and the natural hair themselves,” he says, specifically using the styling foam and balm. Additionally, Davis would douse the hair in Mielle products to help it retain moisture while shooting in the heat of a Georgian summer. “We were down in Savannah and up against the extreme heat, lots of bugs and things like that.”


Source link

We will be happy to hear your thoughts

Leave a reply