Beauty Decoder

Beauty Decoder:Animal-Print Hair

Hannah Johnson mixes lion’s courage with lamb-y softness for safari-inspired strands


Our monthly columnist, wearing Missoni, at Snob boutique in Toronto.
Photography by Norman Wong

Inspiration beauty decoder marchOutsized, jaguar-printed bouffants: the second I spied them gliding down the runway at Jean Paul Gaultier’s fall couture show, I wondered, Could I? Should I? Then, when zebra stripes over side-swept tresses showed up at Rodarte’s spring outing, channelling the Serengeti and the super-stylized Rodeo Drive of Pretty Woman at the same time, I knew I had to try my own wild style.

My imagination travelled to the strength and exoticism of 1960s supermodel Veruschka. The Prussian countess turned mannequin created some of history’s most iconic fashion imagery,which you can browse in Veruschka: From Vera to Veruschka (Rizzoli, $75, out this month). With her penetrating gaze and six-foot physique, she often posed alongside—or subbed in for—majestic creatures, wearing fur pelts or animal-print body paints. My spotted, low-slung ponytail captures a hint of that arty aristo vibe, without the catwalk outlandishness of stiff gel and towering beehives. If Veruschka taught me anything, it’s that a little ferocity goes a long way.


decoder11. Brush hair into a deep side part and flatiron to create a smooth canvas. Use a flexible plastic airbrush stencil designed for body painting to create the leopard spots.

decoder 2

2. If you have dark hair, mist a dry cosmetic sponge with white, spray- on temporary hair colour; if you’re a blonde, try black. Hold the stencil flat against your hair and sponge the colour on.


3. Keep patting until you achieve the desired result. Next, protect your handiwork from smudging with hairspray. Finally, tie it into a casual ponytail at the nape of your neck.


The Buys: Istencils Bad Ass Mini Stencil 1002 (leopard), $5; Kryolan Color Spray in White, $10; Kerastase Lacque Couture Hairspray, $36