‘Apollinaire’ by Nadia Semanic
2018 AHFA Avant Garde Finalist
High art meets high fashion as Avant Garde sovereign Nadia Semanic enters a new
epoch with her collection Apollinaire. Paying reverence to artist Pablo Picasso, and
stylistically saluting Dutch designers Viktor and Rolf, Semanic maintains total respect
for artistry whilst revealing a firm grasp of Haute Couture. In a similar vein to her
fashion muse’s SS:16 collection, sculpture and abstraction are key themes, whilst
superior craftsmanship is unequivocally apparent. In what might be deemed her
boldest collection to date, there is no doubt that a vein of originality runs deep
through this young stylist, a true inventor and pioneer for Avant Garde Hairdressing.
Having embarked on a marathon six-month preparation period, Semanic confirms
that this collection led her to grow as an Avant Garde Artist and take a very poignant
stylistic turn. “Historically I have chosen to work with organic textures and whilst I
always have a strong concept in mind, I have allowed the finish to be quite fluid.
This collection was very bold and deliberate. I could not deviate from the anatomy of
each look, as every composition relied heavily on a precise structural build.”
Mimicking the progression of surrealism observed at V&R’s show, Semanic’s series
of six images appear in a very deliberate sequence, with the hair design evolving
from unusual shapes, through to imposing silhouettes and finishing with complete
abstraction. Image one features an African American model with a monumental
sized Afro. Image two reveals strong precision, using graphic shapes and geometric
patterning. An intricate weaving technique is revealed in the third image framed in a
bold black outline and distorted with scatter of irises. Image four features an
impressive floor length dreadlock design signifying a deeper descent into theatrical
realms, a fitting prelude to image five which commences the distortion of the models
face by a mask-like construction. The concluding look totally shields the models face
and distorts her head shape, the epitome of expressionism from a modern artist.
Throughout the entire collection, the iconic displacement of an eye seen in Picasso’s
work features heavily, and whilst easily identifiable as a technique readily used in
cubism, it is seen here as a total innovation in hair design.
With a very specific model brief in mind, casting was carried out months in advance,
the final line up featuring a strong multicultural vibe and the inclusion of a male
model to deviate from the expectation of an all female cast. The ability to convey
strength via postural form and posing techniques also shaped the selection process
as this was a key aspect to the overall vision.
Make Up provides re-enforcement of the artistic stimulus with the addition of iconic
eyes and lips, drawn as oversized outlines. The impact of a black, graphic and
androgynous fashion direction pitched against the primary colour palette of the hair
work is outstanding, shot against a stark white background the final image relay is
There are some people who are destined to stand out in the world of hair, genuine
creators who seek a deeper level of artistic stimulus so that they in turn can invent
and inspire. Announced as AHFA Avant Garde Hairdresser of the Year in 2015/16
and member of The 2016 Australian FAME Team Nadia Semanic is one of those
At the age of 26, the intelligence and thoughtfulness with which Nadia approaches
her craft is truly visionary. Unassuming and almost unaffected by her accolades,
Nadia is a purist, always searching for things that enrich her-mentally, emotionally
and physically, the result is an unquestionable artistic originality and a conceptual
thought process that is a prize worthy narrative in itself.
Appointed as a senior member of the TONI&GUY Australian Artistic Team in 2016,
Nadia provides a rich contribution to the popular assembly, delivering unfathomably
intricate structures and distinctly textural finishes. Nadia’s transition from Avant
Garde to Hair Fashion is fluid and yet her portfolio reveals two mutually exclusive
aesthetics demonstrating Nadia’s intelligent approach to each individual brief and her
proficiency across the entire hair spectrum. A popular contributor to the TONI&GUY
National Education Programme, Nadia thrives within a small-group learning
environment. Inviting her peers to fully emerge themselves into her think tank of
infinite inspiration and observe the complete blue print of her many creations, she is
a generous educator and an accessible creative.
Nadia is totally committed to resourcing as much training and development as she
can, and as such can authentically endorse the importance of education to others.
Whilst many are quick to caption their lives as 100% hair focused, her titanic portfolio
of work and experience provides validation of a pursuit that does not require
additional façade. Earmarked as ‘an icon in the making’ by many already awarded
the title, Nadia is backed by the genuine reverence of her peers and mentors alike,
rather than one to watch she is one to keep watching. A beacon for genuine artistry
on the global stage, Nadia is a stylist that possesses the creative prowess to position
Australia as a real contender in world leading hair design.
Hair Stylist – Nadia Semanic
Fashion Stylist – Anthony Capon
Make Up Artist – Chereine Waddell
Photographer – Andrew O’Toole