PAPER Beauty: Force of Nature

58 views 2:32 pm 0 Comments May 16, 2023

Inspiration exists all around us, if you’re paying close enough attention. For New York-based hair stylist John Novotny, this means pulling out small details from the “movement, shapes, structures and colors” of the most “extraordinary things you can find in nature.” For their exclusive PAPER Beauty editorial, Novotny dreamt up individual looks for nine models to have their own style, they explain, while also emulating the “structured chaos of the world.” From interpretations of volcanic eruptions to frozen icicles and even coral reefs, Novotny describes their Force of Nature shoot in greater detail, below.

“I wanted to highlight the intricacies of a bouquet of roses and romantic aspects of victorian women’s hairstyles. They would spend hours and hours on their hair — the tightest, cleanest curls you could imagine, and huge stacked styles.”

“I recreated the look of icicles built up in a cave in a blizzard, frozen vibes. When looking at reference photos, I found an amazing collection of images from a ‘hair freezing contest’ held annually in Canada when temperatures go below freezing. Competitors go into a hot spring and wet their hair, then whip it up into the frigid air and it freezes into these insane shapes.”

“I wanted Grey to give some sort of nod to clouds, so we did a big bouncy blowout — shampoo commercial-type hair, with the green screen hands tossing it around and you’re like, ‘How did she get so much volume?'”

“This is a nod to tornadoes. We didn’t use any wind when shooting their look, though. It’s hard-styled to look like they’re in the middle of a tornado and their hair is blowing all around.”

“I’ve been obsessed with mermaids my whole life and had coral reef wallpaper in my room as a kid. I made all the starfish out of short tracks of hair by hand, and attached them to wires and then placed them on the headpiece.”

“Jovel’s radioactive hair is inspired by a banana slug, Gaga at the Monster Ball, a ’90s Chanel look that Linda Evangelista wore and Cynthia, the doll from Rugrats.”

“I couldn’t stop thinking about the ‘Heigh-Ho’ song in Snow White and the sparkly jewels in the cave, but also The Nightmare Before Christmas when Jack is on that swirly mountain. I was like, That needs to be hair.”

“Kam’s hair is inspired by an earth-shattering volcanic eruption — the billowing smoke and spouts of lava. I wanted hers to be larger than life, like those photos you see where the sky has turned black and everything is glowing red.”

“I was inspired by movements of a waterfall. I looked at images of Niagara Falls to create the color, and we incorporated wind to give the look of streams flowing about or to look as if she might have even been underwater.”

Throughout May, PAPER will roll out our final projects under the most recent editorial team. These pieces continue pushing forward our mission to provide a platform for fresh talent and important stories too often overlooked. From the subjects to the creatives behind the images, our hope is for you to discover new things and be inspired by what you see. As always, thank you for showing up and being part of our community. –Justin Moran, Editor-in-Chief

Photography: Jack Maffucci


Hair: John Novotny (using ORIBE and Good Dye Young)


Makeup: Shaena Baddour (using Charlotte Tilbury)


Styling: Abby Bencie



Production: May Lin Le Goff (for Aries Rising Projects)



Casting: Dylan Miller and Stella Tompkins


Talent: Zuoye, Kristina Byerley, Jake Dupont, Aida Buarat, Miss Kam, Fatou Ridgird, Grey Hoffman, Mecca Mozelle and Jovel Ramos


Styling assistant: Kelsey Anne Logan



Makeup assistant: Matthew Sosnowski

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