Ssshhh…The Secret is Out!

Robert Lobetta, Saco, Brooks and Brooks, X-Presion, Togninis and é SALON push creative boundaries in an Australian first.

With no idea where or how the event would take place or what would be presented, or who would be leading them through this underground creative adventure, over 350 guests from around Australia descended on Sydney on Sunday 16th November, eager to be let in on the industry’s most hotly guarded secret.

Held at Sydney’s Paddington Town Hall, Ssshhh: The Art of Collaboration is an event designed to deliver hair, art, collaboration and performance. It is an event that is ungoverned, (but supported at arms length) by the manufacturers; that unashamedly takes back the heritage of the hairdresser – making it truly ‘by the hairdresser for the hairdresser’. It taps into that underground vibe that appeals to a cross-generational demographic, with the single desire of sharing and contributing to the industry.

With the seed planted in Madrid in 2013 as the #SecretMasterClass, it was then fuelled and nurtured in London through NOISE and now the highest calibre of creatives and hair artists from around the world - Spain, the UK, the US, and Australia – joined together in Sydney to deliver an experiential experience for professionals in the hair, makeup, fashion and design arenas.

No sooner had the audience, filled with a multitude of award-winning hairstylists, taken their seats, ushered in by the mysterious yet playful Ssshhhettes, were they told to sit back and "Shut the F@*k Up”, a chant delightedly repeated by revered industry icon Robert Lobetta and one which would set the tone for the evening.

First to imbue the stage with their presence was the ‘Chaotic” father and sun duo Benni & Jules Tognini. Their genius separately is something to be in awe of, however the fusion of the two creatives in one space was mind-blowing as they captured that sense of chaos in varying forms; think female beards, texture, colour and pure inspiration.

Next up, and using music as his muse to capture and inspire shapes and texture that leave you wanting more, was Richard Ashforth and Pierre Saint Sever from UK salon and academy brand, SACO. Pre-done models entered the stage, and tempted the audience to dance along with them, whilst Richard & Pierre executed cuts and styles. Words were not necessary; it was sheer creativity and technique that piqued and held the crowd’s attention.

Emiliano Vitale, and his creative partner Lisa Muscat, from internationally acclaimed é SALON, thrilled the crowd with an interpretation of their latest collection mash up – Disconnected Smoke and Roses – and their latest foray into hair as art with their innovative crocheting techniques. Pre-done models entertained the crowd – theirs was a tribal vibe, complete with a compelling performance!

With a vow to speak because we have something to say, Robert Lobetta was next onstage. An inspiration to many around the world, Lobetta, dressed down from his suit into painter’s overalls, gave a performance to be rivalled, fuelling the crowd with anecdotes and references about his time in the industry, what hair is and what it can become. He is a wizard of sorts who is still creating and inspiring on every level. His model, with hair horns adorning her head, was stripped and painted blue. Pure performance art at it’s best.

In their own words, Jamie and Sally Brooks from Brooks and Brooks in London, were the ones who brought a little more ‘normalcy’ to the evening. Their hair ideas often stem from something as mundane as instagram or a blog, but their challenge is to take that and make it something more, something inspirational, something aspirational. It was a true display of two creatives working together to present an enthralling, funny and down-to-earth approach to hairdressing. And the end result was magnificent.

Fittingly, it was the original protagonists behind the #SecretMasterClass in Madrid who took to the stage to close the show. X-Presion’s passion for innovative hairdressing artistry and education was evident as they executed strong shapes, lines and fringes, underpinned by their renowned neon #xpresionthread. Jose gave a heartfelt address, encouraging the ‘down under’ crowd to support the X-Presion trio in their bid to rebuild forestry in Sierra De Gredos by purchasing an X-Presion comb. A Comb = A Tree.

They came together in a creative collaboration with the goal of inspiring and igniting creative passion in all those that attended. Australian Hairdresser of the Year, Emiliano Vitale, and his artistic friends including the globally revered Robert Lobetta (US), Brooks & Brooks (UK), Richard Ashforth (UK), Togninis (Aus), X-Presion (Spain) delivereda thrilling creative experience unlike any other witnessed by the Australian hairdressing industry.

There is no doubt this was truly a who’s who of global hairdressing talent – people that have changed the world, people who are changing the world and people who will change the world in the future.

"The success of Ssshhh this year will see it evolve and emerge into something more in 2015; we are incredibly excited to see where our creativity will take us on this amazing journey,” says the talented trio of Emiliano, Robert & Benni.