For as long as we can remember, the calibre of entries submitted for NZ Hairdresser of the Year, at this year’s Hair Expo Awards in Sydney, was the highest ever. And after attending the awards night for many years, we can definitely say that the quality of NZ entries continues to grow!
But there is one stylist that always stands out and shines, Ponsonby’s own Danny Pato. Danny has now gone on to achieve, what no other person has ever done before, he has won the highest accolade in NZ Hairdressing… ‘NZ Hairdresser of the Year’ no less than 4 years in row!
As part of his entry, Danny and his team produced a sublime video of his ‘Tori’ collection which featured bird illustrations with Japanese geisha inspired images. The video was one of the highlights of the Awards evening and demonstrated to all who were present, that Danny’s creative ability is simply boundless.
We talk to Danny to find out more about his ongoing hairdressing success!
First of all congratulations on a magnificent win, wow 4 times in a row! What’s it feel like?
Thank you so much, that means a lot to me! Of course it feels amazing. Even though the fourth time, it feels like the first time. Every year I push myself further, challenging myself to keep raising the bar. I feel proud and honoured to be recognised by the panel of iconic international judges and to represent our beautiful country four years in a row!
I loved the Japanese geisha theme with the birds, what inspired you… Have you visited Japan recently?
I love Japan so much, I’m completely obsessed with the fashion, design, food, people, architecture, traditions and pop culture. I was in Japan a couple of years ago lapping it all up, I spent a lot of time in Kyoto running around trying to find real life geisha, exploring temples and art museums.
The concept for this collection was born from that trip. I wanted to create contemporary bold silhouettes and combine them with beautiful birds to reference those sewn onto traditional clothing, but completely re-interpreted stylistically to create something new.
Your video was a stroke of genius, what made you go down that path?
When I create a collection, the most important thing for me is telling a story. They say pictures paint a thousand words, but videos bring stories to life. I loved working with Garth Badger on this video, he really got what I was trying to communicate. The video was also for all of the hairdressers in the audience, to show that the hair was indeed real, it moved and was designed to look at from every angle, not just staged for a shot or done in Photoshop.
Every year you virtually have to come up with something new and exciting, where do you start?
I like to think I’m a storyteller. The concept always comes first. Once I explore the visual style, my first practical step is designing the clothes, another passion of mine, and getting them made. Then I start working on the hair and makeup ideas, developing the story until the magic is born.
Having the right team on board is important to achieving the right results, what do you look for?
100% agree. Some people I collaborate with time and time again because you get really good at communicating and understanding each other, like photographer Mara Sommer who’s been part of D&M since the beginning nearly 13 years ago. Sometimes it’s about finding the right expert for the right task – I work with several makeup artists for example depending on what I want to achieve. If anyone’s stuck for finding creative team members, I’ve published my little black book of collaborators at www.directory.dandm.co.nz – a free online resource for NZ hairdressers to pull teams together for creative projects.
How far out from the entry deadline, do you start putting your collection together?
My brain never stops so I’m always exploring ideas – I explore, take pictures, write notes, make mood boards, draw and all sorts all of the time. I probably lock things in and start bringing things into reality about 4 months before deadline.
Are we going to have a crack at number five?
Haha, I am still buzzing from this award so no I haven’t decided about 2020 yet. My focus right now is on preparing for NZ Fashion Week, AUT Rookie Show, and my Davines Hair on Stage show in Manila (alongside Allilon from London and Rikyu Boy from Bangkok) for 1,500 hairdressers from across Asia and the globe, as well as doing what I love most which is my clients at D&M. Somewhere throughout all of this one of my new concepts might come to life …
Do you have any exciting plans or travels that you can share with us this year?
After Hair on Stage in Manila this October, I’m heading to Boracay in the Philippines for a few days, so sneaking in a mini holiday among the work.