Hairstylists and beauty pros from more than 37 countries travelled to Chicago for the 2023 Kao Salon Global Experience, and it was one for the record books!
The event kicked off with a welcome party to celebrate this year’s Global Creative Awards’ national gold winners.
“It’s great to be here embracing the creativity, passion and innovation that’s the trademark of our industry,” says Michael Parsons, general manager for Kao Canada Salon Division. “And not to mention, recognizing some remarkable talents along the way.”
The following day, the winners for Creative Colorist, New Talent Colorist and Creative Haircutter participated in the event’s annual live competition to recreate their winning looks. Among this year’s judges were Salon’s editorial director, Veronica Boodhan, and Contessa-award winning hairstylist Michael Shire.
In addition to a community area where attendees could learn more about Kao products and upcoming launches, academy stage sessions were held by some of the company’s top artists, including Canada’s very own Krysten-Ashley Garrod.
To kick off the Global Creative Awards show, dancers hit the stage for a spectacular Chicago-themed opener before Scott Guinter, general manager for Kao USA Salon Division, shared his opening remarks.
“Thank you to the artists and competitors for your creativity and dedication to your craft, and to the coaches and models who are so instrumental to these teams from around the world,” he says. “Lastly, I would like to thank you, the partners, friends and advocates of the Kao Salon Division, for your passionate support and love of our brands.”
Dominic Pratt, president of Kao Salon Division, also took the stage with a welcome message for the attendees.
“A personal highlight for me is the Global Creative Awards,” he says. “The creativity, skill and courage of every single participant is an inspiration to us all.”
In addition to the awards presentation, show-stopping stage shows were presented by Kao partners and ambassadors Rush Hair & Beauty, Mario Krankl and Angelo Seminara, who premiered his latest collection, Hair Every Wear 3.0.
As for the Global Creative Awards, it was a record-breaking night as Canada took home seven of the night’s awards, including gold by Samantha Dixon for New Talent Colorist, and Marilyn Vendittelli for Men’s Hairdresser of the Year! Vendittelli also took home silver for Creative Haircutter, with Tina Casciato winning silver for Creative Colorist.
For Salon Team of the Year, it was a clean sweep by the Canadians with Industry Hair & Esthetics in St. Catharines, Ont. winning gold, Salon Cyan in London, Ont., winning silver and Renaissance Salon & Estetica in St. Catharines, Ont. taking home the bronze award.
It was a huge accomplishment by Team Canada, who was mentored by long-time Goldwell artist (and multi-Contessa winner) Michelle Pargee.
The next day, artist sessions were held by some of Kao’s leading artists including the North America Creatives featuring Frank Cini and Daniel Naumovski of Taz Hair Co. in Toronto, and Quebec-based hairstylist Didier Lachapelle.
To close out the event, Kao hosted its farewell party at TAO Nightclub.