International editorial stylist and Moroccanoil national educator Peter Gray led the creative direction for the brand’s spectacular presentation at the future-themed Contessa Awards. Gray, along with Moroccanoil global ambassador Kevin Hughes, give us a recap of their presentation and share how they took the theme of post-apocalyptic to another level.
Salon Magazine: What was the inspiration for your post-apocalyptic presentation?
Peter Gray: Apocalyptic isn’t really what we perceive as apocalyptic at all. It’s about rebirth and regeneration. With the way the world is with trash and grunge, I thought it would be kind of nice to have a theme of post-apocalyptic elegance. My impression of post-apocalyptic was to go back to the true definition and focus on the rebirth, cleansing and renewal and reinvigoration of the human spirit. Super-humans that are futuristic—not alien—beautiful and a little extravagant. It’s a hair show, so it’s meant to be fun. I didn’t want to try and compete with Mad Max, so there needed to be some creative license with the theme.
SM: Since Moroccanoil is known for creating editorial styles, how were those styling techniques incorporated into this presentation?
Kevin Hughes: We try to use the same team, since we’re very familiar with knowing the boundaries we really shouldn’t go beyond. It’s a show, so we go a little bit more than we normally would for a photo shoot. It has to be a little larger than life, but at the same time we want to incorporate details such as braiding, curling techniques and textured techniques that people can see on the stage. We’re taking editorial and bumping it up one step.
SM: What does it mean for you to be part of the Contessa Awards?
PG: It’s about a celebration of creativity. There’s not much celebration in creativity because it’s all about the heart and soul of hairdressing and why people do hairdressing. They don’t do it for the money; they do it because they believe in it. As cliché as it sounds, it’s about the love of it. You have to be in it as a team to want to push it forward.
KH: For me, as a hairstylist for 27 years, it’s important to celebrate people’s accomplishments. It’s important because I think the hairstylists should be up here and that it’s very important that we celebrate it. These people work so hard. I’m an editorial stylist, so I know what it takes but when you’re putting together a collection or several different entries. There’s a lot of work and a lot of planning for makeup artists, nail techs, wardrobe stylists and photographers. It’s really special for awards to be given out and for people to be recognized. Even if you’re nominated or a finalist, it’s your moment and I love that we’re celebrating it.
SM: For stylists aspiring to be where you are today, what advice do you have for them?
PG: This was our eighth show in six weeks. We’ve been putting in a lot of time and a lot of effort. This has been the real focal show for us, with all the little experiences we’ve gathered along the way, all the members of the team we’ve gathered along the way. We had a tattoo artist I took to Moscow to try her out and ensure she was good enough to do this show. Everyone is vetted and balanced out to make sure we come up with something that will hopefully become an international standard. I’m not interested in just the Canadian standard; I’m interested in the international standard. I want Canada to be on an international stage.
Photos: Maja Hajduk, Aidas Rygelis, Andrew B. Harris, Eric Tavares