Mathieu Mainville, one-third of the winning Contessa 2016 Canadian Salon Team local B from Montreal (the remaining two-thirds being Véronique Beaupré and Louis Mathieu Jacob), reminisces about how being a little crazy and working off a whim paid off.
Salon Magazine: Where did you find your team find the inspiration for your Contessa 2016 collection?
Mathieu Mainville: For the Millin’ hair collection, we were inspired by different trends that are out there on the street, actual and wearable styles. One of the trends all three of us loved the most was all the hats that are growing in popularity, slowly but surely. We also wanted to bring a little something from the barbering world and push it forward by applying it to a woman.
SM: What was your secret weapon?
MM: I would say that for this specific project our secret weapon was a clipper. We used it on most of our models, which might sound weird since they were all female!
SM: What is the next milestone the Local B team would like to achieve?
MM: That was already a really big achievement! We actually won two different trophies with that project (a NAHA and a Contessa), so the bar is set really high for our next move. But I’m pretty sure that we will continue entering the Contessas, probably in different categories to challenge ourselves and see what else we can achieve.
SM: What’s one piece of advice you’d give to someone entering the Contessas for the first time?
MM: I think that creating a photoshoot requires different fields of expertise and as hairstylists, we do not fully control all of those aspects. This is why we build a team of experts to help us out on this photoshoot. Our piece of advice would be not to try to save money when selecting a team. Go all out by choosing the bests. It may be hard to do and expensive, but while your work on hair could be the best in the world, if the photographer, the models or the makeup artist is not on point, it will show in your photos and your work will not have the same impact at all.
SM: What was the process you used to create your Contessa-winning photos?
MM: Well, that collection was literally created on a bit of a whim! We heard about an amazing photographer in Toronto and we decided to give her a try. Because of time constraints and coordinating with our photographer, we only had two weeks to brainstorm, prepare all the headpeices, book our trip to Toronto—and all of that during mid-December, Christmas rush time! Everybody thought we were crazy, but, well, it worked out!
SM: What are your top tips for working with a team, both in and out of the salon?
MM: Being in a team is about helping each other, playing off one and another and working together—not controling everybody. Make sure you know your team well and be confident in their skills.
SM: Who’s the first person you called when you won the Contessa?
MM: I personally called my sister as soon as I got off the stage. She’s a great hatmaker, the owner of Heirloom Hats, and she helped us out so much on that project that I had to tell her first!