Mathieu Mainville gives us the inside scoop behind the inspiration for his forward-thinking 2017 Contessa-winning collection for Men’s Hairstylist of the Year, and shares what he enjoys doing when he’s not behind the chair at Montreal-based salon local B.
Salon Magazine: Why do you enter the Contessa Awards?
Mathieu Mainville: It’s one of the major competitions in Canada, so I find it pretty cool to enter. I’m always aiming for the best. I’ve entered Quebec Hairstylist a few years back, but this is the first time I’ve won [on my own].
The feeling of creating and doing something different for once is unbelievable. It’s fun to do, and cool. Even if I don’t win, I still have a brand new collection of photos to show my clientele [and say] ‘This is what your hairdresser is doing.’ It brings them confidence in what you can do.
SM: What was your inspiration for your winning Men’s Hairstylist collection?
MM: When I created the collection, I looked at the previous wins to see what the evolution was. I looked on Pinterest to see trends and looked at runway shows.
I named my collection “Looking Forward” because it was about ending the previous trend of pompadours. If you look at the collection you will see there are no hairstyles that go backwards; it’s about being frontward—keeping bangs and stuff like that.
SM: You and your team at local B previously won for Canadian Salon Team of the Year. How was this win different?
MM: [Competing as a team] is much more challenging but much more fun as well because you celebrate as a team. When you win something on your own, it’s your very own creation that’s being celebrated, so it’s another kind of happiness.
SM: Why did you decide to enter the Men’s Hairstylist category?
MM: I decided to be a hairdresser because I was never satisfied with my own haircuts, so I was eager to learn techniques to make my own haircuts better. I’ve been learning different techniques and working hard on it. It’s just easy for me to do men’s haircuts, but I also do women’s as well at the salon.
SM: If you weren’t a hairstylist, what would you be doing?
MM: I would be a writer—novels and stuff. I love fantasy, horror. I already wrote a novel that’s unpublished, but I’ve written some short stories as well.
SM: Who do you consider your mentors and how have they helped you get to this point in your career?
MM: Véronique Beaupre [co-owner of local B], of course. She was a huge mentor to me these past four years. Also my teacher, Françoise Lortie—she used to work with Pivot Point and Vidal Sassoon, so she took me on private classes to show me cool ways of cutting hair using Vidal Sassoon’s work. She was a huge stepping-stone for me.
SM: Who’s the first person you called when you won the Contessa?
MM: My sister, Samantha-Tara Mainville. She’s a phenomenal hat maker here in Montreal, with her company Heirloom Hats. She helped me on the collections I’ve done and she’s a huge supporter of my work.
SM: Where do you keep your Contessa?
MM: At my station [in the salon]. It gives [clients] something to talk about.
SM: How do you relax when you’re not doing hair or entering competitions?
MM: Playing video games or going to the spa and getting a massage. I love to bike as well.
SM: What is the next milestone you would like to achieve?
MM: I’m going to [enter] Canadian Hairstylist of the Year this year, and continue working on my clientele.
SM: What is one piece of advice you would give to someone entering the Contessas for the first time?
MM: To be organized. When I start a collection, I create a very strong moodboard so everybody on my team knows where I’m going, and to make sure your ideas are on paper so you don’t get lost in new ideas. It keeps the continuity of your collection.
Contessa entries are open! Fill out an entry form or access the rules and regulations here. Hurry! Entries close August 2, 2017.