How did you and your team decide on the theme of the presentation. What inspired you?
Jackie (my wife) and I organize a creative meeting at the beginning of every year and halfway through the year where we brainstorm ideas! We ask for the team to bring in their tablets with their creative inspo on them along with buzz words and other visuals that are inspiring us at the moment, be it trend-focused, politically driven or even environmental movements, to name a few! So, this is where the movement of Childhood Freedom was created! Once the D&J Ambrose team has locked in the title, we start to work on visuals, hair, colour, makeup, styling, fabrics and characters. This helps for inspiration to create a believable persona.
You titled the presentation: A New Beginning. Why is that and what does it represent?
The title of the art fashion film was called “THE HOUSE OF CHILDHOOD FREEDOM,” and the reason behind this, without going through too much political details of what we as an industry/family have been through this year, but when you take yourself back to those childhood years it was full of fun, resilience and experimentation, and most of all exempt from external influences. So, the film is about our year of isolation but whilst inside our homes, we created and reinvented ourselves to then emerge with a playful new beginning.
You work closely with your wife, Jackie. Tell us about that and what you most enjoy about working together.
Jackie and I have always had a very connected mindset when planning our shows, shoots, films and company direction. She is a very focused and driven person and as long as I’ve known her has always been very sharp when it comes to fashion. She is also an exceptional hairdresser.
We work in a very similar way. I always sketch a character out on paper, hair pantones and hair direction and that’s where Jackie will come in and style fabrics for the look! This can go on for months but when it all clicks, it’s really cool. The great thing about working with Jackie is she is also a risk-taker. We are two likeminded souls, always up for a challenge and to push ourselves outside the box.
You’ve developed a high-fashion aesthetic that many people admire. What’s your secret to that and creating a signature style that people can identify?
The fashion aesthetics from D&J Ambrose come from a strong admiration of how garments are created to fit and enhance the human body. Many years ago, Jackie and I weren’t being fulfilled or achieving the goals we wanted within our world so that is when we focused in on head-to-toe images and attention to detail. This is where, maybe for us, our company’s signature style arrived. But to be honest, we don’t really think about a signature style, we just do what gives us a buzz.
What surprised you when creating this presentation? Anything you weren’t expecting?
Well, we weren’t expecting to be in the situation we were in while creating the film. But all that being said, we had the most amazing team experience. Under tight COVID-19 restrictions, we realized how great minds together can have fun and create. Like a lot of things we do in the industry, we don’t just do hair, it’s about interacting in storytelling, choreography, set building, location finding, editing and telling the story to the creative team to get the best of their talents out. It was an awesome experience, and I would definitely love to do some more.
You’ve presented at the Contessa Awards before. What do you most enjoy about it?
It was the greatest pleasure performing at the Contessa awards in 2019 in collaboration with the most amazing team at Wella Studio Toronto. We have to say Salon Magazine knows how to produce a fantastic event, giving huge respect and praise to the Canadian industry family where due, awarding them as they should be. It was a great pleasure to be there and feel the love and be a part of this special event in the Canadian calendar. The one thing that is priceless about our job is to meet such great friends around the world that you can just keep adding to our industry family tree.
What has this year been like for you and your salon?
I think when I say this I speak for all the craft-makers around the globe but 2020 has to be one of the most surreal and challenging years to date. We have been future proofing our company the best we can and keeping our staff the best we can whilst facing the challenges of what the governments are going to throw at us next. The financial year has been very tough as five or six months of business closure for anyone is scary and we saw how quickly our lives can change. But, having said that, we have to remember before all of this we were in demand by our clients and we will be again as the human race needs us to keep individuality and originality in there personas and the massive well-being factor that we can give at the end of our finger tips! Nothing lasts forever and COVID will pass and the industry family will be as strong as ever again!
To watch the Wella Professionals and D&J Ambrose presentation from Contessa 2021, click here.