We spoke with Danny Pato of D&M Hair Design in Auckland, New Zealand, the winner of the International Hairstylist of the Year award at the 32nd Contessa Awards.
How does it feel to be named International Hairstylist of the Year at the Contessa Awards, a Canadian hair competition?
I feel honoured and grateful. It feels really special to be recognized by these iconic industry judges. We are living in a very strange moment in time though, with hairstylists in various states of restriction around the world. I’m really impressed by how Contessa did the whole cocktail party and event virtually—although it would have been incredible to visit Toronto to celebrate creativity and excellence in Canadian hair and beauty professionals.
How did you hear about the Contessa Awards?
Canadian hairstyling is well regarded around the world, so I would say most people who look to the big competitions know about Contessa. I’d won New Zealand Hairdresser of the Year a few times (2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019), won an AIPP [Association Internationale Presse Professionnelle Coiffure] in London last year and was a finalist for International Hairdresser of the Year 2020 at the IHAs [International Hairdressing Awards], so I thought it was my time to enter Contessa.
At the Contessas, you mentioned that you know some Canadian hairstylists and look up to Canadian hairdressing. Tell us about that.
The ones I know the best are the iconic Anna Pacitto from Salon Pure and Pure Academy in Montreal and James Abu-Ulba from Utopia and Method Education in Vancouver, from being on the Davines Artistic Team. I’ve seen them on stages all around the world. I also met Dorothy and Silas Tsang from Blushes in Ottawa earlier this year in Madrid.
Tell us about your collection and what inspired it.
I wanted to create something to remind us of how we need to love and care for the natural world. The relationship between the birds, drawn by the incredible illustrator Kelly Thompson, and the models are shown as completely loving and caring, one in the same. The original seed of the idea came to me when I was in Kyoto, Japan, exploring the temples, museums and gardens; seeing traditional clothing with birds and flowers carefully sewn in. I wanted to reinterpret this with a contemporary design aesthetic and tell this story of an emotional relationship between nature and humanity.
Do you have a name for your collection:?
Yes, it’s called “Tori – ⿃“, the Japanese word for “bird”.
What has 2020 been like for you and your salon?
Like so many hair salons around the world, we’ve had a couple of shutdown periods, juggling clients around for reopenings, and dealing with additional hygiene and distancing at a time when clients and staff are feeling anxious.
A positive from the disruption is that it’s forced us to look at how we operate, to focus on the team’s wellbeing and how we look out for each other. We made a big call with the team to move to a four-day working week, opening the salon four late nights—Tuesday to Friday—so everyone gets to have Saturday, Sunday and Monday off every week for a healthier work-life balance. We are in a unique situation in New Zealand with the pandemic; our borders are closed, and the country has had [fewer fatalities] so I am grateful that currently we’re able to operate quite normally as a salon.
What’s next for you? Any goals you’re working towards?
I’m really looking forward to judging the NAHAs and shooting my next collection. I’ve got a few projects in the pipeline with my session styling and commentary work, mentoring the Davines Talent Greenhouse finalists and working on my next charity fundraising initiative. I love to keep busy. Hair is what I live and breathe.
Name/Nom: Danny Pato
Category/Catégorie: International Hairstylist | Styliste international
Salon: D&M Hair Design, Auckland, New Zealand
Makeup/Maquillage: Kiekie Stanners
Wardrobe/Stylisme: Danny Pato & Rachel Morton
Other/Autre: Kelly Thompson
Photos: Mara Sommer
How-To: Recreate One of Danny Pato’s Winning Looks
- Colour hair globally using Davines View gloss demi, shades 2.11 and Gloss.
- Blow-wave the hair straight.
- Cut the hair dry into a classic bob shape using clippers. Start at the nape and go section by section, with zero elevation, cutting straight in with the clippers to achieve a one-length, thick, wig-like look.
- Soften the ends using point cutting.
- Cut shorter, imperfect jagged bangs using a razor.
- Prep the hair throughout with Davines More Inside Sea Salt Spray.
- Starting from the nape, take small horizontal sections and weave (as though you’re doing highlights). Crimp the weave strands from root to tip, therefore crimping some strands of hair and leaving others straight. Work your way up section by section, all the way around the head.
- When you get to above the occipital bone, start leaving a gap at the root area, increasing the gap as you go up, so eventually, you’re only crimping the mid-lengths and ends.
- Brush out with a boar bristle paddle and finish with Davines More Inside Shimmering Mist.