THE SPECIAL GUEST AT ANY PARTY!by Ekaterina Doroshina
HIM STAND OUT AND SHINE!
Patrick, I have been in the hairdressing industry for quite awhile now. Yet, with all my diligence, I can only name three masters — Patrick Cameron, Martin Parsons and Alexandre de Paris (who has recently died), who deal with glamour and party up-do´s. Why are you so few?
That´s a good question. I know Martin and myself have a very strong sense of who we are and what we have to offer. I think that for a lot of people, when they think of long hair, they think fantasy. Stylists like Martin and I bring it back to a more believable level. We also offer the power, step by step, continuously over many, many years to get better and better so that stylists understand how we work. They understand that when they come see us they´re going to take something home and I think that´s why there are so very few us. I think also we live in a culture now where people want things straight away. They want to do a big show; they want a big profile. They don´t realize that I spent many, many years on stage in front of 10 people, 15 people, from one end of the country to the other, from one end of the world to the other. So, you know, it´s takes lots of little things to do the big things.
I have read on your site that you were an assistant for 8000 hours and then after that you were an independent hairdresser for eight years, but you still felt like you were a student. Is that true?
I believe in everybody´s life there is a time to move forward — and that time comes early for some people and later for others. For me, after my training in New Zealand before I came to England was the time I needed to nurture and improve my craft up to a good standard. And for me, you know, I was 27 when I came to England, so by the time I started becoming successful and international; I was in my early 30´s — I was mature, so I was able to accept the fame without changing me as a person. I´ll tell you a little secret: I really find it bizarre to think of myself as famous and I´m always surprised that people remember me.
Patrick, you always say that, apart from talent and your love for everyday hairstyling, you have to be in the right time and right place and be surrounded by the right people. What has your business partner meant for your success?
We started working together around 1990. She is the sort of person who is very warm and very charismatic, but very organized, so she has taught me to look at my creativity as a business. We were both the same age, growing at the same time. And that´s why she´s a business partner. Susan is like my touch stone. She´s the person I text or call if I´m in the country. She´s the person that holds it all together. And, she really understands that I´m the product. But I´ve also had an amazing little team. I also have Marco Erbi who is here with me today who is in charge of creating all the beautiful clothes that you see on stage.
I saw that you presented Marco Erbi at the end of the show.
(Smiles) Yes, and he hates being on stage. We´ve been working together now for about 15 years and he really is the driving force behind our collections. He inspires me because he´ll come up with these concepts — the way the model´s clothes may look — and that pushes me into creating the beautiful hair that will go with that feeling.
What is the mystery of your inspiration?
Obviously I´m led by the media, by fashion trends and so on, but I´m always looking at how can I take the work that I do today and move it forward. So for me, the challenge comes when I have a class like today or I have a show. It´s that feeling of needing to look beyond that pushes me forward for creativity. I don´t relax and go, “Well, I´m Patrick Cameron, it doesn´t matter anymore.” I´m always pushing to the next level. I find a lot of hairdressers take inspiration from physical things. I have always found it far more interesting to take inspiration from emotional things. And customers are much more interested in buying into an emotion. They can feel “I want drama.” “I want glamour.” “I want Tango.” They want this feeling or that feeling. One thing that my shows are very famous for is glamour. There´s not enough glamour in people´s lives. And people love seeing glamour on stage. I think people (hairdressers) have come to expect, when they come to my shows, that they´re going on a journey first in education and then glamour!
The names of your collections are very interesting. They are just “speaking” to me: Red Carpet, Provocateur and Bohemian Revolution. Do you develop them after the collection is ready or is it the name that inspires you to create a collection?
It happens before, during, after — it happens all over the place. Marco and I work a year ahead each time and we bounce around a lot of ideas and a lot of names and eventually we come up with it. And our next show in 2010, and I´ll tell you now because no one else knows, will be called our “Gold” collection. I´m celebrating 20 years and I´m going to take my favorite styles from the last 20 years and give them a whole new look and present them as my commemorative collection.
What do you think is the secret to success as a platform artists in this business?
I think that when you look at the success of many famous hairdressers or indeed famous people, there is a common X factor which is talking, communication…being able to give to people. And to me, really, there are many amazing, talented hairdressers, but no matter how talented you are, if you can´t get up on stage or you can´t bring your personality alive, then people will get very bored. You know what upsets me the most? I hate it when hairdressers come on stage, the music goes up really loud, and they do hair. No one talks, they just look. To me that is just so boring. People want to know why you are doing it. What inspired you? How you are doing it?
You are world famous. You´re globally famous. You could have done your own products years ago. Why don´t you do it?
Now, I´m very famous to hairdressers, but to the person walking on the street, they don´t know me so well. And it´s the person walking on the street that buys the products. So if I was going to launch a line of product in the United Kingdom, I´d need to be very much in the media focus, which I´m really not. Also, I have invested huge amounts of money into my educational merchandise, so for me that´s really been my product. It´s the education packages that I offer to hairdressers globally.
What is inside of your educational packages?
We have a school in London and we take that school around the world to different countries. In October, we´re launching a brand new Book 6 with twenty new hairstyles in it. Plus we´ve got all our step-by-step DVD´s and videos which we continually update. We now have probably the most comprehensive long hair range of hair brushes, pads and styling devices, including a brand new range of beautiful bridal hair accessories.
Patrick, you destroy the myth that long hair is a long and boring process every time you do your show! So, everyone at your show on Friday was sitting and looking at their watches seeing if it´s 10 or 15 minutes per style. So, do you think that only with your level of craftsmanship and mastership that it´s achievable?
First of all, my shows are designed in a very special way. I perform passes and tricks to surprise the audience every second. You know how the major part of the audience starts watching my shows? If you watch the audience, actually, let me demonstrate how my audience starts. (Patrick literally lies down in the armchair, crosses his arms on his chest, and makes an appropriate face. What a happiness that the photographer managed to shoot it!). And then, once I´m working, their faces and poses change. (And he continues to demonstrate it! Just try to say that everything was wrong!) That´s how I work. And I do that because I´m continually throwing things at them that are easy, fun and simple. But it´s the way that I put them together that makes them just so quick. But absolutely, in reality, most hairdressers would need to take those techniques and spend at least a half hour, maximum an hour, two hours to make the finished style absolutely beautiful using those techniques. So what I´m always doing during a show is juggling on stage, keeping people´s attention, keeping people´s energy up.
A very important question for me — Tony Rizzo and Alternative Hair Show and other hairdressing charity shows — are they important to you?
They do a great job, yes. Tony Rizzo does an amazing job of raising money and keeping the awareness of leukemia very focused in the mind of hairdressers in the United Kingdom. So, I´m very much in favor of hairdressing for a charity.
Patrick, what are the roots of that positiveness and happiness that you are glowing with?
I tend to put a very positive spin on things. I always try and look for the best in people. I really don´t see the bad in people until they do something bad, you know. I want to share with them, and I want people to feel that I´m personally talking to them when they come to my shows...because I am!