evo pulled a 200-strong Victorian crowd Monday evening for an education session like none other. Enter, The Lads.
Driven by our industry’s favourite ratbag-meets-hair-royalty slash evo International Education Director Grant Norton, The Lads concept draws on the power of individual. Like all good stylists, artists, hairdressers and makeup artists, there comes a time when you’re no longer in the business of education or styling per say, you’re in the business of ideas, and that’s exactly what this event is all about.
The ‘idea’ is totally unique – it’s a condensed (creative) hybrid of the person, their experience, lifestyle, values, peers, hardships, successes, goals and deep desires, and if executed correctly, is destined to educate translate and inspire for months, years, perhaps decades to come. Inspiration, really, is just borrowed. To manifest and communicate an idea takes an element of genius, and that The Lads of evo, Haircare Australia, certainly posses – the kind of money can’t buy factor that continues to progress the company, its brands and all involved quicker than you can mix a Fab Pro custom conditioner.
Stepping foot into The Lads ‘education room’ at Melbourne’s Gasworks, it was clear we were in for something different, a little left. The standard, elevated ‘respect please’ stage was replaced by a stretch of astro turf, and guests were encouraged to bring on in their complimentary tacos and sangria, picked up from the taco truck outside.
Even those who know little about the brand (how is it under that rock?) would know evo isn’t really inspired by anything or anyone else. It’s a humble, high-street luxury product filled with formulas that work and a palpable personality always up for the good times – not unlike its creators, The Gauvin family.
And a good time The Lads Melbourne event undoubtedly was. The second leg of the tour, Victorians welcomed Grant Norton, ‘Chumba’s Edgy Creative Guy’ Pete Koziell, owner/founder of Dare Salons Paul Dare (stepping in for Damien Rinaldo) and evo Creative Director Leonard Newton. The Melbourne stop was the second for 2014, following Brisbane and setting the tone for two, 2015 shows: Perth (May 25th) and Sydney (October 19th) – the Melbourne show was a sell out so get in quick.
First to the stage was Damien Rinaldo’s right-hand-lady, Boris the Cuttery’s Tiffany Decaux – joined by Grant Norton, the pair ran through a short yet monumental editorial section that doubled as an exclusive insight into Damien’s Hair Expo 2015 collection, shot just two weeks prior.
The presentation included a ‘Chain Mail’ look which consumed Tiffany from 9am till 1am the day prior and a beautiful mass of tonal plaits and braids, with a Rinaldo twist, of course.
“Damien came up to me a few weeks ago and said ‘I really want to put toothpicks in her hair,’” said Tiffany.
“I was like, ‘what?’ So those little sticks you can see poking through the plaits are toothpicks – we stuck them into a felt head and spray painted them black to achieve that real grungy, tribal feel,” she explained on behalf of her mentor.
Next to the stage; Leonard, Paul and Pete. Perhaps our favourite look of the evening was Leonard’s modern take on one of the hottest blondes of all time, Deborah Harry (check out our ode to the icon in INSTYLE Nov Dec!). The hit of modernity came in an electric lilac evo Fabuloso Pro colour, self titled: Violet Ice Ice Baby.
“We used evo Fabuloso Pro Violet and Blue with a touch of Platinum through the regrowth area, adding a hit of Chocolate for depth and dimension. Through the mid lengths to ends we toned with the Platinum – overall, achieving a monochromatic look that moved from your deep violet base to softer ends,” explained Haircare Australia Educator, Victoria/Tasmania, Eloise McPharland.
To achieve that soft-alternative Harry-sweep, Leonard elected his hero evo product Helmut Finishing Spray, Light.
“It’s my favourite product because of the versatility in shape that it delivers. It offers the option to really work with the spray, as in if you want to brush it out etc, and that’s why it’s the perfect tool for both the salon and photographic work,” said Leonard.
And to finish, evo’s latest addition, Shebang-a-bang Dry Wax Spray – definitely the star of the night as far as styling products go, with each presenter lapping up the new kid’s texturizing benefits.
Paul presented his version of Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element yet with deeper mulberry tones, plus a play on the anarchistic mullet.
“I’m creating this style a lot in the salon at the moment. In fact, I had a client come in just the other day, she’s 53 and I gave her a mullet,” said Paul to a gasping audience.
“She loved it! It took all the weight away and is a style that’s really easy for her to dress at home,” said Paul.
Flying the Chumba flag, Pete presented the only male look for the evening, reinforcing that need for constant stimulation we know and respect of Gen Y, plus a fetish for the fade – no clipper guard required.
“Not sure if I do fades totally different to everyone else, but those who know me, know I hate using clipper guards.”
“But I like using clippers because I’m Gen Y – I hate spending too much time on a haircut and I find these tools are really efficient. The fade epidemic is huge at the moment and we need to be confident working with clippers, you can’t achieve the same result with scissors,” said Pete.
“I’ve got my evo Comb Kit which is available for purchase through Haircare Australia and it’s the only comb set I use. I use the big basin comb to get the hair down to a number 3, and if I really push it into the scalp – a 2.”
Pete brought us a mowhawk with a square-shaped, elevated front – rockabilly style – finished with personal style-saviours, evo Box o Bollox and Crop Strutters. A finger-full of each, blended for that super-slick finish in high demand.
It was about this time that smoke bellowed onto the stage (the manufactured type) and the crowd sat stunned as a midget dressed as Yoda appeared, beer brimming esky in hand, to freshen the palette of guests. Grant Norton – ultimate ideas man. And the crowd loved it.
Pete’s second look was an evo Fab Pro masterpiece, once again a self-titled mixation – Marbled Blue Steel – the hue highlighted a shaggy-disconnected cut and played house to a stenciled undercut.
“I have a client who I bribe with unique stencils in exchange for maintaining her undercut,” said Pete.
“So I wanted to show you guys that technique. Basically, I’ve jumped online and printed off a geometric pattern and transposed that onto the shaved head using a humble sharpie pen or white board marker. Then, once I was happy I’ve gone through with neck trimmers and painstakingly created all the lines before carefully colouring with evo Fab Pro Pink and Yellow to accentuate the shape. It’s really about taking hair tattooing to the next level,” he said.
It was very clear that no real, pre-meditated concept for hair direction was asked of The Lads – the only request to draw from individual strengths, interests and ideas. And for this, the passion was loud and clear – the best platform for evo products to do what do they best, anything and everything but ‘ordinary.’
“With The Lads concept we really just wanted to work with individual people, so when the guys rocked up yesterday and said ‘what kind of work are we doing, what do you want to see?’ I really wanted to put the emphasis back on the individual artist,” said Head Lad, Grant.
“Sometimes I do think we end up following trends and conforming to different boxes and expectations, so it’s nice to see artists creating their own looks.”
Grant’s was a beautiful ladies-crop – elegant with edge and his signature undercut. Grant has long been an ambassador of short hair on women.
“One of the biggest tips I was given on styling short hair in my 20-odd-year-long career is ‘why are you blow-drying the hair so hot and fast?’ On short hair you really need to slow the hair dryer down and use a medium heat which enables you to control the hair a lot better. These days I find I have a lot more control,” said Grant.
Grant continued to explain that the importance of short hair is to deliver the content, or the message differently, “to inspire ourselves and keep ourselves motivated, and to also have a fresh conversation with the client.” This means approaching the cut with a new perspective every four-to-six weeks, “It’s a great way to connect with the client and keep on top of product performance,” he said.
And in classic evo style the night ended with a raffle. Classic evo because the prize pool consisted of – not only your expected fashion items including Sass and Bide eyewear – but Unicorn piñata’s and a meat tray. And guess which created the biggest stir? The steak and sangers’ of course.
evo – made by Australian’s, in Australia for Australian’s … and now around the world.
You can take the brand out of Australia, but you can’t take Australia out of the brand.