It was his first time in the Harbour town, or in Australia in general, but Martin Parsons’ week long Sydney stay was also the 42nd city he’s visited through his education schedule this year. Complete with a stint at the Intercoiffure Australian Congress, a presentation at Granville TAFE and an in-depth two day workshop, Sydney audiences were enthralled by Martin’s skill, speed and humour.
Armed with nothing but a brush and bevy of bobby pins, Martin can demonstrate a myriad of different styles in quick and speedy succession. Building on a technique he has created that deals with specific ways of teasing, sectioning and pinning hair, Martin has a repertoire of hundreds of styles that serve to unleash the creativity in his audiences. “I have a technique so the styles that I do look a little different from other people’s hair. A particular way of teasing, assembling the hair and making the hair move,” he shares. “I was classically trained so it really helped me evolve to be modern but classic and a little bit innovative with techniques.”
Martin’s education portfolio is diverse, and that was shown in full in Sydney. His first night at Intercoiffure featured six looks in under an hour, while his two-day workshop taught sixteen up styles in incredible detail. By teaching his students the fundamentals of his techniques, Martin believes stylists can improve their overall styling speed, decrease their reliance on styling tools and access their own creative vision in a technically proficient way.
“The workshop is a process, the first thing I do is teach you how to pin fast, how to section the hair and put it together, how to control the amount of detail you get,” he explains. These are skills that will improve any styling career as a whole, and it differs greatly from his rapid fire shows.
The Canadian hair stylist is well versed in travel, having started his rigorous travel schedule after finishing beauty school decades ago. In that time he also managed to run a successful salon for over 22 years, and this experience endears him to his audience, with anecdotes, jokes and demonstrations that relate specifically to the salon experience of stylists. It’s no surprise then that Martin conducts in salon training in almost twenty cities a year. Show performances, seminar teachings and school visits, where Martin’s work is often taught in the curriculum, rounds out his schedule.
This adventurous lifestyle bares no shortage of experiences, from performing in Japan and China with an interpreter, and hearing the laughter from his famous jokes delayed by whole minutes, to presenting for famous faces and industry icons. “I did an Intercoiffure presentation in New York at the Waldorf Astoria many years ago, and in the front row was (legendary French hairstylist) Alexandre de Paris. I think I did ten models in 45 minutes, and in the end he was the first person to stand up. I thought ‘ok, I could die right now.’ He was such a magnificent inspiration for movie stars and glamour.”
Sydney stylists were fortunate to witness these distinct platforms for themselves. Martin’s night-time presentation on the 28th of October was part education, part entertainment, and was met with raucous approval. “Martin was an exceptional presenter with a very seasoned talent and demonstration skill set,” says Pure Hair Pure Body Managing Director Peter Elchaar. “His insight, effortless process and delivery of styling was superior and creative with a very practical approach. His infectious laughter and fun was something we seem to have lost in education in creating attention to detail, fabulous outcomes and flexible and adaptable styling.”
His two-day workshop, over the 2nd and 3rd of November, was an intensive, practical setting, where students practiced over sixteen long hair styles on mannequins. With Martin’s instruction, attendees learnt complex styles that they could complete in no more than half an hour in the salon.
At the heart of Martin’s persona is a great love for both education and creation. This inspires him to keep travelling to preach his techniques, continuously add to his stylistic repertoire and even design the elegant gowns worn by models during his shows, which now tally in the hundreds.
“I’m very disciplined, so I have times each month where it’s a practice day,” he says. “I just lock myself away and I see things in my head, because with my techniques, when you put them together, you can have hundreds of different looks. Each year I’ll have creation numbers that are the highlights of the shows but in different circumstances I’ll adapt them. I’m pretty spontaneous but in a disciplined way.”
Learning in turn from an Australian industry that left him awed and impressed, Australia learnt their fair share from the long hair legend too – now to make our cities a regular feature of his 45 date schedule.
For more information on Martin’s online classes visit http://styleiconseducation.com.au/course-catalog-list.aspx?cId=1&gId=4
Image 2 and 4 by David Lucas
INSTYLE would like to thank the TAFE Western Sydney Institute – Granville for their support of Martin Parsons’ Australian tour.
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