A large audience devoted their Sunday night to witnessing the future of the hairdressing industry – and they were probably pretty happy with their decision by the end of the evening. Hair Expo’s GenNext Gala – which partners with INSTYLE – is an opportunity to shine the spotlight on Australia and New Zealand’s up and coming hairdressing talents (of which there are so many) and an impressive array of seven shows had us looking forward to what’s to come.

Compered by former X Factor Host Luke Jacobz, the evening took on an appropriate reality TV feel and format – enlisting a group of legendary hairdressers to act as team mentors and an erstwhile judging panel, that provided laughs and commentary, speaking with the young hair directors after every segment. Caterina Di Biase, Emiliano Vitale and Lisa Muscat Vitale, Justin Pace and Dmitri Papas, and Stevie Corthine were the leaders in question, and their expertise and guidance added a new and important element to the show.

Before entering the audience, audience members were greeted by, well us – Team INSTYLE, giant Instagram photo frames in hand, for attendees to gladly snap photos and upload them with the hashtag #instylehairmag for a shot at a $4000 video package for their salon, courtesy of Big Review TV. Search the hashtag to see the results, and head to @instylehairmag to see if you were featured on our page. INSTYLE Editor Cameron Pine opened the show with Hair Expo’s Elli Julia, speaking about the significance of supporting and fostering young talent, and the role INSTYLE and Styleicons has in forging those early careers.

Team NZ

Sydney TAFE, mentored by the Vitales, kicked off the show proceedings with a conceptual, post-apocalyptic style performance, where our Katniss Everdeen-esque hero (with killer braids, may we add) made her way through a now sparse universe. She shared the stage with otherworldly creatures with Avant Garde hair and unique headpieces, mostly in whites and greys, who coordinated a thrilling dance routine around her.

Next Caterina Di Biase’s Artist Independent Team treated the audience to an artistic take on a night out, merged with some circus and carnival themes. Colourful, neon hair, bold hues, tribal beauty and a hoola hoop sequence were definitive show highlights.

2016 Apprentice/Student of the Year, Kelly Manu, and Team NZ, as mentored by Stevie English, created a very entertaining show dedicated to late and legendary musical icons (think Prince and David Bowie, who’s on screen close ups provided a backdrop for the show). Acrobatic dance routines wowed the audience, as did creative interpretations of these icons’ famous hair looks.

Team NZ

The Hot Shots Team, led by Justin Pace and Dmitri Papas, created a show set to a musical strings song, with the music impressively played by string musicians slash hair models on stage. Clad in sleek all black, the models wore interesting Avant Garde hair looks, from detailed short crops to bigger, bolder and all the more fashion-centric hair looks, all with an indisputably elegant air.

Hot Shots Team

Next up was the Menspire team, mentored by Caterina Di Biase, who created a meaningful show dedicated to the power of using hairdressing and barbering talents to help the less fortunate. After showing an emotional video of a Melbourne barber who cuts and shaves the hair of the homeless to give them a sense of confidence and help them with grooming, the stage show brought this concept to life, all with diverse and aspirational men’s cuts on the models.

Second last to present their show was the very talented Guillaume Foundation, mentored by the Papas and Pace boys, who provided the literal highlight of fire twirlers. The show had a dark and haunting feel and was centred on a natural theme, with a headpiece made to look like antlers acting as an Avant Garde hero look.

Lastly, the UK FAME Team, sponsored by Babyliss PRO, brought their British perspective to the stage, transporting the audience to a London fashion show, right there at the ICC. Some models walked on stage with wispy orbs of hair covering their entire faces, only for it to be taken away by FAME Team members to reveal new cutting-edge looks. Bright primary colours, irregular shapes and textures, unique fashion pieces and roving spotlights gave the final show a truly epic sense.


Presenters, models and mentors all returned to the stage once the show was done – revelling in a mixture of confetti and their own success. Hairdressing industry – say hello to the next generation.

Hot Shots Team

For more information visit hairexpoaustralia.com