Ten minutes with: D&M salon's Danny Pato

Sitting down for lunch with D&M salon Creative Director and co-founder Danny Pato can seriously take hours - he is just so amazingly passionate about hair, and his enthusiasm is seriously infectious. To hear him wax lyrical about all things hair, beauty, fashion and pop culture is a real treat, so when I got the chance to sit down at chat with him at Dizengoff café one wet and windy Monday we chatted about all of the above and plenty more.
The conversation kicked off discussing the salon’s beautiful new collection, titled Nomad, which Danny says expresses what they are all about more than any other collection before it. “It is all about culture, which has been at the heart of D&M from the day we first opened,” says the Art and Hair Director for the collection, adding “hailing from across the planet, we’re all nomads of sorts, which is what makes us who we are as a team.” He says from day one the salon has attracted stylists with heritages from all across the globe, with the current team made up of all manner of nationalities including Asian, Middle Eastern, Mediterranean and more. “It is always at the core of what we do too,” he adds, “and we love encouraging our staff to bring all of their influences into the salon and share what makes them who they are.”
Nomad marks the second collaboration between Danny and photographer Mara Sommer, who brings another culture to the mix with her Germanic heritage.
Drawing inspiration from various cultures from across the globe, the collection aims to celebrate cultural diversity with a twist, and each and every image brings to mind a myriad of nationalities for all who see it. The collection is made up of six images but references many more than just six foreign lands, “as we didn’t want to be limited in terms of the influences we could play with in each one. You can see references to the Chinese culture, to South America and Mongolia in there,” says Danny, “as well as Japanese and more.”
He started by concentrating on colour and texture, sourcing fabrics and imagery from all four corners of the globe. He says the collection was always going to be bigger than “just hair, as I wanted to say so much more and present a whole creative package”. He also became involved in the development of the collection more than ever before, taking time to research and draw the shapes of every image until he felt that he had every element exactly right. The multi award-winning hair expert also became a key stylist for the collection, extending his hand from hair to clothing, accessories and composition.
Clothing used in the shoot was largely from the collections of AUT Rookie fashion graduates, with student designer Morgan Hollis-Ward making several items specifically for the campaign. D&M have been involved in creating hair looks for the annual Rookie show for a couple of years now, and Hollis-Ward’s work caught Danny’s eye early on and made working with her a total no-brainer. “I showed her the concept and she loved it,” he explains, “and so we sat down over several meetings to get things exactly right. Then we got (well-known Auckland stylist) Rachel Morton on board to really finesse the final result.”
In three months’ time D&M will be releasing Nomad Part II, which will be an extension to the collection and even more cause for excitement. A short film directed by Garth Badger will appear then too, showcasing the huge amount of work behind the scenes that contributed to such a special result.


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