Newly instated Creative Technical Director for Alfaparf Milano, Edoardo Paludo wowed Hair Expo 2017 with his neon colour work on the Main Stage in collaboration with Rod Anker. We sat down with Edoardo to discuss some of his most memorable career moments, his time in Australia, and where he loves to travel.
How have you found your time in Australia?
Edoardo Paludo: I used to live in Australia a very long time ago and I’ve been following it for many years now. I just see it getting better and better and better – I think it’s becoming better than British hairdressing. There’s a good energy. Hairdressing wants to grow and it almost feels like the younger generation wants to be better than what’s happening in Europe or the US, and I see some great photographic work coming out of the country. If you open a trade magazine, you can see a lot of amazing photographic work coming out of Australia. It’s surprising to me that the people who are doing this are very young.
It was a good opportunity for me to come out here and to catch up with old friends. I see them in Europe so it’s nice to see them in their own country.
How did you find Hair Expo?
Edoardo Paludo: We had a very nice little show, I personally don’t like these shows where you have millions of models on stage. I’d rather have less but at a good standard. You can pack the stage with hairdressers and millions of models, but I don’t think that’s what it’s all about. I like things to be done in a good way – less is more – if it’s done in an amazing way.
Generally, it was an amazing experience.
I saw the neon colour that you did on stage, which looked amazing. How did you find the reception was to that?
Edoardo Paludo: To be honest, I had a photographer come to me and say it was one of the best things they’ve ever seen at Expo. That is something that is very beautiful to hear. First, it makes you understand that the energy you put in – people appreciate that.
At the same time, I believe that if you don’t do a lot but do it well, people appreciate it. And it’s all about taste. Many times I’ve seen people using these very strong colours in a way which they overdo. I think when you use such a strong colour, it’s important to know placement, which is one of the first things; and how you use it and where you use it. When you use these strong colours, you don’t need to colour the whole hair. For example, in a very beautiful graduation, everything needs to be done with taste and balance. It’s very important.
Anyone can slap on some neon colours and everyone’s going to see it, but is it tasteful? It’s very important when you do colours to understand where you’re going. I think that’s what people appreciated about that look [at Hair Expo] and that’s why I think it was very successful.
Tell me about your partnership with Alfaparf Milano – how did that come about?
Edoardo Paludo: I’ve only been with Alfaparf in this role (as Creative Technical Director) for three weeks. I was working with davines for seven years; and before that, I was a technical director for 11 years with Trevor Sorbie.
Alfaparf has a completely different approach – they have products that I’ve never used before, the neons, for example. They’re beautiful products. They just need to be used in a way so that people on the street can wear them. I believe we can get people to wear them by doing them in a nice way – and I think that’s a message that we need to send, that we can do these things for normal people. Otherwise, there’s no point to having them.
I think hairdressers need to revisit and rethink the way we’re using colour.
You were saying before a little bit about your history. Were you based in the UK?
Edoardo Paludo: Yes, for 20 years in London. My family and I decided to go back to Italy, I thought it would never happen! I’m from Milan originally and I went to London. When I arrived, I fell in love and I thought I would never go back to Italy. But then your priorities change, the way you see the city changes. At the end of the day, I’m moving to a city, Milan, which is still a very interesting city.
It is, it’s a very fashion-forward city.
Edoardo Paludo: It is! And it’s changed a lot in the last couple of years. Everyone says to me, ‘you will be surprised by how different it is’. At the end of the day, London is only an hour-and-a-half flight, so we’ll still be connected.
Your roots are in Italy, but you still have a strong foothold in the UK. What is your favourite thing about each country?
Edoardo Paludo: London for me is not the UK – it’s a constantly changing city. The energy you feel in London is amazing in terms of creativity, design – I find it a very experimental city. I mean, there’s something that’s probably happened in the last few years – compared to when I arrived in London where you had lower income people who could still live there and experiment – unfortunately, the world is changing toward the money side.
And that’s a little bit sad because what I felt when I lived in London, was that young people could live there and they were feeding on the city and giving back to the city. Now it feels like the younger generation would struggle a bit more to settle in. Obviously, that’s how the world’s changed.
Italy is more relaxed; everything is slower and our cities are a bit smaller. I can see the real capital for what we do [hairdressing] – it would be Milan. In terms of design, fashion, you want to see Milan.
What is different between London and Italy? Italy has the better food [laughs]. London has got amazing restaurants, but I think… real food is like real people. And probably also the weather. You come from Sydney and you have the sun almost every other day. London can be quite a difficult place to live, it’s a very grey environment. I mean, we’re lucky because we do travel a lot, but you can see it on the people. When you go out, it affects you a lot.
You were saying you travel a lot for your job. Have you got a particularly memorable place that’s really stuck with you?
Edoardo Paludo: I’ve been travelling [for work] to the USA for the last few years and it’s surprised me. Before I was quite against going – the politics, all this. When you get there, you see a people who are very open-minded, and especially with hairdressing, you can go to a big city in the middle of the US and you still get the same energy. It’s like a thirst for learning, they want to learn and grow.
In terms of travelling, South America is probably the best place I’ve ever been. I’ve travelled on almost every continent but there’s no place like South America. Colombia I loved; it’s got the mountains, it’s the only country that has got the two oceans – the Caribbean side, the Pacific side, the Andes, the Amazon. It’s a little South America in South America. Nature, the music, the people – all these little ingredients combined together which make a country amazing.
In saying that, every time you travel you get amazed, and you realise that we’re all kind of the same. Good people are all over the world, good food is good food. In terms of what you feel when you’re in a country; the sun, the colours. That changes.
Taking it back to the Australian hairdressing industry, in your opinion, what’s something we could really improve on in Australia?
Edoardo Paludo: It’s like I was saying, I think people want to grow; hairdressing is growing 100 per cent. But I think what’s affecting it is the travelling side. Even though we have the internet and we can share our work, what is important to hairdressers is to see live things. When you see something live, it’s a completely different thing than seeing a picture or a video. I think that’s why Australian hairdressers work so hard – because it’s difficult for them to export their work worldwide. This is the only problem I see in terms of Australian hairdressing growing… But this is just a geographical situation, you can’t change that. I think what could happen, is that young Australian hairdressers might like to move to London or to New York or to Paris, or whatever so that they can feel closer to the action.
We’ve talked a little bit about how you’re moving back to Italy – you’re with Alfaparf now, so that would have been a good fit for you. Is there anything about Alfaparf Milano that really aligns with you?
Edoardo Paludo: Yeah, first of all, Alfaparf being an Italian company. There was something about Alfaparf since I was young. They had this product called Semi Di Lino many years ago. My father had three hairdressing salons in Milan, and I remember everyone wanted to have a Semi Di Lino treatment… I had just started as a hairdresser at the time – it was just a coincidence that I got into hairdressing. And after so many years, I’ve found Alfaparf again.
One of the reasons I wanted to join was because when I left davines, the phone started to ring – many companies came forward and asked me to work with them. When you do colouring it’s different to when you do styling. As a stylist, you might test the products but at the end of the day, you use your hands and scissors. When you join a colour company, you really need to make sure their products do perform.
Before you join you, of course, do your research – their branding, their marketing; but most of all, you check their products. As a colourist, that’s what we do, we colour hair. If you’re a painter, you just want to work with the best paint on the market.
When I tried Alfaparf, I was surprised by the way that the products really do perform. I met a very nice group of people, so everything linked. I went back to London and talked to my wife, and we decided that was the move.
Do you have anything on your career bucket list?
Edoardo Paludo: There are so many things I would like to do. I think what I would really like to do is create… I have a tool in my mind for colouring hair. Ultimately, this is something that I would like to do. Obviously, I can’t discuss it now, but I think this will make colouring more interesting and more fun. There are so many tools out there but I really believe this is a very fun thing.
Edoardo Paludo: Exactly.
In July I’m shooting my own collection and I would like to work with artists that aren’t involved in the fashion industry or the hair industry, but still do photography. I’m linking these two worlds – it’s a project that no one has ever done before. It’s an experiment and I’m kind of nervous about it, but I think it’s going to work.