Master Session Stylist for L’Oréal Professionnel Joseph Dimaggio began his high-octane career as a high-fashion hair stylist on a lark, cutting bandmates’ hair backstage while touring as a musician. Since making the career jump from musician to hair stylist, Dimaggio’s vocation has been a nonstop train to the top, landing him the lead stylist spot at some of the most world-renowned designers’ New York Fashion Week runway shows. He credits Odile Gilbert, the lead on the first big runway show he did (Rodarte), for giving him his first big break: “She is the epitome of beauty and high-fashion hair. This opportunity was such a blessing, and I made the most of it.” Now, Dimaggio travels the world working on photo shoots for ad campaigns, and averages fifteen shows during new york Fashion Week. His resume includes working for ad campaigns and celebrities like Calvin Klein, Dior, Vivienne Tam, Zac Posen, Phillip Lim, Jason Wu, Elie Saab, Lady Gaga, Justin Timberlake, Cyndi Lauper, and much much more. I was able to catch up with Joseph to answer a few questions for Amelie G.
You started your career as a drummer. Tell me about the transition from musician to session stylist. What pushed you to make the jump, and what are some parallels between the two?
I was playing in bands and touring all around North America for a while when I picked up a pair of scissors for the first time. I was living that punk-rock life, and it’s raw and artistic. Having no formal training, i just started chopping into my hair, which turned into me cutting the bands’ hair too. The defining moment from all of this was when I was cutting a girl’s hair on the Warped Tour. When I finished the cut, I asked her to let me know what she thought. So she comes back in tears, and I’m like “Oh boy,” but she said, “Thank you so, so much. I love it. I feel like myself for the first time.” I was so blown away, and that moment has stayed with me since. I decided to go to school for hair and take it seriously. It was an easy transition to make, and I still totally enjoy throwing down on my drum set when I get time.
Once you realized you had an innate talent for styling and began doing it more, what type of formal education did you seek out? And now, as an educator yourself, what importance do you place on continuing education?
I took some advanced classes to learn the foundations of cutting and styling. I knew from the beginning that further education was key to anything and foundation is totally where anyone should begin. Whenever I teach now, I have a strong emphasis on foundational details, proper technique and doing everything with intent. My advanced education teaches the “why” behind what we do, which to me is the most important and the only way to raise the standards and awareness of our industry.
You are a Master Session Stylist for L’Oréal Professionnel—first, what does that mean exactly?! And what career moves did you make to reach that level?
Yes, I am the master session artist for L’Oréal Professionnel. It’s a brand new endeavor and is still in its growing phase, but has been an amazing experience so far. Recently, L’Oréal Professionnel gave myself and a great colleague of mine, Amit Abraham, the task of putting together and managing the first L’Oréal Professionnel session team, comprised of hair stylists who work in the editorial side of hair and are amazing at what they do. As a team, we do events, and represent the brand backstage at Fashion Week as one team, a growing force within the fashion and hair world.
Describe your relationship with L’Oréal Professionnel. Why L’Oréal?
I began with L’Oréal Professionnel three years ago as an educator, and it’s easy to explain why in one word: professional. They truly put meaning into that word with everything they do. I always want to align myself with the best out there, meaning the best quality, values, and integrity the company holds. To me, this is hands-down L’Oréal Professionnel. I immediately felt like part of a family as soon as I set foot on the scene. I had to work really hard to get to where I am today, but they have provided me with opportunities beyond my dreams, and I wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.
Describe your first experience working on a designer ad campaign and big runway show. What’s it like working with designers whose names you’ve always known? What’s been your biggest “OMG” moment?
I have had a lot of “OMG” moments, but one of the most special ones for me was actually this past season. I had the pleasure of working with the team from Timo Weiland. From the very start, it was an absolute pleasure and ran perfectly smoothly. Their team and my team worked like a well-oiled fashion machine. So the moment that really stood out for me was when I got a chance to breathe and walk out on the runway. It was absolutely breathtaking, and to see the excitement and joy on the designers’ faces as the girls walked gave me the amazing feeling that my team and I showed up, did our jobs and crushed that show. Nowhere else could one experience this indescribable feeling. It was truly awesome.
As a man in the industry, what is your personal regimen? Are you very particular about your own hair?
Oh man, I love this question. I truly am not a personal regimen kind of guy. I am so busy helping others be beautiful and creating things that it doesn’t leave much time for myself. I am super particular about the cut, but not the style at all. I am always wearing a hat, but when I do cleanse and style my hair, I like our Homme Tonique men’s shampoo, and Homme Clay, or just bar soap! I’m on the road a lot, and low-maintenance, so sometimes I like that gritty rough texture bar soap gives you!
What’s in your bag? What products do you never leave home without for a job?
I never leave home without these things. I can create a lot of different things and make do on very little, but I always have these things:
Valera 9200 Swiss Nano Dryer
Croc Premium Flat Iron
Mason Pearson Brush
YS Park 103 Small Tail Comb
PRODUCTS: L’Oréal Professionnel
Infinium #3 (working spray)
Volume Expand Spray (root lift/ texture spray)
Curl Satin (conditioning, bodifying mousse)
Fresh Dust (hair refresher)
Mythic Oil (easily the best oil on the market)
Homme Clay (matte texturizing clay)
These things are must-haves, and I can’t leave home without them in my kit.
You came down to New Orleans for New Orleans Fashion Week, Spring/ Summer 2012 season to lead the hair team for runway shows and conduct an educational workshop for stylists. What is your relationship with NOLA FW?
Well, I got an email from Andi e\Eaton [creative director for NOLA FW], one of my favorite people now, saying I was recommended by a great mentor of mine, Randy Taylor. She told me about the event and asked if I’d like to be a part of it. I immediately was humbled and honored that I was considered, and instantly said I’d love to. I was super excited to just be a part of something that would mean more to me than just personal gain or exposure. I had an amazing experience with the people of NOLA FW and the people of New Orleans, and would be honored to do it again anytime.
What’s next on your agenda? Where do you go from here?
I’m working on heading down to South America to be part of an amazing initiative called “The Trade”. With the support from our friends over at Hatori Hanzo shears, we hope to take as many kids off the street and away from child trafficking as possible by teaching them how to cut hair and build salons; by giving them a purpose and a life they normally wouldn’t be able to have, and by giving them hope and keeping them focused on something positive. If i am able to give someone the same feeling as when I cut that girl’s hair, OMG, that would be awesome on so many levels. Other than that, gearing up and training my team for next season’s NYFW, then heading over to Paris to rock some shows there as well.
What are some summer hair trends? Any tips on the perfect summer ‘do?
Summer hair in general and right now is all about effortlessness. Let your natural beauty do its thing. L’Oréal Professionnel’s Mythic Oil will be all you need in your hairstyling regimen. Whether you wear it up in a quick braided knot or let your locks flow, don’t try too hard. It’s SUMMER!
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