Qatar Stars: David Martinez

10 Mar 2013

We catch up with celeb hair stylist David Martinez, who has upped sticks from Paris and moved to Doha, to get some goss from behind the fashion scenes. Plus, his top tips for your tresses!

David Martinez has worked with some of the biggest names in fashion and T’Town and now he has taken up the role of Head Stylist at Qatar’s Blue Brush Hair Salon. He is loving his new role, which he says is much more human and personal, and believes that Qatar has huge prospects in the world of fashion – we find out more…

Welcome to Doha. What made you decide to leave behind Paris, the fashion capital of the world, and move here?
I grew up in a small city in the south of France and one day I decided that I wanted to move to the big world of fashion. I was 19 years old. I’ve worked in Paris for the last 15 years in the highest fashion circles and after having experienced all the glitz, glam and madness of it all, I felt it was time for me to explore something else.

You worked with celebrity stylist Orlando Pita for over 12 years – what was that like?
I consider Orlando Pita to be a master. I was his personal assistant for a few months in Paris. My first shoot with him was with Mario Testino and Carine Roitfeld in Les Deux Magots, a famous restaurant in St. Germain des Prés in Paris. I was very impressed and it was a stunning start. My first business trip with Orlando was to South Africa where we worked Nelson Mandela’s villa for a Versace event to support the Nelson Mandela Children’s Foundation. We styled so many of the world’s best known models including Naomi Campbell, Claudia Schiffer, Linda Evangelista, Cindy Crawford, Amber Valletta and Christy Turlington to name a few. I was 24 years old and I was living my dream. I subsequently worked as part of his restricted private circle of loyal assistants for many years and so he knows he can rely on me professionally and technically. We did the most beautiful hairstyles in haute couture mythical fashion shows over the last 10 years and worked with major fashion designers such as Dior, Elie Saab, Giambattista Valli, Louis Vuitton and Moncler.

Who are some of the biggest names you’ve worked with during your career so far?
I would say Emmanuelle Alt, French artist Bettina Rheims, Satoshi Saikusa, Valerie Belin and also the renowned photographer Sabine Pigalle.

Do you have any favourite A-list celeb clients?
I really admire Melanie Griffith, Kristen Scott Thomas, Gisele Bundchen, Lara Stone… there are so many.

There has been a lot of talk about Qatar hosting a fashion week. Do you think that could be a realistic possibility in the future?
I have been observing and following Qatar’s blossoming involvement in fashion over the past few years. Qatar is a country that is incredibly focussed on cultivating its people. Now, I honestly believe that it is finally time for fashion! I see more and more brands, exciting projects and interesting ideas in the pipeline. However, to make something credible and to give it the legacy of a true fashion week, Doha needs time to establish solid roots in fashion and to reach international standards. I really believe that a Doha Fashion Week could happen. My dream is to be backstage when it does.

The general thought is that the fashion world is full of divas – is this a myth? Have you come across many in your career?
No, it’s not a myth, it’s completely true! At the end of the day though, those divas may make you go totally crazy but it’s who they are and so you just smile and carry on.

Have you had any near disasters that you have needed to fix at the last minute?
We were on a little paradise island next to Bali shooting for Italian Marie Claire. There were monkeys everywhere. Suddenly one monkey stole a swimsuit out of the basket and ran away with it. The swimsuit happened to be the focal point of the entire shoot. It was a disaster. The stylist started to shout and everyone was running around trying to get it back. We found it a while later in such bad shape. It was destroyed but that’s how we had to shoot it. The poor photographer’s assistant had to retouch the image with Photoshop to hide the damage.

You are recognised as one of the world’s leading practitioners of the dry cut – tell us about its benefits.
I’m absolutely addicted to the dry cut and all the women who have tried it say they’d never go back to a traditional haircut. Jean Marc Maniatis is one of the French masters of dry cut and I learned it with him in Paris when I was starting my career. When I saw the cut I fell in love with the technique. It’s not very well-known or developed yet because it requires several years of practice. It’s not an easy technique but it has big advantages for the hair. First of all, hair is elastic, if you wet it and pull it, it stretches, so of course when it gets dry again it gets its natural movement back that may result in a  few surprises. Cutting dry hair means working with the real length, the natural movement and the specific texture of the hair – so no bad surprises. You can then style your hair without my help at home. Hair grows to its natural shape, therefore you can enjoy your cut for longer than a classical haircut. Self-styling becomes easier, in fact, you don’t even need it because I work according to your hair type.

The Doha climate can be a bit harsh on hair, particularly the humid summers. Any tips from the top about helping to keep hair looking good at certain times of the year?
I must emphasise that a good haircut is a must! When customers come into the salon for a dry cut I torture their hair and put it in a situation similar to real life in Doha. I make it frizzy, wavy and very messy. Then I cut it like that. If your hair looks perfect without being blow dried then you can experiment. As for easy tips, I would say to start with a good hair care routine. Use a good anti-frizz product before you blow dry. Also, blow dry hard, use a hot iron for more shine and finish with a good hair spray. But to be honest, there is no secret weapon against tropical weather. When we shoot in humid conditions we have to style hair three or four times.

If you had to pick, what’s your favourite part of your job?
Definitely changing someone’s look and getting an amazing smile back. That’s one of the main reasons I’m here now.

David shares his fave things about Qatar…

1. Truffle burgers at the W’s Market restaurant – absolutely delicious!
2. I really enjoy walking around Katara in the evenings, it’s so pretty there.
3. I love going to Trader Vic’s at the Hilton Hotel, especially when the Cuban band Vibe are playing live.
4. You can’t beat a night out at Wahm.
5. It’s amazing to go and watch the falcons. They  are such graceful birds.

INFO: David is head stylist at Blue Brush Salon, Hilton Hotel Doha, 4423 3333,  

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