#ICanDoThat Episode 17 with Didier Malige

In the 17th episode of #ICanDoThat Jonathan Joseph and Rachel Elspeth Gross, interview Didier Malige. Little Red Fashion introduces Little Red Village and its first interview series #ICanDoThat on instagram. Our #ICanDoThat campaign is a one-question interview for our IGTV that asks industry professionals across disciplines to respond to the question: "What advice do you have for a kid who wants to do what you do within fashion?"


The video of this interview can be found here!


 Live: August 12th, 2021



Jonathan Joseph


Jonathan Joseph  00:00

Hello everyone and welcome to another installment of I can do that here part of Little Red Fashion Little Red Village initiative so that we can show the next generation of fashion lovers, leaders, and creatives, all the different careers that they might be able to have within the world of fashion.


Jonathan Joseph  00:17

Today's episode is a little different than our usual. Unfortunately, Rachel is unable to be with us because she is tending to her daughter who we are sending all of our love to because she is unfortunately not feeling well. And so we are wishing her a speedy recovery.


Jonathan Joseph  00:32

Today's guest as it were is the renowned French coiffure and hairstyle hairstylist Didier Malige who is an icon in the world of French Hair Design and was so kind to spend a little bit of time Little Red Fashion to sharing some of his insights in his over 40 years of experience, on sets working with some of the biggest names in fashion, whether that is houses like Prada, or with Heidi Sigmund at Dior, or, you know, with renowned photographers like Richard Avedon,  Patrick Demarchelier, and others over his career, he has really done something that I think is really phenomenal, in so far as letting the hair paint and I think, looking at his profile and all of his work in his portfolio, you really see that he isn't too fond of hair that is to any structure. And it's not really that surprising, because when he got his start in the business at the tender age of 14, at the world renowned can reach a salon can be the sisters, of course at the time in the 60s, were the kind of the clemency puts it and really set the bar for Parisian high society, and had over 100 stylists working at the time in the salon when he was able to secure that apprenticeship.


Jonathan Joseph  01:59

 In fact, during his conversation with Rachel, he really, you know, highlighted how important the idea of apprenticeships really are. And lamented the fact that so many promising fashion and design students are pushed to schools that, especially in America are so expensive, when really what he feels is so beneficial is the idea of just being able to watch a master at work to be able to watch and absorb and really just be in the mix in order to learn a craft to the point where one becomes a master. And so his three years at Carita were really spent absorbing as much as he could before he moved to Jean Louis David salon, and was really able to take the reins in terms of a studio practice, you know, he did not really spend much time behind the chair working directly on clients. And it wasn't really something that also interested him in that sense.


Jonathan Joseph  02:56

He was really kind enough when we asked him, you know, what was his day like, what is a typical day like for him, you know, he likes to get into the salon likes to get on set to round into the studio at eight in the morning, and then doesn't really know when it ends. And so, you know, he really pointed out that day tends to go by faster, if you love the work that you're doing. And I think that is a theme that we've seen in a lot of these I can do that interviews, where passion drives you to move forward. And so Didier highlighted the fact that if you love what you're doing, if you are passionate about the work that you are producing, not only does your day goes by faster, but you are more invested in it, it's much more organic. And so to the young folks watching, and to anyone watching, really, if you are considering a career in any part of fashion, especially hair, make sure he says that you really want this, that you genuinely want to be a part of the fashion machine before you go into it. Because there is so much asking for those in the world of fashion that is much easier if it's genuinely something you love, and you're not trying to fit a square peg into a round hole is it work because that's really where tensions arise and where things you know can drag on. That isn't to say that, as he says every day is going to be something you absolutely adore. There's of course going to be days that are harder than others or you're not doing exactly what you love and dreamed about. But that because we love the work those days will be much easier and the days where you are doing exactly what you dreamed about maybe working with a photographer that you admire or a particular stylist or for a particular campaign for a house that you really love. You know he's having worked with Louis Vuitton with many other of the creme de la creme of fashion houses. Yeah, highlighted that you know, loving it makes those harder days easier and those amazing days, all the more fulfilling and all the more exciting, you know.


Jonathan Joseph  05:02

Rachel had asked him, you know what his earliest fashion memory was and, and really he highlighted that it came progressively, he didn't really start reading fashion magazines until he was, you know, in his teenage years 14, 15 working at the character salon, and really starting to immerse himself in that world and in the world of fashion, being surrounded by you know, French aristocrats as celebrities, like have read the news, and really the top of Parisian society, you know, being in that environment led to his nurturing his love of fashion and aesthetics. And, you know, absolutely mastering his craft as a hairstylist over time, which is what led to him leaving after about three years, the iconic Carita salon to go to Jean Louis David, where he was then able to nurture his studio practice, and really start coming into his own as a stylist on set, creating these narratives that highlight an impact the aesthetics, one of the things that I thought was really interesting that he brought to the fore of the conversation was that as a hairstylist, so often his creativity is mediated through photography. So having that relationship with a photographer, really speaks to the collaborative vision of fashion as a field is something that, through these I can do that interviews, we also try to translate for our viewers like you that fashion is inherently collaborative, it does take a village. And so for the young people who are interested in a career in fashion in any capacity, but especially hair, you have to be able to work with people, as he said, in his conversation, you may not be best friends with these people, but you have to be able to work with them. And you have to be able to come to a collaborative vision in order to create the end result that achieves the needs for a client and also expresses that inner creative drive that you have as someone who is working collaboratively to create something static, that it speaks to the needs of the brand and speaks to your portfolio as an individual creative.


Jonathan Joseph  07:12

You know, I think that one thing I took away from the conversation with Didier is that it is absolutely the mark of a true fashion creative, that we're all trying trying to be apart of something bigger fashion with a capital F is a collaborative ecosystem, that brings the best out of everyone who's on set, whether they are a photographer, a stylist, a hairstylist, the designer, the model, etc. And, you know, he spoke to the changing world of fashion over his four years within the industry, where when he first began in the 60s, it was very much that the hairstylist came on set, they set the hair into a very sort of rigid structure, and then they left and models had a lot more agency in terms of being able to tweak the hair a little bit, or they were able to fix it themselves, because they were used to that salon culture was a bit different, you know, you would go in every couple of days for your roller set, and you would be able to take care of a coiffure However, now it's a much more controlled environment. And you are, you know, some stylists prefer to set it and forget it as it were, and others are tweaking it shot for shot and changing a little bit of this and a little bit of that. And it's all about creating a dynamic and creative crucible where everyone on set can be working together to achieve the outcomes necessary. And so back to his point about hair being a bit unique in that it's always translated to the consumer to the viewer, through the medium of photography, I think struck me as really important because one of the things we all sort of agreed on is that the best kind of work, as Rachel will often say, feels like play. And so the idea that a set can be a place where different types of creatives within the world of fashion come together like a sandbox to play together is really impactful. And I think it's something that really speaks to the unique nature of fashion creatives. And part of why we started Little Red Fashion in order to give kids an insight into the different skill sets that will benefit them moving forward to make it easier to tap into that creative play as they get older that make it easier to build those meta creative skill sets that really speaks to what they will be doing if they do go into fashion in the future as adults. And so I think one of the things, you know, given all the challenges that Didier had to overcome as a creative in the field.


Jonathan Joseph  09:45

You know, we asked him what sort of advice he would have for skills that young people  can cultivate in order to be more successful within the industry if they choose to go into it. If there are young budding hairstylist out there. What can they do? And the one thing he said, one of the things was to follow trends to find what inspires you, and really dive into it, to sink your teeth into it, and also to surround yourself with good people. Again, that's one of the reasons we create these videos every Thursday for everyone, because so many young people who are interested in fashion who maybe don't live in an urban center, or don't live in a major fashion metropolis, where they can easily knock on doors, or reach out or have connections through the grapevine to get these insights from industry professionals direct from the horse's mouth, or in this case, direct from my mouth direct from the horse's mouth. Because unfortunately, scheduling sometimes makes it difficult, but with the Didier myself, and Rachel wanted to make sure to get his insights to as best we could. And so I hope that you guys are able to really pull from this conversation today. Some of these key points about really making sure if you're a young person that you really want to get into this creative, collaborative world of fashion, that you are surrounding yourself with the best sort of people who bring out the best in your creative voice and creative vision, similar to Didier, that you can understand that you don't necessarily have to go the academic route. And that, frankly, there's no replacement for being able to directly observe those who are already masters of their craft, so that you can pick up on the things that they're doing, and the ways and methods that you can copy Didier Make sure to highlight that in the beginning, most of what you're doing is copying and following what someone who does have experience is doing and that's perfectly normal and part of the creative process, and part of any comprehensive growth trajectory for those in the creative field. And I think personally, that that applies to every field of fashion, professionalism, whether that is hair, photography, makeup, whether that is sewing you know, so much of what is learned in fashion is best learned by shadowing and is best learned by observing and is best learned by getting in the trenches, getting your feet wet, and just learning by doing I think that was the biggest thing that I took away from the conversation Didier, you know, and really think is essential to moving forward as a fashion creative. And for young kids watching, you know, absorb be a sponge, look for as many inspirations as you can start following and tracking trends so you can see what you like and also absorb the culture.


Jonathan Joseph  12:31

You know, one thing that came up a number of times within this conversation with Didier was the idea of references, and how often he needs to pull them in order to communicate with the client and get on that same page to create the end result that is the most beneficial to everyone involved. Because being able to pull a reference being able to be articulate in the land of references and link them together so that a campaign is cohesive and cogent is so important. One of the other things, you know, is really that you just have to keep doing it, you just keep doing good work. And sometimes it takes some bad work to get to the good work. Nobody starts as an expert, everyone who is a master was once an apprentice and so similar to what Sandra said, in our black gold tapestry, you just have to take it, which by the way, is one of our earlier episodes, you should definitely check it out. Take it a little bit at a time every day is a chance to get a little bit better than you were yesterday. And I think that's definitely something I took from the conversation with Didier as well.


Jonathan Joseph  13:35

And it's something that underscores a lot of these items are that interviews that we've done here over the past number of months as we roll out this content because for me, even though sometimes it may seem repetitive, that we have so many people commenting on being patient and being tenacious and being able to push through. Yes, it's repetitive for a reason. Because as you see across all these different creative set skill sets, whether it's embroidery, sewing, tailoring, hair, makeup, everyone seems to speak to this idea of pushing through of being patient of finding that fire within yourself that gets you through those days that are tough, and makes the days that are exciting and ideal. All the more worth it. And so I hope from this conversation with Didier and some of the things that we've talked about here today through his 14 years of work, you know, I hope it resonates. And I hope that anyone who has a creative child in their life that is interested in hands that is interested in makeup, but is interested in fashion design, really take that to heart and really it is so important as Didier in this conversation, that they have a supportive family. That's not to say as tdss that they need to tell them you know, you're amazing all the time. But knowing that you have that support knowing that you're understood knowing that you're creating voice has a safe place to express itself and explore its possibilities is so essential to developing confidence in creative skill, because that confidence and creative skill is what further drives passion to take it from interest in hobby to vocation and career. And I think that was something I also really took from the conversation between Didier and Rachel that I was party to because it was such a great way to underscore a lot of the points we've talked about in a number of these interviews over the past couple of months.


Jonathan Joseph  15:34

If you're just joining us for the first time for I can do that and our Little Red Village interviews here at Little Red Fashion, I absolutely encourage you to go to our igtv. And look back at some of the other interviews that we've done with some amazing folks here many past Thursdays and every Thursday, moving forward at 330. Eastern.


Jonathan Joseph  15:53

I hope you've enjoyed this somewhat less than traditional format for today, I, again, am extending my heartfelt sympathies to Rachel and her daughter and hopefully that she has a speedy recovery from this little cold that she's got. And you know, obviously as a family friendly company, are we 100% support her doing her mom duty, it is not easy. And God bless all of the moms out there who are just rolling with the punches of life. Sometimes you cannot predict when something will strike and we want her to be able to feel as empowered as possible to do everything she needs to do to make sure her family is taken care of. Which is why I was happy to take the reins and really translate some of these key points from today's interview with Rachel, for you are amazing followers.


Jonathan Joseph  16:39

Make sure thing you are following us here on Instagram @littleredfashionco if you haven't yet, please sign up for our mailing list at www.littleredfashion.com and preorder a copy of the digital title of The Little Red Dress $9.99 because it is dropping soon the digital title will be coming out in the next week or so we are very, very excited. And stay tuned this Thursday, every Thursday at 3:30pm. Eastern Standard Time for another episode of I can do that part of the Little Red Village initiative here at Little Red Fashion. I am Jonathan Joseph, thank you so so much for joining us. And especially thank you to the incomparable Didier Malige for sharing so many wonderful insights with the Little Red Fashion team that we're able to pass along to you as part of Little Red Village.


Jonathan Joseph  17:27

I hope you all have an amazing day. I hope at least some of you are also not in a heatwave. I'm sorry, I've been sweating through this and higher live but I am looking so forward to seeing you all next week for another installment of I can do that. Thank you, everyone.

Jonathan Joseph


Little Red Fashion Creator and CEO Jonathan Joseph is a fashion loving visionary & consultant who's loved fashion since childhood. After consulting in the luxury space for a bit, he was inspired to write The Little Red Dress. From there he realized kids who love fashion lack the same level of targeted resources from books to tech that their peers who love music or sports have had for ages. Our entire vision is dedicated to his mom, Margaret, who started his love of fashion as a kid looking for unique socks to cover his leg braces!


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