Dallas Alleman, owner of New Orleans’ Salon Du Beau Monde and the first Paris Parker Artistic Director, didn’t grow up wanting to be a hairdresser. First, he wanted to be a high school art teacher.
His original love of oil painting is what eventually led him to love doing hair—once he realized it can be approached as an art form. Now he approaches the technical training of his own team with an “art first” perspective, and we just have to share it, because it’s one of the most unique and creative technical education programs we’ve heard of. Before anyone on his team starts working on a guest’s hair, they first learn to draw. Yes, draw.
He has them start with a grid, and in two hours, even the novice artist has completed a full drawing using 1” square sections with a detail-oriented, thorough approach.
“It’s all about following technique,” says Dallas. “Good technique is what makes a haircut work. If you can become technical enough to understand what you’re doing and maintain a technical way of doing things, you can create anything. Then the real artistry is in making it your own— that’s what we do in the salon.”
It’s Dallas’ way of training the whole hairdresser, which in itself is like painting a picture. We love that we were able to experience his influence for so many years at Paris Parker as our Artistic Director and Aveda Educator.
In 1995, Dallas was ready to return to Louisiana. He’d spent decades traveling the world doing hair: an evolving London in the 70s, New York in the punk-infused 80s, a wellness-oriented New Mexico in the 90s. He’d even worked with celebrity clients like Carol Burnett and Julia Child, but he was ready to get back to his family.
So he approached Smokey.
Editor’s note: You know when you hear that name in the hair industry these days, you’re talking to a hair industry VIP. That’s a signal that this is someone who’s been working in the business long enough to have known a young Edwin Neill II in his sales rep days with Magnolia Beauty Supply, which would later become Neill Corporation, Paris Parker’s parent company. So at the mention of Smokey, this writer’s ears perked up in interest. This was about to get good.
Edwin and Dallas had known each other since the 70s, when Dallas worked as a hairdresser in Lafayette, Louisiana. In the 1980s they reconnected at an iconic hair show called “The Last Beauty Show,” which was produced by Neill Corporation. (Dallas was a creative lead on the show team for Jingles International, as the Artistic Director for their New York training center). The two men hit it off and stayed in touch; meanwhile, Dallas went on to open his own salon in New Mexico, which became a beta salon for Aveda’s hair color line. Somewhere along the way, the two became good friends.
So when Dallas felt called back to Louisiana, he called Edwin.
Edwin hired him to be the Artistic Director of the growing Paris Parker Salons, overseeing all training for the salon group. The two also worked together pioneering a “training salon” concept called Paris Parker Express, developing a new salon education model.
Dallas then took on education on a much larger scale. He became in charge of Aveda Technical Education for the whole Neill territory (essentially the entire region of the Southeastern U.S.). That meant when a salon decided to carry Aveda, they had access to Dallas’ education curriculum, which included many classes taught by Dallas himself. From teaching stylists about the Aveda products and how to use them to precision cutting and hot color techniques, Dallas delivered some of the most cutting-edge technical training our region had seen.
So what advice would he give today’s young hairdressers?
“You have to love what you do. It’s all about dedication and what you put in. Learn as much as you can— never stop learning. And right out of school, find a mentor— someone who can help you learn what you don’t know in a short amount of time.”
And though now many stylists specialize in either cutting or coloring (many at Paris Parker included), Dallas still prefers to do both himself.
“I can’t expect someone else to see my vision,” he says.
Spoken like a true artist.