Way back in 2008, a friend introduced me to Myles Laphen. He was uber talented and a truly unique artist when it came to his work. It wasn’t long before he ended up being featured in the magazine I co-owned. We became close friends over the years. I lived in Richmond and he downtown so get-togethers weren’t that frequent, but I was always checking out the new creative work he posted. He creates fantasy hair sculptures like no one else and his costume design is over the top. I’ve had the privilege of watching him demonstrate at hair events and see him take the stage at Brief Encounters to perform a collaborative piece with Flamingo dancer Rosario Ancer.
In all that time, I had always used a stylist 5 minutes from my home for convenience. Then I came back from holiday to hear my guy was off work for a year due to health problems. What to do? Who to trust? I couldn’t think of anyone better than Laphen. Unaware what great changes he had in store for me, I booked an appointment. I walked in assuming he’d just go with what I had been sporting for the last several years. Not a chance. He quietly talked with me about possibilities and what he could see as a great new, edgier look that would complement both my hair type and who I was.
With great courage I committed to the nine month process of slowly reshaping my coif.Laphen definitely took me out of my comfort zone with a few of his choices, but it wasn’t long before the compliments started. And it never stops. Every time I go in his creative juices are full of possibilities – minor tweaks to keep it fresh. While I continue to trust his vision implicitly I have to admit, sometimes I close my eyes.
8Q Spotlight Myles Laphen
What is your current career(s) – paid and unpaid?
Senior stylist, colourist at Avant Garde Hair Salon in Yaletown.
New team member at Shampoo Hair Salon in West Vancouver.
Fantasy costume designer and builder for various colourful Vancouver artists.
Photo shoot and fashion show stylist.
Can you share an interesting thing (or two) about your journey to reach this moment?
I have always been creative. I recognized my abilities and fascination within the creative world at a very early age – I’m talking preteen – and even though young, quickly learned to know and to trust my instincts. Like the Gloria Gaynor song says, ” I am what I am.” I knew my skills and tastes were there for a reason, I just had to trust the universe to guide me along the path. It has, in fact, worked well! One of the things that brought me to my destination was the need to escape at an early age, combined with a youthful fearlessness! I left home at age 17 and started this fantastic journey of self discovery which brought me to Vancouver in the 80’s! It was a time of openness that I had never witnessed before. Without that foundation of discovery, I would not be who I am today.
What would you like people to know about you to give them a sense of who you really are?
- I have a feverishly high creative need! That has to be expressed.
- I am a ” half glass full” kind of person!
- My attention to details means “the job gets done”
- I am attracted to positive energy!
- Talent makes me weep! Truly!
- I prefer odd balls to conformers.
- Stress does not exist, it is created! I have never let it control me!
- There is nothing in the world like a walk in the rain!
Highest moment so far?
There has been so many! Truthfully, it’s very hard to pick a favourite. Keying hair and makeup for the opening games of the Winter Olympics. Working on “La Cage Aux Folles” in the 80’s was dream come true. Working on Bette Davis’ last film and Pamela Anderson’s fashion shows. Meeting Patti Labelle and handling her wigs left me quivering like an idiot! All of the talent from The Vicki Gabereau show I worked on for few years. Costuming the entire staff of Sky Bar several times for various events!
Many times I have found myself in some wickedly creative outrageous situation and I would think, “This is the craziest thing I have ever seen!” and then something else would top that – film, theatre, television, videos, photo shoots, fashion shows to name a few! Too many too list! But I think what moves me is the constant changing creative energy of the people I work with and their mind blowing talents!
What are you working on right now? In the next 6 months?
Right now I am working on a beaded ball gown for an opera singer complete with a faux fur stole and jewelry! I also have several creative photo shoots and fashion shows in the works. There is a jewelry runway fashion show coming up that I am key hair stylist for, a music video and a photo shoot in the works as well!
Who and/or what inspires you?
The universe….. I say this because I have found many, many times as I have been on my path or journey, exactly what I need is placed right in my lap at the right time! Learning to trust was a process as all learning is. Any request I put out to the universe has been brought to me!
How do you personally define success?
Success is truly all about happiness – self love first and foremost – then being aware of the possibility of joy. And what a waste unhappiness is! After that the rest comes. And health – our bodies are the most important gift we have. So many of us do such toxic things to our containers. I believe that without balance you cannot be described as being a success.
If you could collaborate with anyone on a project who would it be and why?
It would have to be two people for sure – one no longer living and the other one still kind of living – Bob Fosse and Bob Mackie. Bob Fosse because his Genius choreography has moved me in my life to places that I cannot even begin to describe! And Bob Mackie’s award winning designs are things that I try to achieve in some of my work he really is inspiration for most of what I do. I’ve always thought that if Bob Mackie and Bob Fosse had a son I would be it!
Vancouver Bookings – www.avantgardehair.com/ (Top Salon in Yaletown for over 30 years with a strong, creative team)
West Vancouver Bookings – www.facebook.com/ShampooKC (Shampoo is a posh privately owned salon With a relaxing environment catering to West Vancouver Clients)
Instagram – avantgardeyaletown
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