Leonard Mattis has the sexiest hands on earth…
He also happens to be a highly regarded Sydney hair stylist with a super cool studio space that has become the local hub HQ of artistic showcasing. This entrepreneurial, softly spoken creative has some exciting irons in the fire and it seems like the boy from London’s East End won’t be twiddling his thumbs anytime soon.
Leonard Mattis. In his own words….
Let’s get the basics out of the way…Born and raised in London’s East End. One of ten children. Seven sisters and two brothers. Never a dull moment.
Until recently I had always thought I fell into hairdressing by mistake. I was walking down East Ham High St and jumped on the first advertised job I saw. I always joke and say I could have been a Butcher or a Baker. Apprentice required: 45 quid a week – was better than nothing I thought. That was the beginning of my passion and love affair with the craft of hairdressing.
Looking back now, however, my introduction to hair actually came from my mother back in the 80s. She really was a woman of many talents. I remember our kitchen always being full of friends getting their hair cut and permed by Mum. She had no formal training, just a knack for the creative (I guess with 10 kids you had to). Generally gossiping over a cuppa, smoking ciggies, and playing music (was usually UB40 with Mum). I was always there, handing up perm papers and combs while she showcased her talents.
In retrospect, I guess you could say I really didn’t fall into hairdressing by mistake, but was instead guided somehow, and certainly inspired, by Mum.
I worked in the East for a few months before moving to the West End and getting a job at Smiths Salon, in Soho. Here I learned the foundations of my craft. The energy and creativity were vibrant and was a great environment for someone who had a lot to learn.
I made the move to Sydney, for love, in 1998. Not long after arriving, I started work with award-winning hairdresser Anthony Whitaker where I stayed for am amazing four years.
I always knew I would work for myself someday. My mind was busy with ideas, ones that can sometimes be hard to implement when you’re working for someone else.
I founded Leonard Mattis Studio in 2002. The process began with the desire to change the traditional salon experience for both client and hairdresser, and to answer the need for a more personalised and relaxing experience. The introduction of the gallery side of the business happened in 2012, which took the studio to a whole new level. Now a pseudo art gallery providing a rare fusion of local art and high-end styling.
The art side of the business meant that my network expanded and as a result the hairdressing side of the business grew. Within 18 months I has to stop taking on new clients in order to manage my existing ones, who were already waiting almost two months for an appointment.
Being no stranger to change, in September last year, I decided to take a break from cutting hair. It was a tough decision to make, but after 17 years I was feeling the pull to create space and pursue new creative ventures.
After a 3 month hiatus, January saw me returning to cutting hair two days a week. The rest of my time is dedicated to creatively directing the ‘Leonard Mattis’ brand.
Clients and friends will know that for the past 18 months I’ve been gathering a team of talented professionals to help me produce my first line of hair care products. From packaging design to orchestrating the development team my vision has been at the heart of everything, and expansion is part of that vision.
Development stage is well underway and the products are currently being trialled on varying hair types and textures.
The ‘Leonard Mattis’ range of hair care will consist of 6 products, all authentically formulated and produced in Australia. Launching globally in the luxury cosmetics market January 2016 (Australian summer).
Each individual product will be made up using a combination of unique Australian essential oils and extracts. As a whole, the range will paint a portrait of the Australian landscape. A story of pride and provenance.
The intention is to assist in bringing awareness to the importance of sustaining the Australian landscape, not only as a destination, but also as a unique source of health and well-being. In turn, promoting how the raw material of our native flora are some of the best alternative health and beauty solutions the world has to offer.
All products will be produced with a distinct focus on quality and simplicity.
For me, my creativity flows from a feeling. Ideas that hum and buzz around, until eventually I have to action them. Taking risks, and jumping into the unknown. Into a space full of possibilities (just like walking down East Ham High St in the beginning).
Leonard Mattis, Lexi Land & Kiki Sjoberg Collaboration
Location – The Leonard Mattis Studio
Exhibitions at The Leonard Mattis Studio
2014 – Lexi Land exhibited at The Leonard Mattis Studio. ‘Bone Palace Surreal’. I was there, and it was a theatrical and spellbinding feast for the eyes.
Lucas Grogan X Skarfe Collaboration
2014 – Melbourne based artist Lucas Grogan & Skarfe (Brad McGlashan) collaboration. Contemporary art met wearable street style magnificently. I know because I own one. Best gift ever.
Events in May
The Leonard Mattis Studio will be hosting exhibitions for photographers Kiki Sjoberg and Byron Spencer this month as part of Sydney’s Head On Festival.
‘Lay of the Land’
Opening Night – Tuesday May 19 6.30pm
Exhibition 20th – 1st June 2015
Sponsored by Two Birds Brewing.
8 Fitzroy Place, Sydney 2010
Opening Night May 6 6.30pm (RSVP Door List Only)
Exhibition 7-18 May
8 Fitzroy Place, Sydney 2010
Sponsored by Two Birds Brewing, Stolen Rum, PHHHTO, The Front,
Photographer Kylie Coutts
Head On Festival 2015