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A 25-year partnership: Marco Erbi and Patrick Cameron

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Not many collaborations last a quarter century – but when Patrick Cameron met his future designer and creative collaborator, Marco Erbi, in a bar in London 25 years ago, a fantastic partnership was born.

Patrick and art school-graduate Marco got on like a house on fire. Marco was working in fashion but was feeling very disillusioned by what was happening in the industry and was considering returning to studying. Patrick’s career at that point was on the rise, his business partnership with Sue Callaghan was proving to be very successful and his reputation for producing amazing hair shows was gathering momentum but on the creative side, he was doing everything himself, from choreography to making the gowns for his models.

marco erbi patrick cameron
Marco Erbi

Marco offered to help Patrick, and the first project they worked on was the Royal Collection which was staged at the World Hairdressing Congress in London. It was a complete experience, submerging the audience into a world of long hair education, couture gowns and Patrick’s exuberant showmanship.

“Marco worked behind the scenes creating the beautiful gowns, ” recalls Patrick. “I had a few peeks at what he was doing but when I saw the finished collection, I was awestruck by how beautiful they were and how the couture complemented the hair I had created so perfectly.”

This early collaboration truly put Patrick Cameron Hair International on the map and founded their creative partnership that has stood the test of time and is now celebrating its 25th year. “I love the drama that Marco’s couture brings to my work” adds Patrick. “I have so many favourites from our first Royal Collection to Tango, Global Tribe, Visionaire and the beautiful retrospective Gold collection we did in 2010, where we chose our favourite looks from past collections.”

Over the years Patrick and Marco have developed a perfect formula combining their skills and creativity when preparing for a new season. Their year starts in October when the ideas for the forthcoming year are launched. They work very much like fashion designers, always planning a year ahead.

When Salon International is over that’s when they commence their conversations about next year’s work.

By December, Marco has put together sketches, samples of fabrics for the gowns and has started to pull together the concept for the collection and the look of the show.

Patrick stays in New Zealand over winter, and upon his return, work starts immediately on the collection. Patrick begins his work on mannequin heads, honing the techniques and creating the blueprint for his step-by-step guide to the collection, whilst Marco works on the couture, music and the concept.

Patrick and Marco are interested in all of the aspects of the creative process of putting a collection together, from photography and post-production to video. Having worked with the best in the business they decided a couple of years ago to do their own photography and production for their collections.

“Marco has a great eye and was confident in his ability especially with post-production – I knew we could do a good job,” says Patrick. “We know exactly what we are looking for, what our audience expects from us and what we have to produce to satisfy our global following.”

Over the years there have been so many stand out moments for Patrick and Marco. When working on the premiere of the movie “Trolls” at the Cannes Film Festival for DreamWorks, Marco rose to the challenge producing beautifully tailored gowns to complement the larger than life hair that Patrick created. “Marco has the ability to grasp the concept very quickly,” adds Patrick “He knows how to push ideas in a fashion-forward way. One of his most admirable abilities is how he always manages to capture future trends. A colour palette or texture in fabric that Marco uses is often found on the High Street the next year. He is instinctively creative.

marco erbi patrick cameron

“When I look back at our work, it really stands the test of time.

“The finger waves and androgynous tailoring from the Tango Collection are as relevant today as they were over twenty years ago. Each one is different, from the drama of Opera to the serenity of Goddess and the glamour of the Red Carpet, each one unique. The hair, costumes and show we created for Wella International Trend Vision in Monaco in 2015 are still spoken about today. I think our strength as a partnership is that we are continually developing and moving forward.

“We are a fantastic team at Patrick Cameron and we all make what we do work so well.

“Marco and I have had a fantastic friendship and creative partnership over the years from that fateful day in London 25 years ago, Marco has helped shape Patrick Cameron Hair International, he’s loyal, creative and passionate about what he does. What more could anyone want?”

You can view the pair’s 2019 collection, Heritage, here.

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