Living In – Patrick Depaus
“The world continues to be a wonderful inspiration”, Patrick Depaus.
Belgium is his homeland, from where he set off to discover the world. Patrick Depaus is one of the best hairdressers in Portugal, a country which he adopted 34 years ago, to live and work. He opened his first salon in Estoril and, after more than a decade, he decided to open yet another salon, right in Lisbon’s heart, in one of the trendiest sports, Avenida da Liberdade – 245. A room decorated with simplicity, typically Belgium, opened from Tuesday to Saturday, where laughter and a good mood are mandatory… requirements!
As you as you step in, you will notice that all customers greet the team of Patrick Depaus with three kisses. An ingrained ritual and one that nobody will deem odd, only the newcomers, who quickly become accustomed to it.
The customers are mostly female, but many men, from different professions, sit on the white leather chairs of this beauty salon on a daily basis, owned by Patrick Depaus and Fernando Marques. “I arrived in Portugal in 1983, and the truth is that it happened almost by chance, pure luck. I had decided that I would not stay for more than a year and 34 years are gone already”, declares this professional, who, for three decades, created a name and a way of working that few disregard. “I hate consensual people. I know that I’m not everyone’s favourite and I also know that many are fond of me. I think that this is the best way of being in life. I have a way of working, which is mine; I have a way to express myself, which is mine; I have my space, which is mine; I have a fantastic team…what else do I need!!!”, he explains in his soft tone of voice, with a subtle accent, and always attentive to what is going on around him.
Patrick likes to travel, he likes to have time to enjoy time, he enjoys a conversation and likes to eat. Among all these preferences, he has a passion for fashion, for the image and is always aware of what is happening inside and outside the country, when it comes to this field. “Being updated is crucial. I’m curious when it comes to life, to political, economic, cultural and fashion events. Everything that involves beauty, cosmetics, clothing and accessories, that’s what I want to know,” he emphasizes, reinforcing the fact that he is passionate for the job he has chosen, for the pure pleasure to give joy to those who sit in his chair. He feels sorry for how low “the self-esteem is in Portugal, something in common with the Belgians. People only remember the good about every place when they move out of it! A chronic and painful dissatisfaction! Both countries are surrounded by ‘ego’ giants! It’s not easy to live with ghosts of the past… in the present! “, Patrick Depaus explain, who also reinforces the persistent “complaining” which steps into his salon, like “there are too many tourists; the traffic takes too long; there’s a lack of rain. Inexplicable! And narrow-minded!”.
When he arrived in Portugal, the country had major breaches in terms of services, museums, culture, businesses, while now, as he stresses, “we have everything” and we don’t know how to “make the most out of it”. He would like to see a greater openness to the new currents of fashion, art, lifestyle and a greater attitude in the customization of tastes, because when there is a new “trend” everyone follows it without questioning, with a lack of singularity. “It would be so good to see the Portuguese curbing their fear of being daring and leaving their comfort zone”.
His aesthetic perspective enjoys the changes that have been taking place with Portuguese man, during the last 15 years, since the 90s, with the “metrosexual” movement, when they realized that they can take care of themselves, without interfering with their masculinity. “As a customer, the man tends to be quite informed, he generally knows what he wants, whether that is the haircut, the beard, clothing, gym stuff or aesthetics. We are living in times where all sorts of self-care, or any demonstration of vanity, is accepted by society and especially by our “peers”! The result of this change is positive, as emphasized by himself, while there is always the possibility of falling into an excess, because men are still afraid of “being under the spotlight”.
His free time is divided between the beach, reading, bike rides, and he has an electricity-powered one, walking, shopping and making the most out of his nest, which is his home. Love also found him in Lisbon, the reason that made him arrive in this romantic city, which he never left. Curious about nature-related things, Patrick Depaus likes to discover new leisure, gastronomy or cultural spots. “Lisbon is like a box of surprises. We have to find them out!” He acknowledges that Portuguese people have evolved immensely in their relationship with fashion, even though there’s still a long road ahead to be aware of what is being done of interest in Portugal, mainly about what really suits the people and what their friends say that it looks good. “Who am I to say, but sometimes the results are frightening. I hope that in a short time, the people, men and women, understand the difference between what trends dictate and the way we discern them. The lack of taste always produces the same outcomes: flat shoes, ‘leggings’, weird colours for our skin type, as is happens with baby tones, brown, pastel hues, odd and inconsistent patterns with the silhouette. The problem often resides in the cliché!”.
About the hair, his top skill, there’s a struggle to make something with it, to try anything different. “Advising and changing the model is worthless if we don’t analyze what suits us properly and if, with that change, we will be comfortable. It’s like a ‘million dollar’ feeling!”, advises the professional, because it’s important to ensure that our image “mirrors the essence of everyone and, for that to happen, we have to know ourselves quite good”. A natural observer, he looks for a sense and an aesthetic in everyone and everywhere, because “the world is still wonderful”.