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Color America Fort Worth: Sue Pemberton

Patrick McIvor | July 10, 2011 | 11:52 PM

As I shared in my last blog, Color America has been an amazing program and it’s been an honor to be involved with Cosmetologists Chicago and the America’s Beauty Show Team. With the huge success of our first Color America in Chicago, it was a daunting thought to start planning our second Color America in the Company of Patrick McIvor, but WOW what an outcome. Our A team was made up of Sue Pemberton, Jo Blackwell-Preston, Kris Sorbie and Kimberly Kimble. In this blog, I want to talk about Sue Pemberton.

I have admired Sue’s work for so many years as International Artistic Haircolor Director with Joico and I have followed her images in magazines. She's also a five-time finalist and 2007 winner of the prestigious NAHA Hair Colorist of the Year. She thinks about color and places to put color in ways that, until I sat backstage watching her, I could not even imagine.

For me, Sue Pemberton is our industry’s John Galliano, she is both consistent in the avant garde edge she brings to every color she creates, no matter if it is shades of blue and purple or blonde.

What I love about Sue is she has the ability to bring edginess to blonde or brunette colors in the same ways John Galliano does to a white wedding dress. The challenge with edgy or progressive work and the people who create it is many have the inability to communicate their ideas or thoughts because they are so creative.

That’s why Sue is so special, she is somehow able to control both sides of her brain and shares her mad genius in a way that makes sense and inspires everyone in the room. Through her highlighting techniques, she is able to take inspiration from art and translate it into ideas we can use everyday.

Sue has even created her own system of highlighting techniques that use 24 foils or less on average because of the efficiency of the placement she uses. She explains simply, that if you want to use strong colors and one is a Level 5 and the other a Level 9, by adding a Level 7 the colors will melt together like a Monet painting. “Light, medium, dark,” she says. I can honestly say after 25 years in this business, because of Sue, I finally understand.

After many years of people asking Sue how she does her photoshoots, she created Click, a behind-the-scenes learning experience. Click is an amazing class Sue created where stylists can learn firsthand what is takes to create the "take your breathe away" images that Sue consistently creates.

Then at Sue’s “Color Without Fear” course, she takes us even further into her dynamic highlighting system in the safe environment of having her right there with us. What an amazing gift to learn to create some of the hottest trends that have now caught on in our profession at every salon.

Years ago you didn’t need to know how to place blues, purples, greens, pink yellow and crayon red in hair, and more importantly, make it look good. In America, only the really edgy, alternative salons did that, while the rest of us did blonde, brunette and red. But today, turn on the Disney Channel and you will see that it ain’t your mom’s color! New guests are asking for the colors and placements that Sue has been pioneering for years—we just finally caught up.

Patrick McIvor, Matrix Artistic Director – the leading professional haircare and haircolor company in the United States and part of the L’Oreal USA Professional Products Division. He owns patrick mcivor color studio (Bethlehem, PA) and studio two (Allentown, PA) – the two hottest hair studios in the Lehigh Valley. As one of the most respected colorists in the industry, McIvor mentors his team by involving them in runway work at New York Fashion Week; fashion/beauty editorial shoots and interviews with publications like Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Real Simple, Seventeen, Family Circle and Allure (editors named him best colorist in the USA); and television segments on “The 10! Show”/NBC Channel 10, WFMZ “Channel 69 News” and “Good Housekeeping Reports.” His studio provides stellar hair services inspired by international cosmopolitan influences such as fashion, cultural and global trends. In other words, guests leave with beautiful, sexy believable hair. McIvor is also featured in the book “50 Hairstylists.”

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