Nicholas French, Matrix Artistic Director, won the prize in the 2012 NAHA Avant Garde category. As a Nicholas French fan, it was a true honor to be the first to interview him after receiving the award.

Avant Garde Goes To:  NICHOLAS FRENCH

"This is huge to me," he said. "Avant Garde is not fantasy, it's a fine art. This is for Vidal and my father, Freddie French, the founders of modern hairdressing. It's what I stand for."

Nicholas gives great "shout outs" to the team that helped create the winning images. "It is all about the team," he says. "David Widjaja came with beautiful, tasteful fashions, David Maderich created breathtaking, award winning make up and what can I say about Roberto Ligresti? Marvelous creative mind. He listens, digests and creates."

But to Nicholas, the story is bigger. "My mission, like my father before me, is to bring this industry up. I've learned that if you reach for the moon, you might catch a star on the way down."