Hair is not cut, but styled to flow as you are you
words: Ambica Gulati
It was a date with hairstylist Rossano Ferreti, who has styled hair for the likes of Chanel, Christian Dior, Princess Diana, and I was precisely one hour late! I was going to meet the man who charges £ 1,000 for a hair cut, no longer wants to cut hair and doesn’t like to talk about his celebrity clientele. He feels India needs to learn a lot about beauty and the 54-year-old charming Italian is actually quite used to women never being on time. A short film on Ferreti’s life and then a long talk with him followed, before my hair went in for The Method. Excerpts from our conversation:
How did hairstyling begin?
My father was a barber and mother a hairdresser in a little village in Italy and hairstyling was what I began doing in my teens.
I realized it was my passion. So I traveled the world to understand the world. I went to Barcelona, Madrid, Tokyo, Beijing, everywhere and by 22, I was well known. And then I formed this Method.
What is The Method?
It’s a way of cutting hair to suit the personality. I invented the natural fold method of the hair. You have to follow the hair. So it works with all kinds of hair.
How did your own salon happen?
After traveling the world, and then forming The Method, I opened my first salon in Parma in a 15th century apartment. This was the first apartment salon in the world with no sign board. I wanted to have a destination where clients had a fantastic experience.
From there, how did you reach across to the world?
I was so successful, was just cutting hair from 8 am to 8 pm. We had a four-month appointment list. So one day, I told my brother and sister that I was going on a 15-day vacation and I wanted to write my Bible. They were surprised but I disappeared for three months and my salon did not suffer. So from Parma we went to Madrid. My salon was the first one to have a coffee area there. And we won the best salon award by Vogue in 1997. After that we went to Miami, Verona, Milan, all over. In New York, we are a profitable salon, considering how expensive the city is.
Your association with L’Oreal.
Five years back, I was approached by them to begin a salon in Paris and it was an instant success. In three months we broke even.
What is the same thing that people find across all Rossano Ferreti salons globally?
The Method. We teach that customization and personalization are important.
What do you feel about India?
They have one of the most beautiful hair in the world. But you are you and beauty is about personalization. Beauty does not come from the moon alone. If you want to wake up happy in the morning, then you have to be you. India is the best and biggest challenge for us.
How many people have you trained?
We have 74 people who can work with the method; there are 14 teachers and our four chair room in Parma is our school to train our team.
Who can become a part of your team?
Those who have the heart and the passion for hair.
Which age groups come to you? Do you also have men coming to you?
The biggest age group is between 25-58. Then we have kids, though I find the younger and older generations are afraid of the hair dresser. Most of them don’t listen to the stylist but always speak. Around 18% men come to us. And we have 87% customer loyalty.
What is the message for those aspiring to become hairstylists?
Never give up and never stop to school yourself. Keep your mind open to learn.
What is the best thing you like about hairstyling?
Education. I spend a lot of my time in conferences and seminars, talking about hair.
You said you only stay three days in your residence in London. What happens in the rest of the month?
We get offers for at least 20-25 projects in a month. But we only take on projects which fit with our luxury beauty philosophy of quality, selection, exclusivity and lifestyle.
Who is your biggest competition?
Competition! Not anywhere. I am lucky people in the industry love me.
What do you feel about beauty and hair contests?
My hair washed, Artistic Director Michele Finessi began The Method which was a leisurely 45-minute affair. The test has been that even after many washes since that mid-January afternoon, the hair flows the way it should. Mind you, there’s been no hair dryer used, I just rake my fingers in it the way Finessi taught me while it’s still wet. But it does cost the earth. Hair fixing, as what Finessi said he did for me, could come close to Rs 7,500 plus taxes.