Italian hair artist Rossano Ferretti shapes the tresses, and therefore, lives, of some of the most glamorous women the world over. He’s now offering Bangalore a snip of crowning glory
The world over, Rossano Ferretti is in the news, yet again, because his salon in London restored the Duchess of Cambridge Kate Middleton’s hair to pre-baby glory, nay, even more lustrous voluminous glory than ever, in a much-talked-about six-hour appointment at the revolutionary hairdressers. When it’s not Kate Middleton, it has to be Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek, Charlize Theron, Jennifer Lawrence, or Reese Witherspoon…That’s the power of Ferretti.
And power-dressing it was at Bangalore where the Italian launched his third salon in India, at The Ritz Carlton on Residency Road. With a crisply fitted slate grey suit, he flies the flag of Italian fashion high, wearing sockless sleek formal shoes. Ferretti rounds off his casual business look with a black-and-white silk scarf.
“I respect hair, and I respect beauty — that’s the magic,” he explains away his vast and expanding empire of salons all over the world. With a wave of the magical “method” or “Metodo Rossano Ferretti” he has mastered, he bestows on them “the invisible haircut”. (Explanations are due there.) Ferretti himself started shaving his head, every three days, when he started losing hair at the age of 23. Before his time, men wouldn’t dare think of shaving their head if they were balding, he maintains.
“I’m a trendsetter since I’ve been a little boy.” Ferretti’s grandfather was a street-side barber, and his mother built a two-chair salon in their village of 300; he’s seen his mum at work since he was 10. And his current chain of salons, he set up with his sister. “I set up my first salon in Parma, Italy, which had a population of 120,000 people. That was big for me.”
His method, among other things, involves listening to his women clients. “I want to listen to her. I want to see how she talks to me. I want to know how she feels… hairdressers think if you have big eyes, you need a fringe! What the ****!” he exclaims, flashing his gap-in-the-teeth smile. “Many people come out of a beauty salon unhappy. It’s all a masquerade,” he declares with a wave of his hand. “We give personalised beauty to women.”
How long should one ideally spend on hair care everyday? “If you have a good haircut, you should wash and go on the street, that’s all. If you’re not like that, you’re going to the wrong hairdresser!”
“The Invisible Haircut” he says has involved 20 years of his life “to make it happen”. “It’s an experiment. It’s the biggest change in the hairdressing industry since Vidal Sassoon in the 60s. It’s the most successful beauty technique. It’s not a haircut. No chop-chop. You don’t see the scissors; you only see the body movement. The scissor goes gently into the hair. We create volume without losing length.”
He personally doesn’t cut his client’s hair anymore, he insists. With cuts coming in at a cool 600 Pounds or 1,000 Dollars, isn’t that way off the mark? “I can charge 10,000 dollars for a haircut and it will be worth it,” he says with finality and a hint of irritation at being asked about things like money. “Maybe 10 years ago I made money cutting hair, not now. Now my salons are run by my team of artists. I don’t take care of my celebrities; my team does. My team has a market price everywhere, from London to New York to India. I don’t take care of my celebrities, my team does. I never reveal any information about my celebrity clients…so don’t ask. It’s dangerous,” he breaks into a grin. He says he chooses trainees very carefully; only three or four are in the class at any given time on salon chairs in front of the mirror.
One of his four books Woman Essence equates femininity to beauty. “Femininity is beauty. That’s my life. It’s not that I don’t see beauty in men… you know, my sister tells me I must be the only straight man who’s at the top of this industry! All top people — designers, stylists are gay.” Why? “I suppose they have a feminine soul!”
From his experience in his salons in Mumbai and Gurgaon, are Indian women open to having real short hair? “If they try…if they globalise themselves, yes they are willing. They have short hair if they have a different mindset. If they have a local attitude (sic) they keep it long.” So long hair is not beautiful? “Long hair is fantastic if it fits on you, if it creates harmony, if it’s healthy and well cared for,” he says.
While equating globalisation with short hair is a woefully simplistic way of looking at hair culture, Ferretti goes a bit too far saying that his chain of salons is “trying to develop a beauty culture in India that didn’t exist”. “Knowledge influences hair culture. It’s about how much you know and read. If you don’t know, how can you choose?”
At his salon in Bangalore, a basic women’s cut will come at Rs. 4,300, a new look at Rs. 5,800 and for men the cut is priced at around Rs. 3,500 (rates mentioned are exclusive of taxes).