METHOD TO HIS MAD­NESS

From a tiny vil­lage in Italy, Rossano Fer­retti has gone on to open hair spas in some of the most pres­ti­gious lo­ca­tions around the world, and pi­o­neered a whole new way of cut­ting hair. Selina Den­man meets the forth­right stylist ahead of the launch of his s

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Rossano Fer­retti talks about his “Method” like it is some kind of cult. “Our academy is only open for our team. We don’t sell our Method. Ei­ther you are part of the Method or you are not part of the Method. It’s like a lit­tle fam­ily club.”

The Method is, in fact, a sys­tem of cut­ting hair that Fer­retti and his sis­ter have spent the last two decades de­vel­op­ing. “This is not a mar­ket­ing story,” Fer­retti tells me, but it can be dif­fi­cult to cut through the spin. There’s much talk of “in­vis­i­ble hair­cuts” and “beauty rev­o­lu­tions”, but, in essence, Fer­retti’s Method es­chews trends, over-styling and un­nec­es­sar­ily com­plex tech­niques in favour of an or­ganic, nat­u­ral cut that en­hances the in­nate fall of the hair.

“Ev­ery­body tries to mod­ify hair,” he says force­fully. “It’s im­pos­si­ble. You can­not mod­ify hair. You can­not mod­ify a tree, you can­not mod­ify the Moon, you can­not mod­ify na­ture. If you go against na­ture, you de­stroy na­ture. If you go against the hair, you de­stroy the hair. Full stop.

“In terms of the tech­ni­cal as­pect, the hair­cut be­fore Rossano was a tech­ni­cal and geo­met­ric cut. I wasn’t happy be­cause you could see the cut, the lay­ers, the way it was done. You could ba­si­cally see the scis­sors in the hair. The hair­cut with Rossano is cus­tom-made and fol­lows the nat­u­ral fall of the hair. So, ba­si­cally, you don’t chop the hair, you fol­low the hair with the scis­sors, and the scis­sors be­come a pro­lon­ga­tion of the hair.”

Fer­retti op­er­ates 20 sa­lons around the world, in such high­pro­file and di­verse lo­ca­tions as Lon­don’s May­fair, the Four Sea­sons ho­tel at Lan­daa Gi­raavaru in the Mal­dives, and the Fuller Build­ing in New York. I meet him ahead of the launch of his first sa­lon in Dubai, which is due to open this month in a villa op­po­site the Four Sea­sons on Jumeirah Beach Road. An Abu Dhabi lo­ca­tion will fol­low at the end of April, with a larger, 800-square-me­tre villa space on Al Karama Street. It is likely that he will gar­ner quite the fol­low­ing in the UAE, par­tic­u­larly in the cap­i­tal, where the in­dus­try is un­der­served.

“We are here to break the way of how it is to­day,” he tells me. “It is a phe­nom­e­nal op­por­tu­nity for us and a phe­nom­e­nal op­por­tu­nity for the mar­ket as well. I think we can change the rules. We are here to ed­u­cate the mar­ket, ba­si­cally.”

Fer­retti treads a very thin line (know­ingly and unashamedly, I dare say) be­tween supreme con­fi­dence and un­abated ar­ro­gance. He ad­mits that peo­ple thought he was crazy when he first launched his Method, but he takes this as a com­pli­ment. “You have to be crazy. If you are not a crazy ge­nius, how can you change things? How can you make things bet­ter? There was a man that was crazy and he put an ap­ple on a com­puter. He failed four times be­fore he was suc­cess­ful, but he was a vi­sion­ary. And I am a vi­sion­ary in my in­dus­try.”

Fer­retti’s un­likely jour­ney be­gan in Cam­pegine, a tiny Ital­ian vil­lage in the prov­ince of Reg­gio Emilia with a pop­u­la­tion of 500 peo­ple. His grand­fa­ther, Re­nato, was a bar­ber, who ei­ther worked in the vil­lage square or did house calls on his Lam­bretta; his mother, Gil­i­ola, opened her twochair sa­lon in the vil­lage in 1962. Fer­retti fol­lowed in their foot­steps at the age of 14, when he went to beauty school, and a year later made a trip to Lon­don that, by all ac­counts, changed the course of his life.

“Ev­ery­body thinks I was in Lon­don for years, but I was there for a week. Be­cause in a week’s time, I achieved to make a hair­cut that ev­ery­body else took six months to one year to achieve. And it was my first hair­cut. So I re­alised I was blessed, I was gi ed, I had some­thing dif­fer­ent from other boys. And I said to my mum, maybe I can be a hair­dresser.”

He opened his first sa­lon – or hair spa – in Parma nearly two-and-a-half decades ago. “It’s a 14th-cen­tury apart­ment on the first floor in Parma, with no sign­board on the street. Ev­ery­body was ask­ing: ‘How will peo­ple find you?’ And I said: ‘They will look for me, don’t worry.’ If you don’t know who I am, you don’t need to know who I am.”

Trou­ble is, he was right. A lot of peo­ple know who he is. He has writ­ten books, won awards, been fea­tured in count­less mag­a­zines, and be­came a spokesper­son for L’Oréal in 2012. Al­though his has been dubbed “the most ex­pen­sive hair­cut in the world”, prices in the UAE start at Dh300 for a stan­dard cut. His client list in­cludes the likes of An­gelina Jolie, Eva Men­des, Lady Gaga, Kate Mid­dle­ton, Salma Hayek, Char­l­ize Theron and Reese Wither­spoon, but he re­deems him­self by re­fus­ing to spill any of their se­crets. “I’ve never men­tioned any of them, and I’m not in­ter­ested in talk­ing about them. When they ask me, I say I don’t know. For me, ev­ery girl is unique and ev­ery girl is a celebrity.”

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