Hairstylist Christian Serafini lunges and leans his weight on one leg. He tips his toes, contorts his body to meet at eye level with the comb, hair, and scissors in his hand. Then, like a hummingbird flapping its wings, he starts snipping away in very minute and rapid moves. "I am cutting the individual hair [strands]," he lets a sigh and relaxes before getting back into position. Once again, he strains his entire body. It's not a haircut that you can fall asleep too. It was like a Pina Bausch dance unravelling before you. "It's a ballet," Serafini admits shyly.
Serafini has few words to explain this distinct method of cutting hair. But this is Italian celebrity hairstylist, Rossano Ferretti's method. He claims, this Method – Ferretti uses it with a capital M – is by far, the most advanced haircut technique in the world.
The 57-year-old has introduced this method to cities like Paris, New York City, Beverly Hills, Dubai, Bangalore, Beijing, and now Singapore. It seems to him, the presence of his salon and method in Singapore will elevate and forward the local hair industry.
To understand Ferretti's novel haircut technique, you'll have to first grasp the history of the hair industry. The big break came in the 1960s with the late Vidal Sassoon in youthquake London. "They started to cut the hair," Ferretti muses. Sassoon developed the geometrical haircut, otherwise known as the five-point or 'Bob' cut as we know it now. He set the ball rolling with hair in popular culture. All of a sudden, consumers wanted to look the same. "Hairdressers were copying the geometrical cut."
A young Ferretti did not like what he saw. He didn't understand why two persons should look the same. To him, beauty is individual and unique to the person. "I was saying, 'This is not correct!' But I was young." For years, Ferretti challenged the mainstream geometrical cut phenomenon. His natural method eventually gained traction and even won Vidal Sassoon over. It cemented Ferretti's method as the second contemporary revolution in the hair industry. In 2012, Sassoon and his wife invited Ferretti to their Los Angeles home. "They wanted to know me. After him, I was the guy close to bringing any revolution in the hair [industry]."
In essence, Ferretti's technique was a respond to the reigning Sasson method – it was reactionary.
Inside Rossano Ferretti's latest Singapore salon, located in The Fullerton Hotel.
For decades, Singaporeans have been comfortable with their hairstyling options. Yet, Ferretti seems to have high hopes in shaking up the local industry with his method. "Why should Singaporeans cut their hair differently now?", I questioned. To him, it's to improve haircut techniques here and to change the hairstylists' perception of what a good cut should be – it's not about the stylist's designs, but about the guest's personality.
Ferretti pointed out that he met another journalist who had a haircut from a local stylist trained in conventional techniques. "The cut wasn't so bad," he shrugged. He proceeded to comment on my blunt haircut – one I got from an old-school salon run by my neighbour, an elderly aunty who's been cutting and perming my family's hair for decades.
He lapsed into a talk about how hairstylists across the globe are still making their "scissors" obvious – meaning stylists make their mark obvious on the hair and their designs bold. But Ferretti is against that, "[We] can see every scissor they put into your hair. That's what we don't like! I like to hair to fall organically." To him, the beauty and character of a person is often shrouded by the hairstylists' designs. And to him, this is not what a haircut should be. It should serve to liberate the personality – the hairstylist should not be following the guest everywhere he goes, but be invisible.
He went on to rap about how stylists still cut the hair when it's dripping wet, which results in uneven lengths. "If you cut hair wet, when it's not dry, you will see all the differences that you see now," he adds, pointing at the ends of my hair. "Basically the hair moves. So if you cut it wet, it will not be the same. It's impossible."
When it comes to liberating personalities, Ferretti and his team of hairstylists have the responsibility to analyse the guest's personality, scalp and hair structure, and cut it in such a way it obeys the natural state. He does not believe in excessive styling, or chemical alterations to the hair. In his salons, everyone's hair should return to its origins.
His words made me realise that since I stepped into the salon, hairstylist Serafini has been observing my every move. "It's for me to know your person," he adds.
Serafini continues dancing around me, cutting my hair. It took over two hours before he lifted his scissors. He left me with soft, blunt bangs framing my forehead – like curtains – that rested on my eyebrows. Repeatedly, he instructed me to close and open my eyes while he altered the bangs. It seems, the haircut only came to life when I opened my eyes.
He asked me if I liked the fringe. I told him, he brought the old me back. He raised his eyebrows, I explained that I've had fringe all my childhood until I grew out of it for laziness' sake in university. Serafini returned me a smile. Ferretti was hawkingly observing from the far end of the salon. He unfolded his arms, strided over, gave me a silent congratulatory handshake. He seemed very satisfied.
Should we cut our hair differently now? Yes, on many technical levels – hair lengths, techniques. But what was most surprising was Ferretti's uncanny ability to bring out a person's individuality. It was startling to see my childhood staring back at me in the mirror.
Visit Rossano Ferretti at The Fullerton Hotel, Singapore.
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