STEFAN AVANZATO ON 'MANPERING' AND HAIR TRENDS
THE MASTER BARBER AT DOLCE & GABBANA LONDON TALKS ABOUT HAIR STYLING AND BEARDS
In today’s modern world men are becoming more educated and interested in grooming and are taking care of their hair and skin more than ever. With the male cosmetics industry getting bigger and bigger, we see more developments in the industry of how to look and feel good. With this in mind we spoke with Stefan Avanzato, Master Barber at Dolce & Gabbana London. He talks about his work in luxury grooming, the idea behind ‘manpering’ and what we expect to see this coming season in the male hair and beard world.
Can you tell us about your current role and what you do day to day?
“As the Master Barber, my days can vary. You might find me in the store all day or I could be in and out of the shop in meetings or in project reviews to discuss potential business opportunities. The morning always starts with a staff meeting, I get my guys on the shop floor and we go through targets, product focus and customer service strategies. This keeps us together as a team and focused on the goal. My inbox is usually full, so if I don´t have any early morning appointments with clients, I will use the time to answer emails. I will make the time to run through stock orders, product placements and barber shop visual merchandising. When there are exclusive D&G fashion events and shoots I am often asked to work on them - here my day will be spent backstage working on the models' hair. As well as styling my clients´ hair and new clientele that walk through the Dolce and Gabbana doors, I train the other barbers in their styling skills. It´s important to maintain a skilled staff-base and constantly evolve so that clients are constantly offered the best service.”
What is something you particularly enjoy doing when it comes to working in grooming?
“I enjoy seeing the change on my clients' faces when they get up from my barber chair. My clients are known for their success, but this comes at a price, and their lifestyles are ultimately stressful due to all of the responsibilities they have. So when a client comes in for some much needed down time, my mission is to get him feeling like a new man. The smile on their face and the revived stride in their step just lets me know my mission is accomplished. I love fashion and hair - beards change all the time depending on the season and year, so I love keeping up with the latest trends and incorporating these into my clients´ persona and lifestyle. Another aspect I love about working in grooming is the social aspect. My job allows me to meet some extremely inspirational people from all walks of life. Being sociable is a must in this industry because doing men´s hair is so personal. The social side of things is brilliant, I've been to so many interesting events and lots of opportunities have opened to me because of the friendships I have made through my years as a master barber.”
How does working in luxury grooming differ - is it the products or the technique involved?
“The world of luxury grooming is completely different to the more typical barber experience. Luxury grooming is a lifestyle. It is about taking your time to really understand the client and to give him an experience of total relaxation. We take our time to understand what the client's wants and needs are. Luxury products are an essential part of a first-class grooming experience. Scents and texture give the final touch to a much needed barber experience. Decor, textiles, textures and music all take part in creating the elegance needed in a luxury grooming salon. Having worked in all sorts of stores and environments, I can say that my favourite is the luxury grooming market. It´s all about pride and presentation. This is more of a gentleman’s club that offers an elite service with an allocated time to achieve the right look. I work mainly on an appointment basis only, it's convenient for the client and for them to switch off and have a bit of ‘Manpering' - something that every modern gentleman needs in this day and age where it´s easy to get lost in the fast pace of work and life.”
When working with clients what are the most common mistakes you find they make - how can they avoid them?
“Often, men see a hair style on their favourite celebrity or in a magazine and want it. Copying the style is not as simple as 123. Every man should consider his face shape, hair texture and natural state, lifestyle and personality. For example, if the model has thick straight hair, but the client has whispy and wavy hair, it may be an unachievable look, unless he is prepared to spend a good part of his day using straighteners and volumising products. It´s important to understand what you need to do in order to achieve the look. Less is often more when talking about hair. This is the same with products, always start with less and then you can add more. Using the right product for your hair and style is also key. Understanding what the client wants is very important for me, as is understanding the clients´ everyday morning pre-work routine.”
What advice can you give for spring/summer grooming?
“Visit the barber regularly in order to keep your look sharp. It´s never a good idea to let the style grow out and return to the barber with a massive mop to fix, it’ll be like starting all over again and the idea is to always look fresh and styled. Also having a good hair dryer and hair styling brush is essential to achieve volumised looks and is a great tool that allows you to have hair just as you want it.”
More men are growing their hair and we see less fuller beards in recent months - Do you have any predictions for men’s hair/beard styles in the coming months?
“You see men with beards everywhere. It used to be very typical of the older generation to have beards but now it’s a universal trend. Guys are growing their hair out more this year - I'm seeing a lot of longer styles and an influx of guys who have more curly styles letting them grow out. Summer can bring on a lot of tousled and relaxed beach look trends, much more casual, yet combined with a suit or some luxury accessories it still shouts 'top class'. The look at the moment is all about wild texturised hair on top. The classical short sides are still around though, with the top getting a touch longer. A large sum of my clients seem to want to go for longer styles this year.”