Even though his grandfather was a barber, his Mother owned a salon in a small Italian village, and by the time he was 12, he was working there, Italian hairdresser Rossano Ferretti insisted that his calling was architecture.
One of the world’s most celebrated hairdressing talents, Ferretti was a gifted artist and draftsman, and as a young man, was already selling his paintings. Still, with some urging from his family, he attended beauty school—and found he liked it. “I discovered I had talent—real talent—and I said, ok, I want to try to do this.”
His “try” translated into global success and what he found in himself, he’ll be looking for in others; Ferretti, who has salons around the world and a haircare brand he designed, will soon be starring in a reality television show he co-created, “Hairstyle, the Talent Show.”
The show will highlight the world’s best hairdressing talent and be recorded in five countries: Italy, Spain, Brazil, Mexico, and The United States. Each of the six episodes will feature a different global celebrity judge as well as a top local hairdresser from each featured country, all working alongside Rossano Ferretti who will select the winning hairstylists.
What will he look for in those stylists? “Passion, heart, and someone who doesn’t make it all about themselves,” he says. And perhaps someone with the same drive he had when first starting out.
Creating the Salon Client Experience
Ferretti’s commitment to his craft included a plan to design a new salon experience. He was not impressed with what he was seeing in other salons in the 1970s; he didn’t like how clients were treated. At his first salon in Parma, there was no sign outside indicating it was a business, and he designed it to feel like a home, with beautiful chairs and mirrors, and an elegant, elevated experience.
“My friends told me I was crazy, that this would never work, but within two years, I had a six-month waiting list, and people were flying in from all over,” Ferretti says. “This was all from word-of-mouth, too. We all talk about the ‘client experience’ today but then, it was not part of the conversation. This was a revolutionary approach.”
Ferretti continued to set fire to the status quo in the salon world by pushing for a new way of thinking about salons, salon services, and a client’s customer journey. “If you had to describe me, I would say, ‘a crazy visionary but with a lot of common sense’. We had a consultation area—no one had this in their salon—along with a beautiful coffee bar, valet parking, and we retailed not just products but a hair regimen.
“Forty years ago, I was doing balayage, 30 years ago, I was creating beachy waves,” he adds. “These things that seem so exciting have been happening in my world for many years.”
As early as 16, Ferretti says he started thinking about a new way of haircutting. His quest for a cut above resulted in what he called the Invisible Haircut.
“It was in my mind, but it wasn’t easy to bring out,” he explains. “I was on a shoot in Malta when it came to me that I needed to move my body differently, and that my arms and hands should follow the hair; it’s not you driving the hair, the hair drives you. I was 27 years old. Now you see people using texturizing scissors to get this effect, but I was there 35 years ago.”
Rossano Ferretti Haircare
The next evolution in Ferretti’s story was the development of his eponymous hair care line, Rossano Ferretti Parma. It was, he says, a response to client demand.
“We started to think seriously about creating the line in 2003 and it took me three years to put all the ingredients together, then two years of testing in all our salons around the world. It took another year to put the scent together, which was very important to me. And then a year to determine the packaging. But, ultimately, our first client was Sephora.com, so… not too bad,” he says, smiling.
In his life and work, Ferretti passionately advocates for environmentally-conscious living and keeping sustainability in mind when sourcing ingredients. “These are values I won’t compromise on because you cannot create something exceptional without exceptional ingredients. It was unusual, at the time, to formulate without sulfates, for instance, but I can only do a line that follows a certain life philosophy.”
His name, his brand has been described as “incredibly consistent” because the throughline of his development—as an artist, a salon owner, a brand builder—has been his uncompromising commitment to quality and to his own esthetic.
The Elevation of Beauty
Today, Ferretti has partnered with Alfaparf Milano, a leading Italian brand in professional haircare, as a global ambassador. This partnership merges the strengths and expertise of two powerful Italian haircare brands to expand accessibility in the US market.
“Everyone knows the best hair color in the world is Italian…it’s a given,” he says. “I believe in empowering people to create their own definitions of beauty. My partnership with Alfaparf Milano ensures this customized approach will be within reach of everyone.”
The network of Rosanno Ferretti luxury salons around the world (Milan, New York, Paris, Rome, Dubai, Shanghai, and his native Parma) include a training program, where Ferretti says the artists are trained to have a future. It’s this same philosophy, of creating a beautiful, sustainable career, that inspired Ferretti to participate in a reality television show, sponsored by Alfaparf Milano. He says that this is not your wind ‘em up and see how much drama can be created variety of reality show, but a way to support the next generation of artists who, he says, “are a bit lost in the world.”
“I really want to support these artists by elevating the perception of the industry and enhancing the dignity of the profession. Unfortunately, I feel that too many people consider hairdressing as a last choice. And that is why I’m doing the television show, to help people understand who we are, how we create beauty, and the artistry and craft that is required of us.”
Hairstyle; The Talent Show is produced by Shine Iberia, a Banijay company. Sponsors include Alfaparf Milano Professional, Great Lengths, and Gama Italy Professional
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