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Articles > “It’s Personal” By Anthony Mascolo
November 7, 2014

“It’s Personal” By Anthony Mascolo

Get a glimpse inside the mind of a creative genius and the man behind one of the most iconic hair care brands in the world.

The mind of a creative genius is never easy to enter or explore. Over the years, I’ve found myself trying to study brilliance. What I’ve learned is that in most cases, brilliance doesn’t even understand itself. Anthony Mascolo is no exception. Like most brilliant artists, he’s emotional and wears his heart on his sleeve, but he’s private in the depths of his thoughts and hard to “get personal” with.

 

Anthony is a brilliant hairdresser. The creative force behind TIGI for the past 30 years, Anthony has created a culture at TIGI Bed Head Studios that is almost cult-like. Having trained more hairdressers than any other organization in the world, Anthony’s creative team works like a machine in unison. They produce the most on-trend collections season after season, the world’s biggest hair shows and a level of noise in a market that grew so loud, Unilever, one of the largest companies on the planet, couldn’t help but hear it and bought into the vision (and the company) four years ago. But, what they really bought was Anthony and his incubator of innovation and iconic brands. They bought the mind of a creative genius.

 

Having been friends with Anthony for more than fifteen years, I know the lens through which he sees life is uniquely different. And his lessons are too many not to share. So when I was in London recently, I asked him if, together, we could create a series of pieces: videos and articles focused on his creative vision, lessons on life and what it took to get to where he is today. I didn’t want to focus on just hair. Instead, I wanted to focus on his journey. I wanted him to articulate creativity—to go beyond his TIGI shoots and push even his own boundaries.

 

So it all begins today, in this issue of the magazine and will run in every issue through 2015.

It’s called: “It’s Personal,” by Anthony Mascolo. And, it is.



This is Anthony’s library. It was the final space of a dilapidated old building the owners chose not to renovate after selling off all their refurbished apartments. It was in such bad shape at the time, Anthony said the owners really never knew what they had. Anthony and Pat Mascolo fell in love with the space. They knew the stained glass windows, once cleaned, would shine a myriad of beautiful colors onto the dark parquaed floors. The bookshelves would be perfect to display Anthony’s pictures and the high ceilings to hang some of their most iconic and historical hairshow designs. They bought the space in 2010 and have made it their own, their most cherished creative cocoon, surrounded by the momentos of their past and tools to inspire creativity for the future.

 

“I suppose there’s a lesson in the library. You have to see something, don’t you? See something in something or someone. We can never underestimate the possibility that greatness exists in everyone we meet. I don’t think all of us have everything, but all of us have something. As mentors, it’s our job to look for it. It’s our job to inspire the best in everyone—everything—we come in contact with. When you’re creative, you can see things others can’t see, I suppose, and dust them off enough to find what’s great.”

 

The Mascolo hairdressing story began in Italy 75 years ago. Anthony’s father risked everything when moving his young family to London. He didn’t speak the language, he didn’t have any money, he didn’t even have a plan. But what he did have was passion and desire. He cashed both in and began a Mascolo legacy of greatness which was carried on by his four sons—Toni, Bruno, Guy and Anthony—who inherited their father’s passion and each took their own paths to greatness. For Anthony, it was his older brother, Bruno, who saw something great in him at an early age.

 

Watch Anthony, Pat and the TIGI team share their journey of
becoming one of the most iconic brands worldwide.

“I used to go and assist Bruno on shoots when I was very young. I guess he saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself. He made me learn everything—marcel waves, finger waves. I had to know everything so I could assist on the shoots. Then he made us document everything. Back in the ‘80’s, we started having our work photographed and created a look book every year so we could look back at our progression throughout the years. At one point, I felt the photographers weren’t capturing the work correctly—at least not how I wanted it. They were shooting what they were looking at, but not how I was seeing it, so I decided to get behind the camera and do it myself, and that’s how my photography started. That was back in 1984.”

Anthony won his first Hairdresser of the Year award at the coveted British Hairdressing Awards at the age of 31. He went on to win it three more times, along with countless other awards. Since then, Anthony has created and shot some of the most iconic hair collections ever recorded including TIGI Classics and a seasonal collection for twenty years. And, like his brother, Bruno, Anthony has passed on his skills to other young photographers—protégés—who, together, are now responsible for much of the TIGI collection shoots, fashion and hairshow shoots. And then there’s the brilliant International Creative Team, a worldwide powerhouse of educational knowledge that Anthony has built. Much of his most senior team has been with TIGI a decade or more, and together, has arguably trained more hairdressers worldwide than any other hair organization in the world. And, after all these years, it’s still clear that Anthony is a great inspiration to all of them and the devotion they have to him is unprecedented.

“For artists, you always have to be inspired to create great work. At TIGI,I have always wanted to help inspire those around me to create; to get to a place and a space where they feel the need to be creative and to push themselves beyond where they maybe would have gone on their own. TIGI Bed Head Studios in London has always been that sort of place—a melting pot of young thinking, whatever is of the moment with hairdressers, music, film, fashion. We’ve always been about education, about building the system, building the culture and making good hairdressers better.”

“But better is not always about the hair. Better is about the attitude. Better is about wanting to work as hard as you have to to be the best. Nobody wants to teach someone who doesn’t want to learn or is unwilling to do what it takes. So, we watch for all of it. Talent is important but there are a lot of great hairdressers out there that were not willing to make the commitment and they won’t make it in our environment.”

As we move around the library, you can see Anthony moving through the decades of time, considering the evolution and breadth of his work.

You’ve heard me say for years, ‘What’s new today is old tomorrow.’ But sometimes to look forward, we have to look back. And it’s not always about the shapes, but it’s about the inspiration and the creativity that got us to those shapes. We recently made a history film of Bed Head Studios’ 10th anniversary, and some of the past looks we did at hair shows over the decades are in this room. When I go back in my mind to some of the best times in this business, I go to the ‘80’s. It was absolute madness. The looks were crazy—and it was probably the most competitive we’ve ever been as an industry. The days of Lobetta, Sorbie—we were all competing with each other, and with ourselves, to create work that had never been done before. The hours in the salon all day, and then working all night to create the most intricate shapes…it was always about pushing hard and achieving something new.”

Anthony shared that over the years, there have been times where the love of the craft has been so infectious it was almost maddening. Trying to achieve something new, different… something perfect.

“We can all strive for perfection, which we’ll never reach. So be happy with just striving for it. If you put energy into anything, you’ve achieved something. You’re moving forward. The more you push and try different things, the more you’ll achieve, the more you’ll grow as an artist. And don’t do it just to win—do it for the work itself. It’s where the greatest pleasure is.”

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