Rossano Ferretti Tells All: How The “Invisible Haircut” Changed The Industry
An Exclusive Conversation with the Man Behind the ‘The Method’
In a luxe hotel suite looking over Sunset Boulevard in West Hollywood, BTC’s Editorial Director Steph sat in the renowned stylist Rossano Ferretti’s chair for a conversation on abandoning geometry in his haircutting techniques to design based on true suitability, building a brand and creating a TV competition for hairdressers. We’re inviting you in to experience the Rossano Ferretti methodology and mindset for yourself—flashing back from his upbringing in an Italian village to now, and everything along the way.
BTC’S STEPH: Let’s start at the beginning where you were raised in Italy. How did all of this start?
It all started when my grandfather was passing away. He asked me to be a hairdresser. And I was already doing some shampoos in my mom’s salon. But my hands were bleeding at the time because the shampoo’s [alkaline levels were so high 50 years ago]. I said to my mom, are you sure that I have to be in this business? And she said to me, well, it’s your decision, but you will make your grandfather very happy. And he will die very happy because of this. So you know, that was a big thing for me.
BTC’S STEPH: Before hairdressing, you wanted to be an architect. There are so many parallels between architecture and hairdressing. How did that influence your career?
I went to hairdressing school. We started to do things that you really don’t like a lot if you’re somebody inspired [by] art or architecture. One day I saw a book and said, “Okay, this looks more like architecture”—[like] the first bob. It was [happening] in London, so I flew to London and after three days, I repeated the same haircut that I saw for the first time in my life.
“This was the first time I had scissors in my hand because my mom had razors. We had no scissors in my little village Campagine.”
BTC’S STEPH: Was that your first time in London? How old were you at the time?
I was fifteen years old, I didn’t speak any English [and] my father was generous that he paid for the flight and [for] everything to be there because I wanted to understand if I wanted to be a hairdresser or not. I did the haircut in three days and the guy said to me, “It’s impossible, you have never cut hair before.” He said, “Wow. You have great talent—you stay here, we’ll pay for school for six months.”
I wanted to go back to my mom and decide what I wanted to do with my life. I realized I had the talent and it was the first step, but I wanted to discover the world. I wanted to see everybody in the world, understand and create my own thing.
“For me, geometry is not the right word to describe a haircut because a haircut falls with your hair. So, you cannot cut geometrically, you have to follow the hair.”
BTC’S STEPH: Let’s talk about “The Method*.” How did it come about? What were those first few experiences where it emerged and you saw it brought to life?
I was unsatisfied with everything I was watching. I didn’t see beauty, I was seeing haircuts. For me, I got that you see the haircut, you don’t see the beauty of the hair and the beauty of the woman. Coco Chanel said, “I don’t want to see the dress, I want to see the beauty of the woman.” That was a forever phrase for me—the quote of my life. So I don’t want to see my haircut. I’m obsessed with seeing beautiful hair.
BTC’S STEPH: Yes, having a proper consultation is so important.
A real consultation—which everybody should do in the industry! I want to speak with my clients, I want to do a proper consultation with my client and my client will tell me how she feels; What makes her unhappy, what are her needs. If you want a look change, we do a look change. Of course, we are change-makers. I change the haircuts of the most famous people in the world.
*The Method is also known as “the invisible haircut”—cut with patented texturizing shears that remove 12 percent less hair than traditional texturizers. The techniques focus on the hair’s natural fall and individual suitability instead of geometry.
Why do you think I do a TV show at my age*? Because I want to help the industry. I want to help my partners to elevate the culture of this industry. I want to be on TV because I want [people] to see that I built a world empire from a very little village with 500 inhabitants with no money. They have to see this, they have to see that it’s possible. They have to see that this is a beautiful profession, that you meet the most amazing people that your culture can grow.
*In 2023, Rossano Ferretti is partnering with Shine Iberia to develop a new television series for hairdressers: HairStyle: The Talent Show—read more here!
BTC’S STEPH: Who else learns “The Method”?
I never wanted to make money on education. I wanted to teach the people that were talented enough to work with me. I really want to be a free spirit, a free thinker. In fact, my haircut is a liberation of haircutting. I liberate beauty. I personalize beauty. I create the bespoke beauty.
BTC’S STEPH: What experience did you want to cultivate with your first salon In Parma, Italy?
I opened my first salon when I was 30 years old. It was the first apartment salon in Europe: first floor, Renaissance building, sofa chairs, a few mirrors, art and a Venetian chandelier from the 15th century. Why? I said well, because I want to offer an experience to my client. I’m not here to sell a haircut. I offer an experience. So I was called crazy. [Every other salon was on the streets.] When I was 40 years old, I was still fighting to create the new generation of thinkers because Instagram wasn’t there. When I was 30 years old, Google didn’t exist. It was a completely different world than today.
I did seven to eight shows around the world with L’Oréal Professionnel and Wella. I was the first that introduced video in the show, working with chill-out music, simply cutting hair with top models with high couture [in Moscow, Tokyo, London, Paris, Milan, Madrid, Los Angeles, everywhere.]
BTC’S STEPH: Now, you’ve expanded Rossano Ferretti salons all over the globe.
First Madrid and then Miami, and then at one point, companies were asking me to open luxury salons all around. I did but I was not happy with those kinds of salons—too many people, too many chairs. At some point, I decided to join the best hotels in the world which is what we are doing today. Today, we have 22 destinations and they are salons that are [two to four] chairs.
BTC’S STEPH: As you expand your salons, how do you carry that same ethos of your first salon in Parma?
Exclusivity. Privacy. Bespoke. Parma has been the pillar of my life. Everyone who works with us has to go to Parma to learn, eat prosciutto and parmesan cheese. People come there and really understand the values and pillars. Over 90 percent of people that started to work with us are still with us. So we create a very interesting, large family. They feel that this is really something very special.
Inside the Rossano Ferretti salon at the Park Hyatt in New York City.
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BTC’S STEPH: You launched a product line. What is one thing you want hairdressers to know about it?
I’ve been here 50 years [in the industry]. I’ve launched how many lines in my life? I’ve been advising [for] how many companies in my life? So, this is not a marketing tool. This is a product that performs in a very sustainable way—natural ingredient-based—100 percent made in Italy, with [the] ultimate technology and great performance. We want to be very exclusive, selective and help the people that want our help, and support the salons that want to be the best salons and offer them the best products.
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To read more about Rossano Ferretti, click here.