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Last updated: August 30, 2017

Rest In Peace, John Dellaria

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John Dellaria was a gentle yet powerful force in the hair and fashion community for more than 60 years. A thoughtful visionary, John was affectionately referred to by his loyal clients and staff as “the hair brain.” Dellaria was a kind man of many talents and few words. When he did speak, it was inspiring and delivered in his signature ‘Bostonian’ accent.


John’s career started as “Mr. John” of Continental Coiffures on Langley Rd in Newton Centre, Mass. In the 1960s, Dellaria opened his first salon in Boston and for many years served as Chairman of Dellaria Limited with salons throughout Massachusetts.


In 1981, Dellaria opened a 5,000 sq. ft. salon in a historic landmark building at 433 W Broadway SoHo, NY. The ‘ahead’ of its time tri-level salon had computers, video monitors, movable dryers, studio lighting, a central vacuum system and freshly brewed espresso and cappuccino. Designed by John and manager Fred Pirkey, it was christened the “Love Boat”. However, New York magazine wrote that the salon was a rocketship. “It’s definitely the spankingest white space we’ve seen.” (New York/November 2, 1981)


Dellaria said, “New York itself is a tremendous source of creative energy. Being in SoHo allows me still greater freedom of thought and expression.” It also allowed John to expand his network of artists and entrepreneurs who pioneered the renaissance of SoHo into the thriving retail and services district it is today.


Dellaria’s philosophy was: “Hair is fashion. Fashion is change. Change means being today and sometimes tomorrow. Nothing dates us more than our hairstyle. It must remain current, reflecting where society is and who we are at the moment. For me, the hairstyle is the most creative way of expressing who we are and who we hope to be.”


John authored “Changing Styles” a book showcasing his Pyrametrics Cutting Method®–a revolutionary approach to hairstyling that created an international cadre of designers who built loyal client followings using Dellaria’s Pyrametrics. John and many of these hairdressers came together in the 1990s to create Beauty Cares/Hair Cares Foundation, Inc., a non-profit organization that focused on AIDS awareness through fashion shows, like the always to be remembered benefit held at the Palladium on July 15, 1996.


During a career that spanned over 60 years, John mentored 1000’s of hairdressers who adored him and found inspiration in his approach: matching the hairstyle to the person. “Before you look at their hair, see the individual and decide what will make that person look and feel attractive.”


In 1990, Dellaria and his best friend, Joe Tucci formed Ariella Inc., a professional hair care company. They patented a delivery system to protect colorists from the danger of powered bleaching agents, (D-Chrome) brought aluminum packaging to the industry (Dressy Mist), re-introduced pomades in glass jars (Fix and Stay) and targeted the growing population of male salon-goers. Always committed to the 1000’s of hair artists he trained who went on to open their own salons, Dellaria’s Shuga Hair Care products are available today only in professional salons.


During his reign as one of America’s top hairdressers, John served as President of Intercoiffure North America Canada and as its Fashion Director for six consecutive years. His honors included “Intercoiffure Man of the Year” and Hall of Fame Inductee, “Owner International Award,” “Super Styler” and “Salon of the Year.”


An international guest platform artist, Dellaria and his stylists were regularly featured in Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Town & Country, Coiffure de Paris, French Vogue, International Hairdresser and New York magazine and many others.


In his signature all-black attire: jeans, T-shirt and Yankee cap, John was well-known in the restaurants where he gathered with friends to cheer on his ‘hometown’ team, the NY Yankees. John, the photographer, uniquely captured fashion and life on the streets of NY through eyes that deeply appreciated the beauty in all people and things. He will be remembered by his friends, family, clients and staff as a gentleman who gifted us with his magnetic smile, kind acts and words, laughter and great hairstyles.


John Francis Dellaria was born in Massachusetts on April 8, 1936. He left us on October 2, 2016. His legacy lives on in the hairstyles created by salon professionals who use his cutting system purely and with their own innovations. Countless hair and fashion stylists, friends and clients were touched by the hands and enriched by the heart of ‘the hair brain’ John Dellaria. His work as an influential hairdresser who contributed so much to so many is complete.