Can it EVER be worth spending 1,000 on a hairdo Super-stylist Rossano Ferretti's special cutting technique is put to the test
06:58 GMT, 27 September 2012
So what's he going to do, weave gold into it’ asks my 17-year-old daughter Molly. ‘Or diamonds’ suggests my husband Matthew, hopefully. Our son, Robert, 13, adds: ‘1,000 for a haircut Don’t be stupid, who would pay that’
My mother sounds equally incredulous, telling me that her hairdresser in rural Gloucestershire has just raised her prices — to 10 for a cut.
One thousand pounds is an incomprehensible, indefensible amount to charge. But it’s a sum some people are happy to pay — in the way they might pay 140 million for a three-bedroom penthouse on London’s Park Lane or 10,000 to fly their nutritionist to Monaco for the weekend.
Life’s different up there in the luxury stratosphere, and I had a taste of that when I had the 1,000 haircut last week.
Before: Alice Hart-Davis before having a 1,000 haircut from Rossano Ferretti
That's better! Alice after Ferretti worked his hair-cutting magic. But was it worth 1,000
Of course, it’s no ordinary chop. It’s done by Italian hairdresser Rossanno Ferretti using The Method — his own patented technique for cutting hair. It pays particular attention to the way your hair falls, its structure and texture, rather than cutting it into a particular shape and styling it into place. The idea is your cut is subtly carved to your character and uniquely flattering. For 1,000, it’d better be.
I hadn’t heard of Ferretti until he opened his salon in London’s Mayfair earlier this year. After doing hair at catwalk shows for the likes of Armani, Yves St Laurent and Dior, he spent the last 20 years perfecting the art of the haircut.
He is tight-lipped about his A-list clients but Salma Hayek and Angelina Jolie are among those to have tried The Method. There are now 20 ‘hairspas’ around the globe bearing his name, from his native Parma, to Madrid, LA and the Maldives. In other words, he’s huge.
Top of the chops: Actress Salma Hayek is rumoured to be a fan of 'The Method'
Expensive taste: Actress, Angelina Jolie, is also said to be a fan of Ferretti's techniques
Ferretti’s new London base is a beautiful townhouse where a good-looking, immaculately suited doorman ushers me past the spacious, calm, immaculate salon, up a sweeping staircase lit by Faberg chandeliers to a private room on the first floor.
I’m confused by the concept of a hairspa, but essentially it’s like the swankiest hairdressing salon you can imagine — only more indulgent.
It’s minimalist verging on plain: the walls are white, the floorboards black, the curtains dividing the room velvety. There are no flowers and little furniture. Rather than champagne, I am offered Italian red wine and crumbly Parmesan, but I opt for coffee. Being Italian, they don’t do decaf, so one of the gorgeous staff hotfoots it to Eat next door for me.
Maestro: Ferretti gets to work on Alice Hart-Davis' hair
The salon is the opposite of the usually cramped, bustling High Street affairs, where blasting hairdryers drown out the blaring music. Instead of a tattered magazine, I’m given a glossy copy of Ferretti’s portfolio. When he appears — a waistcoat and patterned scarf dandifying his tight, white T-shirt and black jeans — it doesn’t take long to realise he takes his job as the self-styled Leonardo da Vinci of the hair world very seriously.
He doesn’t look pleased as he eyes up my hair. I ask what he thinks. ‘I don’t like to criticise anyone else’s work,’ he demurs. ‘Oh, go on!’ I insist.
‘This is not a cut. It is all . . .’ he looks at my locks with distaste, struggling to find the words to describe the horror of what is happening on my head. ‘. . . Chopped!’ he spits out. ‘In the 1970s, maybe, but how can anyone do this now’
I confess my hair is still suffering from the DIY cut I tried for this paper earlier in the year.
Ferretti regards me as if I am completely mad. I’m ushered into another private room to get my hair washed with Shu Uemura shampoo, which contains precious oils. Then The Cut begins.
Ferretti’s not one for chat but I keep up a string of questions. I learn hairdressing is in his blood. His grandfather owned a barber’s near Parma in Italy. His mother had a small salon, and Ferretti began learning the family trade at 14. He started cutting hair for Armani’s shows when he was 18, and spent a decade in fashion before embarking on his mission.
‘I was obsessed with the idea of creating a haircut that made a woman’s life easier, that would work with any kind of hair,’ he says. ‘So I developed a new technique. I had to break the rules. I realised I had to move myself around the hair, not stand there like a pillar.’
He arches over my mine, as if he’s doing a yoga stretch, using scissors he designed himself. The blades have gaps so they snip only 18 per cent of the hair, which he says helps ‘give softness to the cut’.
His technique soon caused a buzz in the industry. Vidal Sassoon mentored him, and four years ago he signed up with L’Oreal as a global spokesman. He and his sister Lorenza, who co-developed The Method, teach it only to stylists they hand-pick for their salons.
And why the huge price ‘I raise my price so nobody wants me,’ he deadpans. Seriously
‘Seriously. I don’t want clients. That’s my goal. I have 20 hairspas. I want people to go to my guys who are cutting in the salon the whole time, they are better than me. They charge between 140 and 200. I am flying round the world. How can clients wait for me’ Talk about playing hard to get.
In 15 minutes, the cut is done; a shorter, shaggier style than the random layers I had. Ferretti doesn’t dry hair — presumably it’s beneath him — so I’m passed to a sidekick. Stylist Pol shows me that I could leave my hair like that, but dries it into curls for the camera. This is a key thing about a ‘Method’ cut; it can look as good left to its own devices as it does when slickly styled. I love it.
‘It’s not a proper haircut,’ Ferretti says, when I thank him. ‘That was a hair SOS.’ He tells me I must return in two months for an appointment with one of his minions. Even the most expensive haircut in the world doesn’t last for more than two months, it seems. He kisses me gravely on each cheek before hurrying off, taking a phone call in French.
At home, my family say it looks nice but not 1,000-fantastic, and are more concerned with how long supper will be, which makes me feel marginally less than a million dollars.
Is it the most expensive haircut ever It’s certainly among them. Nicky Clarke and Paul Edmonds charge 500 for new clients, and Hollywood’s Chris McMillan, who is Jennifer Aniston’s long-term stylist, is said to have charged $1,000 (about 600) for Miley Cyrus’s bleached crop last month.
The most I’d want to pay is 100, and if it wasn’t for my job I’d go to Hair @17, my local salon in Paddington, London, where the brilliant Deon cuts my family’s hair for 25 a go.
Admittedly, my new style looks good — great, in fact. But still, I think, no 15-minute trim could be worth that hair-raising price.
Rossano Ferretti Hairspa, 17 St George Street, London W1 (020 7493 0555). Method cut from 140; cuts with Ferretti, 1,000.
HAIR HEROINE: NATALIE PORTMAN'S BLONDE MAKE-OVER
Celebrity colourist Karine Jackson gives her verdict on actress Natalie Portman’s colour change.
Natalie Portman is a fabulous example of how to go blonde in style. To do it, you need to determine your natural shade — you can go three or four levels lighter than this.
Natalie’s colour looks natural because it is broken up, especially near the roots, which makes regrowth easier to maintain. For a glossy finish, use an organic colour without ammonia. The latest technology uses heat to help hair absorb colour and is much less drying.
Blonde hair needs extra care, so wash with a shampoo containing silver, and nourish it with weekly protein-rich hair masks.