Founded in 1996, Contesta Rock Hair is more than just a salon, it’s a styling laboratory. You can find it in five major cities around the world: Rome, Florence, New York, Miami and Shanghai. Creative inspiration and technical know-how are the driving forces behind its team of young, cosmopolitan stylists who are always on top of the latest trends. FAB checked it all out.
Five Cities, Five Homes
One brand, five salons, five cities. The brand’s founders, Alessandro Santopaolo and Massimo Bianco, made this choice thinking not of strategy but of their shared passions, as Alessandro, Contesta Rock Hair‘s artistic director, told FAB: “At the very beginning we didn’t choose New York, Miami or Shanghai. We ended up in these cities for holidays or for fun, and later we decided they were the right places for Contesta.” Each studio takes full advantage of the collective dynamism that comes from its team’s close collaboration. Everyone at Contesta shares the same philosophy: one of fun, of being on-trend and of promoting urban styling.
Urban Style: A Source Of Inspiration
Finding inspiration and staying on top of the latest trends is a real challenge for all hairstyling professionals. At Contesta Rock Hair (CRH), the teams keep a very close eye on what’s going on. “We are constantly looking for inspiration, giving our team the opportunity to travel all around the world to find new ideas, trends and styles. Our research take place in the city, on the street, from people living the urban life – that’s why we like to talk about ‘Urban Style’. Urban Style comes from the street: accessories and clothes must be comfortable as well as trendy. We want you to be able to put on your backpack and sunglasses and rock the city!” a laughing Alessandro told us.
The brand’s close connection to urban and street style is something they use to anticipate and get on top of new and future styling trends. For Alessandro, Contesta Rock Hair’s style can also be defined by its permanent dialogue with the most creative and innovative movements coming-out of urban culture: “Our stylists always find inspiration in the different parts of the cities where we have our salons and they pay particularly close attention to updating Contesta Rock Hair’s own urban style.”
Digital, online tools are proving to be a real goldmine for anyone looking to keep up with the latest trends. The brand’s own site is a great example: their online approach to styling is dynamic, daring and above all connected, as Alessandro explained to FAB. “CRH is a ‘social’ brand. You can find us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and so on… as a unique brand with 13 salons in the world. Our social media platforms are constantly updated – we think they’re a key factor for our business to reach customers and communicate with them, but also to improve and challenge ourselves with the world outside.”
Bespoke Styling: Stronger Than Trends
Although the latest trends have a huge influence on the work of Contesta Rock Hair’s experienced stylists, the most important thing for them is their clients’ own desires. For Alessandro the best, trendiest style is the one that “matches your face and your personality. We always try to go past the cliché of fashion trends, working as much as possible on the personalization of each client’s cut. Our work is based on the study of the face and the personality of each client to fully personalize their style to make them feel elegant and comfortable. However the longest-running trends in all our salons, in Rome, Florence and all over the world are related to coloring. Perhaps that’s because of our in-depth know-how concerning these techniques. This year the biggest hair trend is the ’70s Metropolitan Style: from long, soft and feminine to short, edgy and androgynous with natural colors.”
That said, the brand’s strongest selling point is not its coloring know-how but its mastery of the cut. The two founders developed their own revolutionary technique that they teach to every stylist working at a Contesta Rock Hair salon. The principle is a quick cut, one that’s geometric and choreographed, and that is focused above all on volume.
That’s the best way to explain the brand’s “Cut The Edge” philosophy: “The concept of Cut The Edge comes from our desire to make our brand cutting-edge, innovative and avant-garde. The ‘cut’ is the gesture that characterizes our work as craftsmen. But it also symbolizes our intent to ‘cut down’ any form of geographical or expressive barriers,” Alessandro concludes enthusiastically.