The Australian master of sexy healthy hair, and man behind Emma Watson’s legendary pixie cut, has transformed New York’s fashion scene with five edgy salons throughout the city. From the football field to fashion week, the Redken Ambassador shares his success story.
In a vast and luminous SoHo salon, buzzing with blow dryers, conversations and a pop-rock soundtrack, Rodney Cutler, wearing a pin-striped blazer, is finishing a classic cut on a white-haired lady. Tanned, beaming, his curls carefully styled, he crosses the salon, talks to an indigo-haired assistant, grabs a few products and returns to his clients. He whips out samples of scented gels he’s developing for a client, and, on his phone, a photo of his wild-haired teenage twins, whose mother is Puerto Rican. “They have Afros!” he exclaims. Tireless, the man cuts, styles, gently shakes manes or sprays them with a glimmering mist. He is the owner of the five salons that carry his name, an ambassador for Redken, the new artistic director for the Ratner salon chain – and he concocts products in his free time. An adrenaline addict, he also trains every day at dawn for marathons and Iron Man races.
From A Melbourne Football Field To NYC
The man who oversees a team of over 150, a regular at fashion shows and a celebrity favourite, spent his childhood on cricket and football fields in a Melbourne suburb. Fascinated by hair, he began his career in a Melbourne salon thanks to a teacher who found him a gig at the age of 16. He learnt the tools of the trade and decided not to complete his high-school studies. He went on a backpacking tour around the world and, having landed in New York by chance in 1992, walked into the Bumble and Bumble salon, an experience that changed his life. Determined to get hired, he stopped by everyday until he got an assistant job, consisting of cleaning and making coffee. He persevered and succeeded at the salon, until, in 2001, he opened his own eponymous space. He wrote a column for Esquire magazine, worked with more and more celebrities (Emma Watson, Paul McCartney, Fergie, Rachel Ray) and designers (Tory Burch, DKNY, Monique Lhuillier, Betsey Johnson). His brand has become iconic of the city that, just a few years earlier, he fantasized about.
A Laid-back, Edgy Look
“My passion is to create, to work on new projects,” muses the 50-year-old stylist. “What I love about New York is the constant energy, the diversity. Each one of our salons has its own style and signature. New York is a city where each person has found themselves and their tribe. Cutler represents the city and our own team reflects that energy; each member has their look. Our aesthetic is laid back and edgy.”
“Trends Start At The Shows”
The Cutler team is always in tune with new trends, working on fashion shows like Billy Reid or Claudia Li and following new cultural movements and street style. “Everything starts at the fashion shows,“ explains Cutler. “Then trends are quickly adapted by celebrities and magazines. New Yorkers are savvy and come here for our fashion sensibility. We have models, business women and men, artists.“
But beyond the shows and stars, what continually inspires Cutler is the world around him. “I find ideas when I travel,” he says. “I’m so curious about the world. I grew up in closed suburbs, and when I travel, I see textures and colors that expand my mind. What changed my life was getting into a plane.”