SPOTLIGHT: Hairdresser Paolo di Pofi
Article by Tiziano Fusella
Finding a good hairdresser is complicated. Some people—mainly women—compare it to marriage. Men might compare it to finding a good tailor.Celebrity hair stylist Paolo di Pofi owns Leggiadrìa salon in the heart of Rome and collaborates with salons scattered around the globe. He’s had his hands in the hair of Jeremy Irons, Dominique Swain, Monica Bellucci, Mira Sorvino, Uma Thurman, Susan Sarandon, Rosario Dawson, Naomi
Campbell, Kate Moss, Eva Herzigová, and many other actors and models. Yet, he’d say that he’s indistinguishable from any other hairdresser who knows the trends and responds well to clients—and is responsible for creating magic with scissors, brushes, blow dryers, dyes, combs, shampoos, and conditioners.
As that kind of magic blossoms, the feeling of well-being it brings is natural. All great hairdressers are confident about their own creativity and ability to put a shine “on the client's head,” build trust, and even to entertain.
Now that you’ve met Paolo di Pofi, here’s a chance to know him better.
Fusella: You’re able to establish an extraordinary friendship with your customers. What's your secret?
di Pofi: My first approach is always professional. I have to show that I know how to manage my job and also give something more, something that other hairstylists don't. From that moment on, a deeper relationship of mutual esteem and deep trust can take place.
There’s one thing I really care about. In more than 30 years, I have never gone beyond what is allowed, never overstepped boundaries. It’s a matter of education and training. [Being in someone’s] confidence is a thrill. Sometimes people go to the hairdresser to talk, to seek relief, and a profound exchange arises. But detachment is needed. One can be confidential, intimate, but discretion is necessary. That’s what I care about the most.
Fusella: I remember a few years ago I dealt with French hairdressers who became a power lobby. In some small towns there are more hairdressers than fruit sellers. That’s when they began to press the government to favor their business. Their blackmail weapon was the secrets confided to the hairdressers.
di Pofi: You can get to know very private confidences. How to behave in these cases is a delicate issue.
Fusella: So what you do about it?
di Pofi: When someone talks about a third person and I already know the situation, I pretend not to know. Other times, I show I have not understood correctly. Otherwise, we can get into a dangerous dynamic. Confessions in the hairdresser's chair must remain in that spot.Fusella: With the pandemic, your work has also reinvented itself. What about you?
di Pofi: Actually, in this job I always have to reinvent myself. The new generations have different needs than in the past. Today they all use social networks and I had to adapt. I avoided them before the pandemic, but then I was forced to use them. I felt it like a violence.
Fusella: A learning curve.
di Pofi: It is a delicate matter. Social networks give visibility, but for my job it’s not always necessary. I prefer quality to visibility, and quality coincides with word-of-mouth. Visibility alone can be inconsistent. But that’s the way it goes now, so I use Instagram and Facebook.
Fusella: Do you have any upcoming projects?
di Pofi: I will resume business in New York, where I teach at Warren Tricomi. Then I will also resume business in Tokyo.
Fusella: Of all the things you’ve seen in the world, what impressed you the most?
di Pofi: At every latitude, I find different hairdos. Hair is the result of culture and taste. The more you travel, the more you can do an extraordinary job because there’s an infinite search behind it. The heads I work on, I like to consider as a tailor tailors suits!
In the year 2000, Paolo di Pofi received the Stelle d’Oro Della oda (Golden Stars of Fashion) award. In 2005, he received the L’ago d’Oro” (Golden Needle) award. To watch Paolo work his magic in a video, go to www.youtube.com/watch?v=osWKaSunnk0.
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