You meet very few hairdressers like Roberto Carminati. He does not like the limelight, although he has every reason to be in it. He does not like the wild life, although he has every opportunity. He is talented and talks of luck…
Although his salon is not in the center of town, it attracts the clients everyone dreams about: actresses, singers, models and famous journalists. They come from all over, even by plane and although Roberto is very busy, he always makes time for his clients.
How does he do it?
He says it is all thanks to his wife, Francesca.
How did you become a hairstylist and how have you evolved since your initial decision?
I’ve always wanted to do what I am doing now. When I was small I used to watch TV and I dreamed of doing the presenters’ hair. I can’t tell you how excited I was when Rosanna Vaudetti, one of my myths, happened to come to the salon where I was working and I was the one to do her hair. My professional evolution has been guided by a great passion for my work and a certain amount of luck.
My luck was having met a teacher like Enzo Laurora. I was working in a salon near the RAI (Italian State television) where I was able to meet a lot of famous people from TV, the cinema and show business. It is an ascent that has not ended, which gives me enormous satisfaction, more than I ever expected.
Can you explain better….
I was lucky enough to marry someone with a superior intelligence. I have invested 40 years of my life in my work, and she has always understood how fundamentally important my work is for me. Francesca is my muse. If I have been successful in my work it is due to her and to our perfect understanding. We have three children, who are still young, with whom we spend all our free time.
Do your clients come mainly by word of mouth?
Word of mouth works, if you will allow me to use the term, for ‘ordinary mortals’. For the others, the opposite counts. The so-called VIPs tend to protect the little secrets behind their beauty and do not fully disclose their recipes. From this point of view there is a certain reserve and almost a touch of jealousy with which they preserve their secrets.
You have countless VIPs amongst your clients…
It’s time to debunk the myth that famous people are not people… like anyone else. I can say one can have deep friendships with them, which ironically puts hair in the back seat. Sometimes I have to almost become their shadow and follow them everywhere. I can mention Carmen Lasorella, Roberta Capua, Antonella Clerici, Alessandra Martines, Maria Grazia Cucinotta. Donatella Pandimiglio. I divide my time between them, reconciling my family time as well.
And so VIPs are not all ‘whims and curls’?
Apart from a very few exceptions, they are usually all very satisfied that someone dedicates time exclusively to them, without interruptions or distractions. They trust your professionalism and suggestions.
How do you organize your work?
With my head and with my heart. I work seven days a week, and am available on call all the time. I try to establish a unique relationship with my clients, trying to get to know them so I can offer them my very best. My clients don’t come in just because they pass by the salon – they choose me and confirm their choice each time.
You have accepted new challenges abroad and now you have a salon in London. Are you a born traveler?
Maybe. I first traveled on my own at 17 to visit relatives in Australia. Being in such different environment stimulated me to continue being inquisitive and not to stop, either for work or for pleasure. In life I always try to satisfy my curiosity and passion, the latest of which is architecture. This is an important source of inspiration which I incorporate into my work. I always try to draw on other disciplines to nurture my creativity.
My salon in London opened two years ago. It is in the exclusive spa of Angelo Caroli, which happened by chance. I was at a wedding to style the bride’s hair where I met the owner of a prestigious hotel. He gave me a suite in his hotel where I went every fortnight to do the hair of his friend. It is how the salon started.
Psychologist or witch doctor?
Perhaps something of a psychologist. I always try to understand the person who is in front of me, sometimes even giving some advice…
We think that somewhere you have hidden your magic wand…
Mmm… my salon is too small to hide anything: 500 square feet. It is difficult even to realize that you are in a salon. Rather, you seem to be in a boutique where everything is reduced to the essential but with great attention to detail. Every chair is different, there is a parquet floor, fresh flowers, lights that change depending on the time of day. The atmosphere is soft and relaxed with a delicate fragrance of oranges and cinnamon in the air. It is a place where you relax and get the right boost of energy. Here I have to thank my architect friend Fabrizio Taliento who has played a great part in interpreting my personality, expressing it in my surroundings. We will soon be further renovating the salon, and I am sure that it will be even more relaxing and yet functional.
Any other essential tools?
Without doubt the products I use in the salon. Since last May, the various lines by Kemon. Kemon is a very Italian company with products of unquestionable quality. Their organizational structure also offers me guarantees to build a lasting human and professional relationship.