Anthony Mascolo is known for many things. Hair fashion for one; his inspiring photography and imagery for another. Its all to do with hair for him though, starting out with his brothers at Toni & Guy with whom he shouldered the world famous Toni & Guy business. Then, famously, his concentration on Tigi and its creative team since 2002 creating iconic styling.
“I’m often mistaken for Tony (his older brother),” Mascolo says wryly. (He is in fact, the youngest of the four brothers who worked together to expand Toni & Guy globally.) “It’s because I have Tony at the end of my name!”
He visited Mumbai with his team in March, doing the hair for UK fashion designer Christopher Kane, and launching the Catwalk range with LakmŽ Studio, in whose premises he makes his own fashion statement: blue shoes, brightly colored jacket and scarf, all of which he carries off with aplomb. As creative consultant for Tigi after its takeover by Unilever in January 2009, Mascolo continues to inspire and influence the brand. He tells Salon India about the global world of hair, Tigi and looking ahead in 2010.
How has Unilever taking over the Tigi brand affected you personally?
The take-over by Unilever happened more than a year ago. In this time my team and I have been creating and doing what we were doing as before. We have access to a lot more markets and are looking at more potential growth for inspiration in styling and for a far bigger retail growth than we could have had as a small company. The professional business is new for Unilever as well.
Do you think hair and fashion really connect?
Hair is greatly connected to fashion. Fashion is taken on board by movies, pop video, by celebrities and information is instant now. I remember a time when Paris happened and New York would happen later. Now its everywhere at the same time. Communication has changed everything in the last five years. Hair is part of this great change.
And this trip to India really makes that bond between those two elements?
Yes. It’s really to support LakmŽ Studio with the launch of our Catwalk range. Obviously there are no hairdressers coming to Fashion Week, but we’re working with Christopher Kane with his Autumn/Winter and Spring/Summer collections. So there’s two parts to it.
There are two parts to his show as well. In the first part is very voluminous, very textured and then the second part which is about Christopher’s new collection Ð the hair is very simple and flat. We want the focus on the clothes.
How is it to be one of the big four from Toni & Guy?
I was the one who did all the creative work for Toni & Guy. My brother Toni was in charge of the business, Guy was in charge of the salons, Bruno went off to America and did Tigi. We’re all hairdressers but with different focus.
When I moved to Tigi eight years ago I moved from running Toni & Guy with a staff of 5,000 to just being in charge of my wife and me! So we opened a studio and started doing more photography and more image work and we just built it from there. Then it got to the point where Unilever wanted to buy out the brand and here we are now!
How has the relationship been with your brothers meanwhile?
When we separated we demerged. My brother Toni kept Toni & Guy throughout the world apart from the Americas. My brothers Guy and Bruno and I kept Tigi, which at the time was doing a lot less Ð incredibly less Ð business. My brother Guy passed away last year. And we kept the salons in America, in which I still have ownership. We have 70 salons in America and 20 stores. Last year we sold Tigi. I’m still there as Creative Director. My job is to look after Tigi for the first couple of years.
Was it hard to let Tigi change hands?
I think it was the right timing. It’s like a baby Ð everything grows up and needs to develop more. We were too small as a company to take on L’OrŽal, Wella and other such brands. A company like Unilever is just as big, if not bigger. They’re not throwing money at it, but they’ve got much more muscle power than we could have had. Unilever is a very strong technical company, and we have a great strength in our styling products. Our shampoos and conditioners are among the best worldwide. There are certain areas in which we can grow better Ð that’s why its a great merger.
Tigi has a lot of youth focus. Does that mean you lose your older customers?
On the whole, everything is about young anyway!
It doesn’t matter if you’re old, you still want to feel young, you still want that association with youth! Tigi doesn’t mean just young Ð but rather being about out-of-the box thinking, keeping it exciting and not being old fashioned. We have a lot of older audience who want to keep their youth.
We have our slightly more elegant range like Catwalk. Then we have another range called S-Factor which is not a listed brand as such but it is a good conditioning and treatment for those who care how their hair looks in a deeper way than styling. We try to cater to the different things that people like. That is always a consideration in the service industry. Being a good creator is about finding out the needs of a person and addressing them. And now, we’re in a situation where all of a sudden you can create whatever you want!
Do you still do a lot of styling?
I do a lot of styling for photo shoots. I have a load of assistants, and creative teams to help and work on both routine and creative shows as well. What I’ve done over the last few years is to take a lot of photographs and images and not so much just trying to do the hair. I photograph what we do Ð fashion, wild shoots, lots of different things.
Have you evolved more into a business person over the years?
Oh no, I have evolved into a much more creative person!
I think as a hairdresser one is always involved in business because one does the clients, and when you look after the clients you make money. The thing is that you can be creative doing what you love and feel you have the best job in the world, but you have to think about the money as well. Money is one way of putting a value on what you are achieving and what your goals are even if you’re an artist.
Being creative is one thing, and making that creation a success is also important.
Is Indian hair ripe for styling?
I think the Indian woman is very interested in hair and has such great hair. Styling is not a necessity, but it will be!