Thursday, 29 August 2013
Any rakish gent will know the importance of a great haircut. The way that you have your hair almost defines your whole look and influences the way that you dress. Mr Franco Vallelonga is one of the UK's most famous and talented hairdressers.
Known for his understanding of what men want and how to get that look, his work has been featured in magazines such as, as well as on numerous fashion campaigns. Franco's amazing grooming has been featured in 7th Man, Attitude, Esquire, i-D, Mens Health, Shortlist, The Telegraph and Wallpaper along with loads of other titles. Franco has chosen the favorite of his images for this post, and all images have been kindly reproduced with permission from Franco.
I have been lucky enough to steal some of Franco's precious time and ask him a few questions about his career and his thoughts on mens hair generally and for the coming season.
Interview with Franco Vallelonga
RG: Tell me about your background and how you came to be a hair stylist?
FV: I was born and raised in Perth, Australia by Italian parents. I was the youngest of 3 children. I was always determined to do something that I would really enjoy when I got older and was quite arty from a young age. I wanted to be an interior designer in high school, but at 15 did some work experience in a hair salon After this, it felt very natural for me to be in a hairdressing environment. The guys at the salon offered me an apprenticeship so I followed this path. I later studied and received my Art & Design certificate and began to study Interior Design. I missed hairdressing so much that after 6 months I went back. I moved to Sydney in 1999 and after a year headed to London. In 2004 I won a place as part of a Fellowship for British Hairdressing F.A.M.E team which led me to start working on hair styling teams for New York, London, Milan and Paris fashion weeks as well as on photographic shoots.
RG: Tell me about the team that you work, their talent and experience.
FV: I work with many teams, Era Artist Management represents me. The team there represents photographers, art directors, hair stylists, stylists and make up artists and offers a full production and constant liason through the day. I have been lucky to work with some amazing people. I love meeting new teams especially when we produce amazing work together. I also work at Percy & Reed Salon (http://www.percyandreed.com) around 6 days a month, mainly Saturdays, just to see my clients that I have been looking after for years, from when I was working full time in a salon. My clients have seen my progression and have become friends who have been very supportive and encouraging. I have been working there for a few months now and its great working somewhere where everyone gets along.
RG: What are your male clients coming to you for at the moment?
FV: Most of my male clients come to me for the usual hair styling and shaping advice. I trained as a barber for the 1st year as an apprentice before training in womens hair too. Most men want hair to look good and be low maintainence. Maintaining great looking hair involves more than good communication with the client. I generally like to cut men's hair in a way that works with the natural movement that they have. I like hair to grow out and still look as good as it did on the day of their appointment. A lot of my clients have their beard shaped too and that is becoming as important as the hair on their heads. Defining a neck line can make or break your full designer beard.
RG: What are the key trends and styles for mens hair for Autumn 2013?
FV: A more groomed look. A more traditional short back and sides with side parting, but not as slick as S/S 2013. More texture on top is an alternative to the slick side parting. If you have a wave in your hair, you should embrace it and enhance it. We are still seeing shorter back and sides but more length and volume on top.
We will also see more shine with styling cremes and gloss products being used. An alterative style is a natural finish (wash and wear). Longer, textured styles created with mattifying products like sea salt sprays, loads of texture and volume.
RG: How do we achieve these looks?
FV: Think more relaxed and groomed as opposed to super sleek. After washing your hair and towel drying, apply a small amount of product, either a leave in conditioner or styling creme depending on what your hair needs. Side part your hair working with your natural parting if you have one. Comb in into a sleek side parting but then use your fingers to comb it through and loosen it up. Wait until its semi dry or dry to do this. After, use a gloss product to give it extra shine and hold. The second style is easy. After washing your hair and towel dying, apply a small amount of sea salt spray to your hands and work into place with extra matte paste after.
RG: What products can your recommend?
FV: I tend to like trying new products all the time. Every product has something slightly different from another and you really need to find the one that works best for you. Here are some products I used for the looks coming out for Autumn 2013:
Wella SP Men Hair & Body Shampoo
Ojon Super Sleek Restorative Blowout Perfecter
Wella SP Men Cream Wax
Sebastian Shine and Flexible Hold spray
Bumble and Bumble Brilliantine
Bumble and Bumble Surfs Up
Percy & Reed Superstar Supersized Bodifying Cream
Bumble and Bumble Thickening Creme Contour
RG: What is it about you that sets you apart from other stylists?
FV: I do a lot of male grooming on shoots and I guess most groomers are make-up trained, where as I am hair trained. With Male grooming it is really important to have a good understanding about hair and being able to do a trim up if necessary. Of course, knowledge about facial hair is a must. I guess I like to keep at the forefront of what’s happening and what new products are out. Men’s fashion has really boomed in the past few years and men are really concerned about what they look like.
RG: What makes a rakish gent?
FV: I think the key to a great looking man is someone who has made a conscious effort, but looks effortless.
I woud like to personally thank Franco for his time and for being so accommodating. I think you will agree that he is an incredibly creative and knowledgeable person that really knows what he is talking about.
Find out more about Franco Vallelonga at http://www.francovallelonga.com
Sunday, 25 August 2013
This weeks best dressed is 2 looks from the actor Chris Pine. Always known for sporting a smart, clean and sartorially elegant look, the above choices stick to this tradition. I love the checked suit in the first look, and the choice of contrasting tie and pocket square. A light blue shirt works really well with such a strong check and is a welcome change from white shirts.
The second look is a standout for me. It is wonderfully simple and would be a great weekend look for any rakish gent. The denim is clean and straight. The brogues work really well and the knitwear is not too thin or too thick which makes it perfect for between seasons. It also looks to be wonderfully luxurious.
A new article, written by me, has now been published by Debater.org. The article examines the way in which the Crown Prosecution Service has opened the discussion on how cases of sexual abuse can be dealt with. It is an important and most welcome discussion and hopefully it will produce results.
Head to http://www.debater.org.uk/UK.html to read the article "CPS opens discussion on prosecution of sexual abuse cases".
Londono Bags are a wonderful new brand that I have recently been introduced to. Specialising in leather, luxury bags, they offer a wide range of designs that are all smart, elegant and most certainly rakish.
The London collection, inspired by the city, has 19 styles in total, each named after the part of the city they represent. The shape remains the same (boxy, easy to carry and sturdy) but the details of leather and carbon fibre change. A nifty touch is the addition of a GPS tracking device on the bag which is a fantastic detail.
Londono was established in 2012 by Mr Mauricio Londono, who has years of experience as a designer for an international Swiss watch designers. Eager to use these skills in a new way, Londono is a brand set up by him, combining his passion for design and utility with luxury and the very best materials.
The Black Gold (a personal favourite)
Prices range from £500 to £1700.00. Shop the range at http://www.londonobags.com
Bicester Village is the best place in the UK for designer outlet shopping. Full to the brim with designer stores, restaurants and coffee shops, all luxurious and exclusive looking, it is a great place to go to grab bargains. Over the year the menswear there has got stronger and stronger. There is now a pop up Orlebar Brown store which stocks all of the fantastic swim and board shirts, T shirts and vests that are available online, as well as a Dior Homme store, full of amazing monochrome bags, T shirts and simple, clean accessories.
The Paul Smith store deserves a special mention. It is heaving with new collection suits, shirts, denim and accessories including the especially rakish hats shown above.
Bicester Village houses a huge array of designer brands - Hugo Boss, Vivienne Westwood, Gucci, Prada, Alexander McQueen, Dolce and Gabbana and so many more. There is also a great selection of skincare, and home stores.
At Bicester Village in skinny light Topman jeans, Zara print T shirt and Alexander McQueen for Puma sneakers.
Thursday, 22 August 2013
Herringbone is a great fabric from this time of year and goes great between seasons. I love the detail on this suit from Topman which is slim but not skinny. Slim lapels and turned up trousers make it great for after work drinks and I wore it with my Reiss 1971 Spectrum pocket square and a plain white double cuff shirt to brighten it up.
I recently had the pleasure of writing a guest blog post on the site Men Style Fashion which is an online magazine for the style concious male. The subject of the post is hats for men, and I take a look at the wide array of headgear that is now available for men.
Head to the link below to check out some very rakish hats
Monday, 19 August 2013
For the September 'Made in Britain' issue, Esquire have chosen Kate Moss as their cover girl. It is a dramatic and eye catching image - Kate photographed by Craig McDean wearing a Marios Schwab bodysuit and Henry Rose for Stella McCartney tailcoat, looks exactly as we have come the iconic model to look with her suggestive and smouldering, enigmatic face.
This edition is Esquire at its best - full of great fashion showcasing the best of the new season. Jeremy Langmead waxes lyrical on the best of eccentric british fashion. The Mens Collection, styled by Olie Arnold and snapped by Benni Valsson is superb. You will be rushing out to buy a Zegna overcoat and Hugo Boss camel crew neck.
Elsewhere, Dan Davies meets writer David Peace, and Andrew Hankinson goes back to the roots of the English Premier League. Tom Barber also visits St Petersburg, a personal top travel destination.
This issue does exactly what it sets out to do - showcase the best of British fashion (suits by Thom Sweeney), culture, holidays (a weekend in the Lake District) and food (the best fish and chips), all neatly condensed for the Esquire gent.