Tony Lofoco: The Rise of the Avant-Garde Coiffeur

WRITTEN BY GIOVANNA BONOMO-BLESCIA

“My success isn’t knowing how to do hair, but in
transmitting the essence of diversity and inspiring
people to embrace their inner visionary.”

P rivé is an appointment with beauty and atelier exclusivity that offers all genders and personalities the gift of discovering a new dimension of elegance, harmony, and total transformation in a refined and sophisticated boutique in the heart of one of the most beautiful coastal towns in Puglia. The creator of this boutique-inspired coiffeur is Tony Lofoco, a celebrity hairdresser and image consultant, recognized throughout Italy for his Avant-guard techniques and extraordinary ability to make even the unruliest of hair obedient at his single touch.

Privé caters to people who want to feel beautiful and unique without having to conform to fashion trends. Tony Lofoco, a hairstylist with an artist’s touch, is highly sought after in Italy for his savoir-faire and ability to transcend his energy, experience, and expertise into all aspects of hair. Lofoco is the trusted hairdresser of Italy’s most illustrious art, fashion, and entertainment personalities.

FROM ASPIRING ARCHITECT TO HAIR ARTIST

At first, I liked the idea of being in the limelight,but when I entered
Mimmi Colonnas Salon,
 I discovered my love for hair.

Growing up amid tightly packed centuries-old buildings, Lofoco was obsessed with the plethora of geometric forms that made up the aesthetic of his hometown of Bari. “I didn’t dream of doing hair, Lofoco admits. “I dreamt of being an architect.” But the allure of seeing his celebrity hairstylist uncle, Mimmi Colonna, in the limelight enthralled the aspiring architect. At 16 years old, Tony began learning the art of hairdressing from his uncle. Within a few short years, Tony the apprentice became Tony the lead hairstylist for major televised events, including the Miss Italia contest, Sanremo Music Festival, and Haut Hairstylist for runway fashions shows, including Fendi and Armani, Missoni, and Versace.

 

HAIR TREND FORECASTER

Lofoco’s refusal to squeeze his clients into one-size-fitsall trends occasioned a few raised eyebrows, he admits. As is the case with most visionaries, Tony was frequently reprimanded for his creative vision, considered “too much, too soon,” by his contemporaries. Lofoco sites Peach Blonde as one such example. He was the first to launch the soft and subtle peach sorbet pastel colour tone in 2009—when it was popular nowhere. But most importantly is Lofoco’s uncanny ability in bringing the dead back to life—in terms of hair and emotion, that appeals to him most.

THE CLASH BETWEEN BEAUTY AND TRENDS

The young artist would later branch out to gain experience in different salons in Puglia. He found other stylists’ tendencies to follow the latest trends over the style that suited the shape of the individual’s face perplexing. “Hairstyling is an art, but not all hairstylists are artists,” Lofoco admits. “My success isn’t knowing how to do hair, but in transmitting the essence of diversity and inspiring people to embrace their inner visionary.”

HAIR IS A FABRIC

For Lofoco, hairdressing is the art of shaping the hair in a way that gives life to a personal and tailor-made style. “I tell my apprentices, “You will know when you can do hair well when you understand that hair is a living fibre, a material, and just like a tailor can do wonders with fabric, so too is the hairstylist. If we know the fabric we are dealing with, the products become our assistants shaping the hair into anything we want. Whether it’s a simple blow-out or Haute hair, I am convinced there is nothing I can’t do with this luxurious fabric we call hair.”

OPTIMISM IN THE FACE OF THE PANDEMIC

Opening Privé in the ultra-sophisticated coastal town of Trani during lockdown meant the couple would have to leave the workforce, risk everything  they had to embark on the unknown with no assurance their investment and vision would see the light of day. Despite being advised to veer on the safe side, Antonia was confident to take the helm and steer her and her husband’s future in a new direction—pandemic or no pandemic.

PEOPLE DON’T WALK INTO A SALON FOR A HAIRCUT. THEY ARE SITTING IN FRONT OF YOU BECAUSE THEY WANT TO FEEL BETTER ABOUT THEMSELVES. THE GREATEST SATISFACTION IS WHEN A CLIENT LEAVES FEELING BETTER ABOUT THEMSELVES, ABOUT THEIR DAY, ABOUT LIFE IN GENERAL, THAN WHEN THEY CAME IN. TRENDS CAN’T DO THAT—KNOWING HOW TO GIVE OUR GUEST THE PERFECT CUT AND COLOUR DOES.

THE VISIONARY MANAGER BEHIND THE ARTIST

Not wanting Tony to continue to conform to the status quo, and to help him put beauty before trends, Tony’s wife, Antonia Parisi, an exAmazon investigator with a successful career in sales spanning nearly two decades, proposed a deal: If Tony followed her lead in opening and managing the salon, he would have the creative control he had always desired—a bold move at an uncertain time. Parisi’s father was a cruel master, taken to enforcing Parisi to work for free during the summer while her friends enjoyed the thrill of Puglia’s crystalline seas. As a teenager, understandably, Parisi considered her father “The most loathsome character” in the story of her adolescence. However, she now credits his seemingly “harsh” parent management with instilling in her a lifelong appreciation for organization, work ethic, and discipline.

OPTIMISM IN THE FACE OF THE PANDEMIC

Opening Privé in the ultra-sophisticated coastal town of Trani during lockdown meant the couple would have to leave the workforce, risk everything they had to embark on the unknown with no assurance their investment and vision would see the light of day. Despite being advised to veer on the safe side, Antonia was confident to take the helm and steer her and her husband’s future in a new direction—pandemic or no pandemic.

A POST-PANDEMIC RENAISSANCE

According to Lofoco, the next trend based on the current mood is returning to our origins: the cottage club, the farmhouses, and agriculture. “People have learned to appreciate what matters, and the innate desire to return to our origins is the result of this illumination, like a common thread that connects us to nature.” Privé’s upcoming “Renaissance” collection, scheduled to launch in Fall 2021, was not inspired by trends—”It was inspired as all of my other inventions, after a close study of design throughout the world and extracting a mood, hence a modern-day renaissance.


“CURIOSITY PUSHES US TO LOOK FOR NEW INSPIRATIONS, BUT NOT ONLY. AMBITION, OUR DESIRE TO LEARN, THE STRENGTH TO FACE FEARS AND THE DESIRE TO GROW PUSH US TO CHANGE THE FRAMEWORK IN WHICH WE SEE THINGS. DURING THIS LONG PERIOD OF LOCKDOWN, WE HAVE ALL LEARNED TO APPRECIATE AND REDISCOVER BEAUTY. NOW IS THE TIME TO ABANDON FEAR AND PUSH THE ACCELERATOR ON OPTIMISM.”


CONCLUSION

The story of Privé itself, and the inspirational way Antonia relates it, testifies to her business  savvy, unwavering optimism, and Tony’s flair as the archetypal 21st century equivalent of the renaissance artist. To walk into Privé is to walk out with a newfound appreciation for beauty. Don’t visit Puglia without experiencing Tony Lofoco’s magic touch on your hair and spirit.