Hairdressing as an occupation dates back thousands of years. Ancient arts depicts people working on another person’s hair. Even the Greek writer, Homer mentions hairdressing in his writings. Hairdressers have influenced style for ages and their inspiration in the fashion world continues today.
Federico Calce is hairdresser to the stars with a client list that includes Eva Longoria, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas, Rosario Dawson, Katie Couric, Betsy Johnson, Nicole Kidman, Meg Ryan, Michelle Pfeiffer, Sigourney Weaver, Alec Baldwin, and Mel Gibson. His services are competitive, with haircuts costing $200, a blow dry, $85. A single process hair color starts at $140, with full head highlights running $350.
Besides haircuts and color, Federico’s salon offers an extensive array of hair services and treatments. And he’s willing to accommodate his most discerning clients, offering his services 24/7, often traveling to location for performers, models, and visiting dignitaries. He recently coiffed the women of the Saudi Royal Family and the Duchess of York. Federico and his employees maintain a very active schedule that puts them on location for special events like the Drama Desk Awards, Tony Awards, and Fashion Week.
Federico’s salon was located for 11 years at 36 East 57th Street and has been located in The Benjamin Hotel on Lexington Avenue for the past three years. Now, he is planning a major move to 57 West 58th Street in a 31,000 square foot facility that will have 26 active chairs. The work of Federico is very much in demand and he maintains a staff of about 25.
Federico began his career at age 16 in Milan learning from his brother, Rolando. By the time he arrived in the U.S. in the 1990s, he was already an accomplished hairdresser. Regular customers make up 90 percent of his client list, the remainder coming from concierge referrals that often involve in-room services. He has earned the “Concierge Choice” award that gives him referrals from the top hotels in New York City.
“I love women,” Federico said, explaining the passion he has for his work. “The most beautiful thing in the world is a woman. To make them smile, to see their tears of joy makes my job wonderful. I also like to learn about my clients and what makes them happy. Their occupations and their interests help me to know more about the extra care I can give them and the styles that will suit them.”
Federico took time out from his busy schedule to answer questions about hair styling, care, and trends.
I can’t honestly say there is any one particular celebrity that clients look to mimic. The overall style is very loose and soft, like Emma Stone for down hair, or Jennifer Lawrence for up dos. Younger girls are looking for braids to be incorporated into the hair like we have seen Jessica Alba wear a few times. All these looks are very soft, yet sleek and polished.
What’s the best way to get hair clean? Shampoo? Or just conditioner?
Shampoo certainly cleans the hair, however it is very important not to shampoo too often. If sweat is a factor, once every two or three days depending on your activity level, is enough. The hair tends to adjust on its own, causing the scalp to secrete fewer oils with less frequent shampooing. If the hair is very dry and flaky due to the dry air, we recommend substituting one of your weekly shampoos with just conditioner to replenish the oils on the scalp. It is also very important to pick the right shampoo for the hair. For oily scalps we recommend using our Clarifying Shampoo. This is a very strong shampoo that cleanses the hair and scalp. Whereas our Moisturizing Shampoo is meant for dry hair and scalps. It has less sulfates and sodium meaning that there is less foam, allowing more of the natural oils to remain while packing in necessary nutrients for the hair.
Is there a time when a woman should stop coloring her hair?
There is never a time to stop coloring. If the hair starts to feel dry from coloring, switch to an ammonia free color.
Are bangs in or out?
Bangs are moving more towards the side. A nice long side bang is very in now. It allows for more versatility in the hair. The short bangs are in still! They look amazing on lots of face shapes. They should not be too thick or too thin. My favorite style of bangs is the halo shape that is more rounded and blends very nicely into a frame for the face.
Hair extensions are a great thing. They are not meant for everyone and we prefer our clients to use clip ins only for special events. Many women do need extensions for the extra volume or length. Over 70 percent of American women have serious concerns about fine and thinning hair. Hair loss can be experienced due to hormones, stress, thyroid, pregnancy, chemotherapy, or simply genetics. I am a founding member of the Evolve Volumizer System. It is a natural, undetectable and affordable service that provides instant volume, texture, density and color enhancement without harmful chemicals, glue or adhesives. It is 100 percent human hair that is integrated into the hair. This has been by far the greatest breakthrough for extensions since it will not damage the hair in anyway.
What are the new looks for hair this spring? Is on-trend hair long or short this year? Sleek or messy?
Hairstyles alway depend on the occasion. Last year’s retro up dos are making way for sleek hair worn down. Waves, Waves, Waves. Everyone wants the look of sleek polished waves, not the messy beach waves from last year. As for haircuts, we are seeing a movement towards volume – and lots of it. Women request haircuts that they don’t have to blow dry and are really wash and wear but that may be polished for a night out. Face framing is very in. The look is extraordinarily easy for people to maintain while allowing versatility.
Some stars are still coloring their hair in pastels like violet or pink. Are there any color trends this spring for the regular woman? Is ombre dead?
Ombre, in the sense that the average person knows it, is dead. The harsh look of very dark to very light is dead. Many more people like to do 3-D colors. Staying with browns, gold, and reds. It requires stylists to blend different shades of the same color. They are very harmonious and add tons of dimension to the hair making it appear fuller and thicker. The colors should be thin to avoid the zebra look.
I notice many stars (Emma Stone, for example) on the red carpet with loose curls that seem to end with a blunt or straight edge. Is that something that requires a stylist or can the look be achieved at home?
It is a difficult look to achieve at home but very easy for experienced stylists. Stylists can achieve this loose curl to a blunt edge with only a round brush and blow dryer. For people who don’t want to go to the salon, we recommend pin curling the hair while wet using a gel to ensure that the shape stays and is frizz free. Allow the hair to air dry and then simply brush out the hair using a flat brush or wide tooth comb, preferably wooden since it eliminates static.
What is your favorite cut that can go from day to night?
Long layered hair with a swept side bang. This allows a woman to have natural volume and shape during the day so it is a wash and wear style that can then be polished into loose waves or up dos for black tie events. I also love to do a soft pixie look for tall-necked, thin women. It is a statement maker and adds a ton of style for them. Very easy to wear and only requires a little gel to fluff it up for a night out on the town.