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Wild 1920s are back in fashion

19 April 2013 / 21:04:32  GRReporter
5607 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

A bell is ringing. "Please, have a seat. Would you like a trim or a shave?" Music from the 1920s is playing, beakers of male cologne and razors are shining in front of the two mirrors.

Vassilis Monastirlis also looks like a character in a Hollywood film. Patent leather shoes, black trousers, white shirt, braces, brilliantine hair combed to one side and a small black moustache, also fixed with a special comb.

"En Athinais 1928" barbershop opened a little more than four years ago. At that time, its creator worked at various hairdressers’ and taught at a school for the infamous Figaro’s young followers.

"I had been invited to teach at the school of Antenna TV. I sat down, buried myself in the history of the art of haridressing and found that modern man has actually not discovered anything new other than the use of electricity to do the job. Wigs were widely used in ancient Egypt and the blonde hair obsession that we see in Greece today is not at all new. People used a dye made of different minerals even in ancient times. Even the Cycladic figures have different plaits carved. Hair waving is not our patent either. Not all the curls we see on the ancient sculptures were natural – neither the hair, nor even the beards of men."

Exploring the literature, Vassilis found that men’s hairstyle has its own history and that even before the appearance of the styles Baroque and Rococo, hairdressing actually was an art for men. "The last 30 years have been detrimental to the barber’s profession. Everything has revolved around women’s coiffure and men have been left aside. However, things shouldn’t be this way. It is wrong to think that men’s hairstyles are identical. Every face and head is different and the hairstyle follows its lines."

Vassilis decided that if he ever opened a hairdressing saloon, it should be for men. "Moreover, the period 1920 - 1950 has always impressed me. This was the time when men were very attentive to their appearance, and Americans elevated barber art."

Evidence of this can be found in his barbershop. He is the owner of one of the four chairs with black porcelain made for the well-known, in the early 1920s, American chain "Terminal barber's shop". He found the other chair in an Italian hotel. He brought, again from Italy, a street barber’s bicycle, which dates back to 1910 and which is equipped with everything needed for a refreshing shave.

Original "Gillette" blades, soap powder, a sharpening device for old-fashioned razor blades, curling irons, which are heated by burning gas and even tools for the treatment of teeth at that time, when barbers performed this role too, complement Vassilis’ collection.

So far, he has collected 1,400 items produced and used in the period 1880-1970 and he is planning to arrange them in a large window in his barbershop.

Vassilis’ customers are aged up to 55 years. "The style of the barbershop impresses young people more than middle-aged men. They often want to have a hairstyle of that time, to grow and shape such a moustache or a beard."

The economic crisis has hit this branch too and men have reduced their visits to the barbershop. "Before the crisis, they came every 25 days and now, it takes them two months to come sometimes." However, Vassilis is definitely one of those people who would do their job for free.

The barbershop offers discounts for its regular customers. Very soon, brides will have the opportunity to make a present to the grooms – a special procedure for the wedding day, and two pin-up girls will wash the hair of customers on a particular day of the week too. For those wishing to indulge in the spirit of the 1930s with brilliantine hair and thin, waxed moustache, Vassilis’ barbershop "En Athinais 1928" is located in the centre of Athens on 5 Sofokleous street.

You will easily recognize it by the typical red-blue-white coloured spiral sign and the charming spirit of the "wild 1920s."


Tags: SocietyRetro barbershopMens hairstyles
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