« Take a break with… » Slava Astapov – Hair stylist – St Petersburg
How did your career began?
I guess I’ve been lucky, because since my childhood I have dreamed of this carrer and being a hairdresser was the only possibility for me. I remember when I was 5, my friends were coming to my house and we were all playing the « Hairdressing salon » with my mother’s curlers, combs and hairdryer. Now I do the profession I love and I’m a happy man.
My parents were not quite ok with my choice, I had to insist and I finally left for a 3 year hairdressing school. It was a period of transition in Russia where products from Europe were starting to appear on the russian market. I was19 years old and I quickly realized that to improve myself I would have to study and travel more.
For two years I had the opportunity to work in the Carita beauty salon that had just opened in St. Petersburg. The level was different and it was a different way of working, with new products. The team was very professional. There, I met Jean-Claude Gal who influenced me a lot for the future.
Then, through a training period at the Carita Paris salon, I started to really develop my own taste. I could expand my knowledge and improve my technic. This experience has been a real source of inspiration.
You work for fashion shows, fashion shootings and in your own salon. How do you manage your time?
On the one hand it takes a lot of energy, but on the other it gives even more strength. Physically, it is difficult, but without it I can not live. I can’t live without my work. I need to create these emotions. On top of that, I think you can succeed in any field if you give the best of yourself.
What inspires you?
Anything can inspire me. Starting with a nice hairstyle on a girl I see in the street, to the architecture of the city of St. Petersburg, which is for me a constant source of inspiration. The city can sometimes be depressing but at the same time it gives me a lot. Otherwise, people, travels, anything can inspire if you’re aware and receptive.
What are your favorite hair products nowadays?
These days, my favorite one is Oribe. Whenever I use these products, I think you really can feel that this is a brand created by a hairdresser. I also like Philip Kingsley care products, a great trichologist. I try to find new quality products every day because the Russian public is very demanding. This is due to the fact that it’s quite recent that we have this culture of hair care here in Russia.
Who is your ideal woman?
For me it’s Julianne Moore, she is a sublime woman. Her work with Tom Ford really moved me. I generally prefer original people. Meryl Streep is a charming woman, enigmatic.
I had the pleasure to work with Diana Vishneva, the ballerina of the Mariinsky theater, who became my muse. I am always fascinated by the way she embodies the characters she plays. Once I walked into her dressing room before the show and saw her sitting on the ground in an unimaginable pose, she seemed to be surrounded by a creative energy. In a moment like that you realize that you are beyond reality.
How do you see yourself in 10 years? What are your dreams?
I would like to work in Europe and perhaps in the United States but above all I would like to have the opportunity to work with new teams. I dream of working with the Oscar team. Tomorrow, I’m going the United States, for the first time in my life, to Miami. I hope that this experience will be rich in emotions.
What do you think of the image and style of the current Russian woman?
The image of Russian women has progressed over the past two decades. We keep an eye on Europe but Russia follows its own path. There is a real marriage of colors from the Orient, Asia and Europe because our country is so multinational. This is why there are different trends in fashion and beauty. I think the image of Russian women is changing with its new personality.
What advice would you give to new hairdressers?
First, believe in your own success. And of course work a lot and do not be afraid of being different and follow your own path.
What is the most important thing in your work?
Observe … Feel the client’s soul. This comes with experience.I dream that everybody will achieve true inner and outer harmony. I think it is possible. A good hairdresser must feel the mood of the customer, understand their inner world and reflect it in their hair style.