As the name suggests, cult clippers and colourists Contesta Rockhair was conceived in 1996 by Alessandro Santopaolo and Massimo Bianco to invest some much needed glam and pizzazz into what was up until then a rather staid Italian salon scene. Inspired by street trends, music, fashion and art, the brand swiftly gained a name and reputation for itself with urban hipsters and style mavens alike. Cut to (no pun intended) 2013 and Contesta’s salons have spread to Rome, Florence, New York and Miami as well as Asia’s only outpost in Shanghai, where Art Director Manu Santopaolo’s renowned informal and friendly style even incorporates spontaneous outbursts of song.
Located on the former French Concession’s happening Julu Road, the 2-storey Contesta salon is a picture perfect demonstration of ‘loft’ grit meets creative flair, with white painted brick walls, industrial chic exposed ducting, chain link fencing and raw, unpolished concrete. Along with cutting and styling, the salon offers more advanced options like extensions, dreads and afros, as well as all-important, humidity-busting straightening using imported P.E.C products from Japan. The space also functions as a semi gallery/exhibition space from time to time, but above all, don’t be surprised when the music ramps up and the dancing starts... Rock on!