by Priyadarshini Paitandy, contributor, firstname.lastname@example.org
It is a glorious sunny day. A cruise ship from Malaysia to Singapore makes its way through the sparkling water. On the sun deck, people laze, nursing cocktails and catching up on their reading. Meanwhile, after a long night of partying, Savio John Perreira sits down with his trusted pair of scissors as a bevy of co-cruisers gather around him. They want the celebrity hairstylist to work on their hair.
“I styled hair almost everywhere aboard the cruise liner. On the helipad, the deck, by the pool, even at the Science Centre in Singapore,” he laughs, adding, “It was an experience to cut hair at these offbeat spots, all the while with the gorgeous sea in view.” Savio is used to friends and family always asking him to do their hair when he is around. “It doesn’t annoy me, though. It is therapeutic and de-stressing. But the only thing is, with family, you can never make them happy… there is always one strand that they think is sticking out, or too long, or too short,” he laughs.
In Chennai for the launch of Cryo Detox hair treatment by Kerasoul, Savio did a demo of the new procedure. The process includes a step where liquid nitrogen is sprayed on the hair strands, which creates a dramatic shroud of vapor. “It is a hair and scalp detoxifier that also helps repair and strengthen your hair,” he says.
There is a lot going on in the hair industry right now, he adds. And it is important that all professionals keep updating their skills. “Changes are happening at a crazy pace. Ours is the fastest growing market and clients know their products now-a-days. You can’t make a mistake when you tell them something because now they have Google baba with them.” Savio recalls how back in 1997, when he started, clients used to come to him with film magazines, show him photographs of celebrities and ask him for similar haircuts. Things aren’t too different now; only, instead of magazines they show him images on Instagram on their smartphones.
Once upon a time in Bollywood
Over the years Savio has worked with Priyanka Chopra, Shilpa Shetty and Neha Dhupia, and he says they were experimental with their styles. “I have created a lot of styles for Bollywood. When people were still crimping their hair, I was ironing it. That disconnected fringe with blonde highlights that every actress has sported at some point, was done by me,” he says.
However, his biggest challenge was when he did Priyanka Chopra’s hair for the movie Love Story 2050. He had to color it red, then brown and then red again, in a span of three days. “In between her film shoot, she had to do an ad campaign for a hair care label and they wanted her hair to be brown, so I had to do it.” Working on movie sets, he adds, is “pakao-ing!”
What he truly enjoys is being on stage, teaching and travelling. Which explains why he took a year off in 2008, and travelled to 27 countries working at different salons: from Sydney and New York to Amsterdam and Barcelona. Savio says that everywhere the clients almost always want the same things. Their hair problems are the same, though the texture is different.
He adds that part of the reason he left India was because his first salon did not do too well. “Because I am a bad businessman,” he confesses. But 12 years later, he is in a better place. He has two salons in Mumbai now, and is working on a new line of products. He also has plans to start a salon in Chennai by mid-2020, followed by one each in Hyderabad and Delhi.