A man's relationship with his barber is, or should be, one of the most important in his life. This has been clear to me since I was as young as 7 when I first started to visit the hairdresser's on my own. Over the years, I've realised that an essential part of a great grooming experience is how comfortable you feel with your barber. Working on this post, I also realised how sort of intimate the whole process is. Having a familiar face taking these pictures felt a bit like letting them in on a personal secret.
I first met Stefan some 2 years ago at a chic barber shop on Saville Row and, as they say, I never looked back. He is now one of the excellent grooming experts at the new Dolce & Gabbana menswear flagship store, which opened back in June. The barber shop, hidden away at the back of the ground floor, welcomes its guests with a beautiful sitting room that might feel like you've just walked into an Italian-flavoured luxurious version of a gentleman's dressing room. Should you need to wait for your barber, an up-to-date selection of the latest men's magazines can keep you entertained and informed. Passing the deep green velvet curtain that opens into the grooming room, a larger green space opens up framed with dark carved wooden details and what is probably the highlight of the room – a sultry picture of Scarlett Johansson that sometimes makes it hard to concentrate on the conversation.
Before Stefan even addresses the issue of my hair, I am always offered a drink. Regardless of what day or time it is such elegant surroundings ask for nothing less than champagne or whisky – if there ever was a chance for you to think you're Don Draper, this is definitely it.
The best part of what follows is that I barely have to elaborate of what I want for my hair. Stefan knows what I like and, in my years of trying different barbers, I have never met someone better at it. In the 45 to 60 minutes this process takes (cutting a man's hair requires close attention to detail) there are no more references to my hair, it's almost as if you were just having a drink with a pal who happens to be excellent at cutting your hair.
Visit Dolce & Gabbana at 53-57 New Bond Street, London W1S 1DG.
Big thanks to Stefan Avanzato, Rana Toofanian and Alessia Bossi.
All images Fashion, Frankly