MILAN — Creative minds cannot be stopped, not even by lockdowns.
Surely the pandemic didn’t discourage fashion accessories designer Andrea Incontri from launching a business.
With a couple of partners and the support of Takara Belmont, a Japanese company specialized in the production of high-end hairdressing equipment, Incontri has inaugurated in Milan Signor San, the new coolest barbershop in town.
“Since I was a child, I’ve always been very much fascinated by barbers, their discipline, the fragrances of the stores,” said Incontri. “And when I used to spend a lot of time in Japan, I was really indulging in their head massages and all their rituals…so when through Takara Belmont the opportunity came up to develop this project, I immediately jumped on it.”
Incontri, who graduated in architecture, personally curated the interiors of the shop, which is located on Via Donizetti, a tiny, chic street in the heart of Milan. Shying away from the image of too classic barbershops, Incontri found a balance between a certain retro vibe and a modern aesthetic with a post-industrial feel. Gray and milk white are combined in the space, which features two large windows facing the street.
“I designed everything from the logo to the labels of our own line of hair and shaving products,” said the designer, who consults for a range of luxury and contemporary brands. Incontri also created the vintage-like graphics printed on a selection of ceramic pocket emptiers, as well as the canvas uniforms worn by the barbers.
Incontri said the shop is also attracting a few women, who show up just for the head massage and the shampoo. “We would like to open in Japan, too,” said the designer. “And maybe in other locations in Italy, even if we want to keep it quite small, since our ultimate goal is to preserve this idea of offering an authentic lifestyle experience.”
Incontri, who was the men’s creative director of Tod’s for five years until 2019, is working on several other projects. He is expanding his artistic project, called “Le Tipe Umane,” which he started a few years ago posting the sketches of different kinds of women and figurines on his personal Instagram account. The designer, who has already staged exhibitions, published a book with Skira and developed a range of embroidered totes, is creating a capsule of cushions and chairs with Seletti.
At the same time, Incontri has launched with a friend, actress and TV presenter Fiammetta Cicogna, a new sustainable jewelry line, called Inbilico, which employs recycled gold and lab-grown diamonds.
“I’m really enjoying working on a range of different projects, since it gives me the chance to express my creativity in many different ways,” the designer said.