He’s not exactly the new kid on the block, but many are now just discovering Nunzio Saviano, a hairstylist whose passion for creating styles that look as good in three months as they do the day he cuts them, is helping him build a cadre of devoted enthusiasts.
His salon, housed in a restored brownstone located at 130 East 65th Street, has been a hair retreat of one name or another for the past 30 years. The two-floor structure welcomes guests via a cozy reception area adjacent to a changing room. Upstairs, a modern yet minimally decorated styling area awaits, which is separated from the color area next door, and the washing and processing station, which is behind yet another wall for privacy. Nunzio uses Kerastase and Philip B products, staffs two senior colorists, a junior colorist, two senior stylists, a junior stylist and five assistants. Prices for cuts range from $90 with a junior stylist to $125 with a senior stylist. Cuts with Nunzio are $275. Color starts at $85 with a junior colorist and goes to $225 for highlights with a senior colorist.
Nunzio arrived in the US via Naples 25 years ago, landing in North Carolina where he attended beauty school. Eventually, he moved to New York and worked under hairstylist Mark Garrison, who he attributes to helping him define his current style of blending Italian, French and the Sassoon method of hairdressing into a one that focuses on a tailor-made cut based on a person’s bone structure, hair texture and lifestyle. Nunzio also tried his hand at coloring for three years, but it simply “wasn’t his passion.”
Prior to opening his eponymous salon two years ago, Nunzio worked at Oscar Blandi, and then at Sharon Dorram for Sally Hershberger. He had been looking for a salon of his own off and on for several years but eventually he gave up looking since the perfect spot never seemed to work out.
And then the townhouse came on the market.
“I wasn’t even looking when this became available. But I took a look and when I did I knew it would be perfect.”
Nunzio is humble, sharing that he is still in training as “he is always learning from everybody,” especially from the salon’s younger generation.
“Now that I’m a salon owner I look to learn from the assistants. They are young and creative. I’ll also learn about styles just from taking a walk around downtown, whether it’s a braid I see or how people are wearing their hair.”
The valuable lesson he’s learned since becoming a salon owner?
“Everything. Whatever I thought I learned, I needed to re-learn. And now I always know to have a Plan B. That’s how it works. My schedule over the past 25 years has always been different day to day. I expect every day to have a new challenge.”
The newest skill he had to acquire since opening the salon?
“How to manage people. But what’s been easy is motivating my staff. I am always motivated. I get bored so I always change things up. I am never stuck. And my staff appreciates that.”
Educational classes for the staff are held every Wednesday, which begin just after Nunzio finishes up with his last client of day. Subjects focus on whatever is trending.
So what’s trending?
“Women want shorter hair, like the lob, which is still very popular. Also, products that you spray on to give hair texture.”
Recently, Nunzio put his knack for changing things up by launching Anti Frizz Sheets, a product that combats frizz for at-home or on-the-go use. The sheets, which use coconut oil, are used by wiping a sheet from root to tips, and are formulated to also add shine and hold in moisture. Nunzio said it took four trials to get the sheets the right texture and efficacy but the final product is what he was looking for to target unruly hair.
“It’s small so it can go anywhere. And it feels like cloth, not like a dryer sheet. My clients and friends have tested it and love it. Results last up to two days.”