by Maria Rossi
photography Arturo Muselli
by Maria Rossi
Figaro’s Barbershop in Lisboa is a haven for traditional grooming and endorser of old-school male camaraderie. Owner Fabio David Marques and his team offer gents the best tailor-made grooming.
The choice of an old location and its interior décor are also other striking features of your barbershop. Is there any piece you are particularly fond of?
There is a long story to be told about the features and decor. Almost every piece has his own story, which makes it overall a long story. Anyway, for what is relevant, this is the first time that a barbershop works in this location. Before, this space had never been used for the purpose of a barbershop.
How did the idea of bringing the American barbershop culture to Lisboa come about and how did it become a reality?
Our cuts are influenced by the 20s to 50s era. Our Barbershop and the environment we try to recreate is influenced by the American Barbershops from the beginning of the 20th century. The reason why we decided to open this Barbershop in Lisbon is because the city lacked places like this one. The owner has lived abroad and traveled to different countries learning and developing the concept. He started cutting hair when he was 15 years old, but only at the age of 29 he opened Figaro´s. It took him two years and an half of extensive research and training barbers. Afterwards, when he found the perfect location, he made the final call and we opened on April 2014.
From your uniforms to the use of social media, where you portray yourselves as fictional characters that go by names like Bertus and Lil Johnny, the way you’ve built and communicate your world shows your genuine passion. Were these ideas something you had in mind since the beginning?
Not exactly. These were names that came over time. Lil Johnny and Bertus only started as apprentices here … when we were opened for 5 months already. The nicknames derived from their first names and some other feature. Like Bertus, his first name is Alberto. Lil Johnny because his first name is John and he is only 17 years old! Having a haircut or a shave at Figaro’s is a total tailor-made treatment addressed to men only.
Can you tell us more about the experience, and your relationship with your clients? Do they usually come to you to get advised or do they ask for specific styles?
The clients know that we only do classic haircuts. So when they walk in they are ready for it. Or they should be. We advise them about the haircut that could suit them best … and if they want something that we know upfront won’t work, or won’t look perfect, we don’t do it. In the end it s the client´s choice but he knows the boundaries.
The core of the experience at Figaro’s is the cut and shave, for which you offer true old school technique and experience and, not least, original products. Among your customers, what is the most popular style?
The style is the classic from the 1920s to 1950s (rock and roller or more classic and tight). Within this style it can range from a Pompadour, to a slickback, or an executive countour. With or without a part. Diversely, we also do some punk/rockabilly haircuts inspired by the 70s/80s (Psycho Quiffs, the Ted, Jelly rolls, Elephant trumph and the flattops). This is the other side of the coin. But you can flip it as many times as you want and it will always fit in our barbershop concept. We are now working on a poster to illustrate our haircuts. It will serve as “menu” for clients to pick the haircut they like from the poster.
Any plans for the future underway?
Many plans are to expand and grow the business. We are opening our barbers Academy by the end of 2015. And we already have some students interested. We are planning to open a Bar which will play the same kind of music we listen to at our barbershop and will have a similar atmosphere. Obviously at the bar women will be allowed. There are other plans as well, but for the time being these are the ones that we are more focused on.
Figaro’s Barbershop is located in Rua do Alecrim 39, Lisboa