By Stef Schwalb
Stylist John Sahag was a renowned hair industry veteran who was known internationally for his artistic talent and signature, revolutionary “dry cut” technique. He had styled strands for over 30 years starting in his hometown of Sydney, Australia. He then spent some time in Paris perfecting his craft, which is also where he received his first editorial credit in Italian Vogue at the incredibly young age of 18. He has been featured in numerous prestigious beauty magazines during his career, and in 1985 he settled down on Madison Avenue when he opened the John Sahag Workshop. After passing away from lung cancer in June 2005, the salon was passed on to his dedicated staff (whom he affectionately termed “his kids”) to carry on his legacy of creating beautiful hair for every client. Each treatment, cut and customer experience is thought of as a tribute to John Sahag while the staff has initiated a new era for the Workshop, one that remains true to his memory. We spoke briefly with senior stylist Karmela Lozina about the man and the continuance of his mission.
BN: John Sahag was known for the creation of his “dry cut” technique. Can you tell us what this translates to regarding how a hair style is created, and also how is it being used today by the staff who is dedicated to preserving his legacy?
KL: We blow the hair straight, iron it and then cut the shape of the hair according to our clients’ features. It’s like a sculpting. It’s individualized for every client, and it works on every hair texture. We perform a technique called tapering, and our method is only done by the stylists at the salon. The only way you can learn it is by working at the John Sahag Workshop.
BN: What are some of the things that John Sahag did that inspired so many stylists?
KL: The John Sahag Workshop has been and continues to be one of the most creative atmospheres you can find in Manhattan. The space is incredible, and everyone wants to be in a spacious, beautiful environment. (John Sahag designed it personally as a serene and intimate atmosphere that he was quoted as saying would be an “oasis away from the frenetic pace of New York life”). It’s so spacious that it makes you feel like you have your own shop. And everyone that John chose to work with is so nice. The staff is amazing; so creative and talented.
BN: To honor John’s memory, the Workshop will be setting up the John Sahag Foundation and it’s rumored that a portion of the sales proceeds of his signature product, the unique 3D Volumizing Gel, will go toward it. Can you give us some details about the foundation’s mission and goals?
KL: The foundation is in the works. We are just in the process of building one. It might be for underprivileged boys and girls who are aspiring to be hair dressers, a mentoring program of sorts. (In addition to educational elements, a recent release to the press revealed this tribute charity will also give fund to cancer research.)
BN: And speaking of the 3D Volumizing Gel (John Sahag’s final creation), what makes the product so unique?
KL: 3D makes your hair huge. So if you don’t have a ton of hair, we can build it! You can use it wet, fine hair to blow it out smooth, or even leave it in curly hair to make it bigger then before.
The 3D Volumizing Gel and all other products in the signature John Sahag line, which was recently relaunched with sleek, new packaging, are available at the John Sahag Workshop located at 425 Madison Avenue on the 2nd Floor. The menu of services includes cuts, colors, blowouts, up do’s, wig cuts, extensions, and assorted treatments for conditioning, dry and oily scalps. And in addition to its dedicated staff, the Workshop also boasts some committed celeb clients too, such as Gwyneth Paltrow, Kirsten Dunst, Jennifer Lopez, and Sarah Jessica Parker. For more information, call (212) 750-7772.