Switzerland

Barbershop Wisdom: Why The Dandy Will Outlive The Hipster

Signs of eternal fashion in a new Geneva barbershop that serves men only, and only men who know what will never go out of style.

At Geneva's Dandy's Barber Lounge
At Geneva's Dandy's Barber Lounge
Sylvain Besson

GENEVA — The small world of Geneva's barbers is ruthless. When the Dandy’s Barber Lounge opened a few months ago, its first client was an affable young man who turned out to be a spy sent by a rival barbershop. Assuming a false identity (but with his real picture), the faux customer lost no time in revealing his real intentions when he posted nasty comments online about his brand new haircut — before heaping praise on the barbershop that had sent him to spy.

The Dandy’s Barber Lounge staff is still chuckling about the story. It had no real impact on business, which is going gangbusters, according to Romain Marincamp and Vincenzo Cristaldi, the two barbers in this brick-walled, low-ceiling grotto locale.

The brain behind this vintage-style barbershop is Cristina Le Jeune Giacobbi, who used to work at Procter & Gamble managing hair-product brands aimed at professionals. Her aim was to gather “lots of information about men, their taste and way of life” to find the formula destined to succeed in the long run.

The profile of the ideal customer turns out to be the “dandy,” which Le Jeune Giacobbi defines as caring about his style and yet independent from the fashion trends of the moment. He is also ready and willing to discuss his obsessions with his style brethren.

Lag time

For this reason Dandy’s Barber Lounge is solely targeting men. Le Jeune Giacobbi believes that the fashionable and spendthrift male will outlive one feature at the heart of the latest trend: hipsters’ enthusiasm for beards.

Why then launch a barbershop if beards aren't going to last? Indeed, a few months ago, a French mathematician had predicted that the rapid spreading of the hipster culture will render their look commonplace, and therefore lead to their inevitable disappearance.

But in reality, the beard craze is only reaching its peak today, says Romain Marincamp. There’s always a lag between the moment when people start saying a trend is over and when it actually disappears.

The Dandy’s Barber made sure to have a website where it is easy to make an online reservation. It is an obvious and practical feature that almost none of Geneva's other barbers had thought of — and one that also is bound to last for the long run.

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