Bold designs earn stylist top award

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Tony Ricci named top Canadian hairdresser

St. Albert hairstylist Tony Ricci has won the title of Canadian Hairdresser of the Year for the third time.

The stylist, who owns two salons in Edmonton and a third in St. Albert, submitted five photos featuring his work to the Canadian Hairdressers Magazine’s Mirror Competition. Last weekend he picked up his award at a gala presentation in Toronto.

“It’s just like the Academy Awards. They name the nominees, then they present your work and then they pull out an envelope and say, ‘And the winner is …’ Then they give you a trophy,” said Ricci.

Ricci previously won the same award in 2010 and 2011.

“I missed one year,” he said.

The five models adorned by Ricci for the competition sported dramatic styles featuring other-world-like tresses and equally artistic tattoos. The hairstyles ranged from a black-and white streaked lion’s mane to a sleek, pink, Cleopatra-like cut. Another’s shoulder-length locks were crimped into a style reminiscent of wavy Flapper-era styles while the fourth woman had a mountain of differently-shaded copper curls swept up off the back of her neck.

The lone man in the group had his hair shaved almost bald at the nape of his neck. The interesting feature was a long wave of upswept hair, which soared upwards from one side of his face.

“The judges want you to show versatility as well as the suitability to the model and originality. They look for the entire package including the hair and make-up. Mine were on the edgy side,” Ricci said.

Most of his local clients are businesswomen, with somewhat conservative tastes, Ricci said, and so far, none of them has asked for back-combed, wild lions’ manes. Nonetheless, he stressed stylists across the country find inspiration and motivation in seeing the artistic arrangements in all the submissions. And though his designs were dramatic, they are not that far off the mark.

“The girl with the pink hair – well she loved it – and if you look around Edmonton you will see pinkish-bobs on the street. The lion’s mane was pushing the boundaries, but who knows, maybe in a few years that will be the rage. As for the guy, well the wave was an exaggeration, but men are wearing their hair shorter with longer hair on top, like they did in the 1920s,” Ricci said.

Ricci said he found that as an Alberta-based stylist, it was especially rewarding to win in the East. He was also North American hairstylist of the Year in 2010.

“It’s an honour coming from Edmonton because a lot of times it’s stylists from Toronto or Montreal, because Eastern Canada is sometimes seen as more of a fashion centre,” he said, adding that his submissions for this year’s competition were chosen from among 700 entries from across the country.

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Susan Jones has been a freelance writer for the St. Albert Gazette since 2009, following a 20-year career at the St. Albert Gazette. Susan writes about homes, gardens, community events and people.