Science and style. Method and creativity. Logic and magic. These are Dr. Boy Vazquez’s mantra for his latest undertaking – the Shunji Matsuo Hair Studio. Yes, the owner of the unique Cafe Juanita has also ventured into the salon business, part of his personal vision of promoting well-being among his friends and patrons. Together with international celebrity hairstylist, Mr. Shunji Matsuo, they are creating a magnum opus that aims to make the “salon experience” – unique gratifying and pleasant.
The “Man Man” – Mr. Shunji Matsuo is a veteran in the international fashion world. He built his reputation while he was in New York, from the 70’s until the mid-90’s, where he worked with celebrities like Brooke Shields, Cindy Crawford, Uma Thurman, and Cristy Brinkley, to name a few. His hair creations have been showcased in fashion glossies like Vogue and Harper’s Bazaar as well as on the fashion runways of famed designers like Oscar dela Renta, Yohji Yamamoto, Calvin Klein, and Donna Karan. In 1999, he settled in Singapore where he established his very successful salons and the recent years witness his continued growth, with new salons being opened in Kuala Lumpur and Vietnam, and bringing his craft to Manila as well in Pasig City, he joined forces with the similarly artistic and creative Dr. Boy Vazquez.
A retired OB-GYN in the salon business? Dr. Boy is no stranger in breaking stereotypes. “Ordinary” and “typical” are not in this doctor’s vocabulary. His idea of beauty goes beyond looks. He has been fascinated by Imelda Marcos, an icon during her time. She was not just as a patron of art and beauty, but one that oozed with flair and classic style. He believes that flair and confidence comes from within the individual and so he wants his clients to feel good while in the salon and hopefully he or she exudes that, when one leaves.
Much like his restaurant, he wants the interiors of his salon to create an experience of beauty and the so-called Japanese “kimochi ii”, which roughly means “a good personal feeling.” The interiors is the doctor’s installation art, reflecting his moods and ideas. As one entershte salon, a welcoming living room meets the guest, adorned by colorful sofas, vintage center, and side tables, 50’s lamps and warm-colored carpets and luxurious chandeliers. As one settles down, the guest soon notices several pieces that add to the character of the place such as richly colored Thai and Japanese umbrellas, antique cabinets, gentle buddhas, and Thank monk statues. The doctor’s personal collection of antique tocadors often entice guests to sit, pose, and pretend to be a Grace Kelly. The ambience is intended to reinforce the experience of beauty, pampering, and luxury.
Behind this experience of beauty and style – is a science. Stylists are chosen not just for their creativity, but at Shunji, they are also trained on Mr. Matsuo’s system and method. An international director is sent by Shunji to stay for at least for two years to lead the team of stylists in the salon. Mr. Aremond Yong, is the current international director. He is veratile in current trends but also uniquely understands clients who want to be a bit “conservative.” The salon stylists are regularly updated by Shunji Matsuo- Singapore’s director for its academy, Mr. Crhistopher Lim. He visits the manila salon every 3 months to update and continually train the local stylists who understand that there is a science behind coloring, perming, cutting, and styling. Stylists at Shunji also enjoy a unique benefit of being educated by a real hair doctor, in fact, one of only two medical (non-surgical) hair specialists in the Philippines – Dr. Jun Bormate, the second doctor of the house.
At the mezzanine of the building, the Adolfo Skin & Hair Clinic, is run by dermatologist, Dr. Adolfo “Jun” Bormate who happens to be the first Filipino dermatopathologist to be board-certified by the International Board of Dermatopathology. In this age of media-hype, he offers nothing less than honesty on the impact of products and treatments on one’s skin and hair. Botox, chemical peels, and other skin and hair treatments also done with a relaxing spa-like setting. Certainly, his expertise lends science not only to his skin and hair clinic, but also to Shunji Matsuo Hair Studo, to whose stylists, he also imparts important cautionary knowledge that other stylists do not even bother to think about. Indeed it is a good blend of science and style.