RAPHAEL IN 1971
Photo: Klaus Lucka
Raphael Santarossa had been the Raphael of Raphael & Leonard Salon fame with a 5 story mansion on Upper Grosvenor Street In London and had tressed the hair of the superstars and supermodels of his time, including Elizabeth Taylor, Judy Garland, Catherine Deneuve, Jean Shrimpton, Veruschka, for the world’s best magazines and media. He had done the hair for fashion show greats like Dior, Yves Saint Laurent, did the hair for the movie “A Space Odyssey” and he had been the real deal.
He claimed an Italian Father, a Mexican Mother (or an Italian Father and French Mother depending where he was) and he spoke 5 languages fluently, he was a matador for a short time and he “performed the sexiest hair cut in London, dancing around his client like a matador, flourishing such scintillating, skilful scissors that he became a celebrity himself.”
Raphael came to Montreal with high credentials. A big personality, a reputation as one of the great hairdressers of the world, International press to drool over and, well, and and and…
He had been painting in Rome (“surrealism and fantastic realism”) and had acted in films there as Raphael Santos – in a “Spaghetti Western” and with blonde hair in “Hornet’s Nest” (1970) with Rock Hudson. Who knows why he left London, what happened before he came to Montreal with a new lovely Canadian wife.
Whatever, I opened The Raphael SuperSalon for him in Montreal, in 1971. Not just a salon, a boutique, too. The press literally went gaga over him, he had an opening with all the top models walking his salon runway, and I found out what a wiz he was in a photographer’s studio with the “La Femme Fatale” campaign I produced for his opening. It featured hair flicking at the front, and the world took notice of Raphael again because that was very new then. See photos on the Hair/Then menu.
Raphael stayed just a few years in Montreal, then went to New York to work at a top salon, and then opened his own salon, then he vanished.
Wherever you are, Raphael, you were one great hairdresser.
(Added: Raphael Santarossa passed away on October 16, 2006 in New York City. He lived a few blocks from where I live for many decades … )
For more of The Raphael Santarossa Story by Helen Oppenheim in Modern 2017, click HERE
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED © HELEN OPPENHEIM 2012