Studio Fontana, a superstar salon located in the heart of Toronto’s Fashion District, is the brainchild
of leading Toronto stylist and image consultant Francesco Fontana.
It was inspired partially by Francesco’s love of fashion, and partially by his desire to create an
accessible space for hair and fashion newbies who don’t necessarily have an established studio
space. Up-and-comers can take advantage of the space with no extra charge, and clients who are
getting their hair done get to experience a live fashion shoot in front of their very eyes. It’s a very
simple, yet magical concept.
“I also love it for our team of artists who work in our space to be inspired constantly by outside
glam squads who use our space,” Francesco explains. “We get to see what new things our peers are
offering to the fashion and hair scene, so I thought that would be a great experience for our team as
Fontana describes the salon as a fashion hub for everyone to use for artists’ creative needs. It also
doubles as a professional photography studio for the in-house artists, complete with a single cove
(cyclorama) for photo shoots – a first of its kind in a hair salon.
The space itself is big, beautiful, and incredibly bright. It also features a beautiful hand-painted
mural located behind the studio’s shampoo area created by the unbelievably talented painter and
tattoo artist, Susan Vilchez, aka Suspiria.
Providing an amazing client experience is a contributing factor to Studio Fontana’s vibe. This, of
course, starts with providing a positive and encouraging space for its artists to work in. Francesco
says that he tries to create a culture that allows freedom for Studio Fontana’s artists. “They can
work whatever hours they want. They have the freedom to keep all of their own client files. We
encourage them to do this out in the open – there is no need to keep it on the DL. One thing I don’t
like is when an artist makes a decision to exit, they stick around for a few weeks trying to get their
clients’ info. The energy in the salon goes south, and everyone can feel the tension. This avoids
Fontana says that he makes sure that the energy in the salon is always fun and positive. When
picking a new artist to join the team, his main focus is how they will get along with existing artists.
If the mood is dark in the salon on a particular day, Francesco says he’s a big believer in buying
chocolate or something sweet to brighten the mood.
The freedom of creativity is a big part of Studio Fontana, and every Wednesday a creative session
between artists takes place. Francesco believes that when artists come together and join their
creative minds, anything is possible. The goal is to get to a point where the studio can do anything
that is currently happening in the industry. Artists support each other in figuring out ways to create
the hottest colours, cuts, and styles.
“It’s great training, but also my hopes are that our journey in finding the ways to get there leads to
roads untraveled, therefore being innovative as well,” says Francesco. Maybe our mistakes will lead
to cool new ideas that otherwise haven’t been thought up yet.”
Francesco encourages his artists to bring their talents to the table and see what they can offer the
industry as a team. And if nothing else, they get to have fun while doing it.