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Making (Beach) Waves

By Sarah Gelineau

 

When wandering down the streets of Fulham, London, one might stumble across the original Fulham Salon. Those especially lucky might even walk in while owner Igor Vasiljuk is visiting, as he often is. Vasiljuk, the creator of Fulham Salon, has since opened locations in Belgrade, Serbia, and in our local Newton and Wellesley communities. His journey to success and expansion is a story that spans many years. Although Vasiljuk has laid roots in several locations over the course of his life, London holds his heart.

“London has a special place in my heart and my life. Every time I fly back to London, I refer to it like I’m going back home,” said Vasiljuk.

Vasiljuk grew up in Belgrade and began training in the art of hair at only 16. He instantly fell in love with hair styling and ran off to Amsterdam in 1989 in pursuit of his first big adventure. Upon arriving in Amsterdam, he did not have much luck finding opportunity. This prompted his decision to move to the bustling, cosmopolitan city of London. His first big break in London came when he was hired by MTV, which was his first corporate television gig.

“My first celebrity engagement was Kylie Minogue. Kylie’s very different…and she was shooting a video in London. We met through different circumstances and parties. I did a video with her and, you know, it just starts rolling from there,” said Vasiljuk.

This initial exposure opened the doors for Vasiljuk’s career in the hair industry and laid the groundwork for success to follow. In 1999, while still working for MTV, Vasiljuk opened the first Fulham Salon location in London. The second location soon opened in 2002 in his homeland, Belgrade. During this time, Vasiljuk established an impressive repertoire, styling for award shows, attending and styling for fashion weeks, and working with designers like John Galliano.

In 2006, Vasiljuk’s good friends at the James Joseph Salon & Studios in Boston asked him to join their team as company director. Interested in the career opportunity and change of scenery, he moved with his family to the U.S., all the while keeping an active eye out for locations for his own salon here.

Upon arriving, he spent about three years deciding where he wanted his first U.S. location to be. Los Angeles was his first stop, as he had already established professional connections in the area. Boston was less familiar to him; however, once he arrived, he quickly fell in love with the area. This love of Boston prompted him to open the first America-based Fulham Salon in Newton Centre in 2009, followed later by the location in Wellesley in 2014.

“When Newton started, I wasn’t planning on a second, close location, but that’s how the cookie crumbles. They feed from each other quite a bit, so that was actually quite a good business decision,” said Vasiljuk.

After staying in the U.S. and running his business for quite some time, Vasiljuk noticed some definitive differences between the U.S. and his beloved London.

“Running the business is quite different in London than here. The U.S. market I experienced is Americans spend money, which is a good thing for the economy…Many women in America are very open to what the stylist has to say, if the stylist is open to say it. It’s fast-forward paced in America, if you know what you’re doing. It’s a great opportunity,” said Vasiljuk.

On top of his many career achievements, Vasiljuk was invited in 2010 by the Wella Color Corporation, one of the largest color companies in the U.S., to be on the Wella Top Artist Team. This is a career highlight for Vasiljuk and a position he still holds.

“To join them on the Top Artist Team for the U.S., it was an honor, to be honest. Wella has 500 educators in the U.S. and Canada, and in both countries, there are only about 28 of us in the top tier. So these days you can’t get in unless you audition,” said Vasiljuk.

Vasiljuk continues to live the fast-paced life of a high-ranking industry professional, jetting from fashion shows to award shows and constantly working. His notable résumé includes work at the Emmys, the Grammys, the Oscars, and New York Fashion Week, to name a few. Despite all he has accomplished, he stays humble and credits his success to his constant desire to learn.

“You learn all the time. The minute anybody thinks they know a lot, that begins their descent. Education is something that helped, because I had a different perception of how the hair is done. My experience from before brought something to that, a slightly different flair. [Wella] embraced that and, with them, I learned a lot. I still do,” said Vasiljuk.

As a top stylist, Vasiljuk has had the opportunity to participate in several inspiring projects and, in turn, meet a variety of inspiring people. Within this cornucopia of endeavors, one has remained in his heart to this day.

“My favorite thing that I ever shot was way back. It was a documentary for BBC and it was called “French Beauty.” It was a program about living cinematography legends of France…We were going all through France and visiting those ladies, and doing interviews with them, and I was styling for them. It was Catherine Deneuve. It was Brigitte Bardot. It was a few of them. That was my favorite program I’ve worked on, to be honest with you,” said Vasiljuk.

It is clear that Igor Vasiljuk is, and will remain, one of the most interesting and driven stylists and hair artists of our time. If you’re looking for a fresh cut, just a trim, or something totally new, Fulham Salon can do it all. Just ask for Igor.

fulhamsalon.com


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