Eighty-four-year-old barber Franco Bompieri finishes each haircut with a fiery flourish, using a candle to burn the ends of his customers’ hair. The Milanese barber is the owner of Antica Barbieria Colla, which was founded in 1904 and is one of the oldest barber shops in Milan, as well as one of the last to use fire to cut hair.
In the short video “The Last Gentlemen’s Barbershop,” Great Big Story follows Bompieri as he gives a customer one of his signature haircuts. Bompieri, who became a barber at the age of nine, believes that fire helps make hair fuller and can even stop it from falling out. In the video, Bompieri says he knows hair “like a farmer knows how to cultivate the earth, [and like] a tailor knows fabric,” but laments the changing times, and the decline of his unique art form. Watch Bompieri play with fire above.
Banner Image Credit: Great Big Story, YouTube.