When it comes to cutting, curling and all-round creating, Anthony Nader knows his stuff. The man behind the industrial Manhattanesque RAW Salon in Sydney’s Surry Hills has an impressive CV: innumerable magazine covers and editorial spreads, director of runway shows and styling celebrity tresses both near and far, Anthony reigns supreme in the world of hair. In person, he is everything you desire in a hairdresser; unaffected, relaxed, jocular, uber cool and with an immeasurable eye for detail (not to mention super cheeky!) His presentation too is flawless; with good grooming and style in spades.
We caught up with the divine and hilariously sassy Anthony at his salon, where he enlightened us about dividing his residency between Sydney and New York, who his favourite celebrity to work on is (um, only the biggest supermodel in the world) and why he still counts Australia as ‘home’.
"I’m gay, alright. I’m not trying to butch it up here.
I am what I am. I come from a small town four hours south of here called Moruya. Population now is about 9,000. And we had a retail store there in the main street for a zillion years and in the back was a little salon. My eldest sister became a hairdresser and of course I was just always there, too. It just kind of went from there. It was a natural progression and something I felt really just had to be, growing up like that and…here we are today.
I’m a bit ODD, ACD, OCD…
Every letter of the alphabet! I like cleanliness. I also hoard magazines. I take loads of my magazines down to my hometown to put in my dad’s shed. Magazines are my life. It’s really nice seeing the magazines still with the post-it notes in there.
Gisele [Bundchen] was the most amazing [to work with].
But you know, in saying that, it’s funny, I was actually just having this conversation recently with one of my apprentices actually, and she said “Who’s your favorite model that you’ve worked on?” But when you work backstage—Paris, Milan, and New York—it’s all the girls. All the girls are there working on the show. And you don’t go all gaga over them. I mean, you treat them with respect, but at the end of the day, they’re just like you and I. I don’t know, it really doesn’t matter who… If someone treats me nice, I treat them nice, and it doesn’t matter how much money they earn. But as far as amazing hair—Gisele, without a doubt. Just amazing. She had the balayage, but her hair was all natural. All real. A hair dream.
People may think I’m precious, but I’m actually low maintenance.
My daily skincare regime, it’s really simple, which you’ll see in the photographs. It's just Jurlique Sun Lotion SPF 30, I’ll use my Clinique Rollerball under the eyes. I’ll do a Malin + Goetz face mask once every 2-3 weeks, and Witch Hazel facial wipes, simple things like that. In New York, I’ll go to Spa Belles sometimes, and I’ll get a mani-pedi. When it comes to being off-duty, we [hairdressers] don’t want to do our hair, because we work on models all the time, making them look even more amazing.
I like to buy one good thing rather than five so-so things.
So I’d prefer to invest in a Comme Des Garçons polo shirt or Comme Des Garçons shoes. Also, clothes that you don’t see here in Australia. It’s really rare that I’d buy clothes here, even before I went to New York—I’ve been in New York for 7 years. Over there I just shoot fashion. And it’s just so much cheaper. It’s really rare that you’ll find me in any colours other than black, white, or grey.
My first year in New York I walked into my agency’s office in bright yellow skinny jeans…
and a pale pink Marc Jacobs t-shirt, I’ll never forget, it had balloons on it. I’ll never forget the look on my agent’s face. And from that day, I threw out the coloured clothes. Everyone wears black in New York. It’s very gritty and understated. Sydney is a lot more like LA, everything is all bubbly and everything’s bright. But in New York it’s different. I just adapted. when you’re on shoots and you’re hanging out with such collaborative people and artists, it’s a no brainer that you kind of adopt their uniform.
In New York I exercise six days a week…
I'm a bit of a lunatic there — that’s how I get over the flying. I’m a great flyer. I moisturise…go to the gym. I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I do yoga for like 45 minutes to an hour, then I do 30 minutes of cardio. It’s just maintaining — you know, I’m not at the gym to get muscles. It’s just wellbeing and eating right. I’m super healthy, but I’m not on a model diet. I still enjoy going out to dinners, it’s all within reason. And I’m an insomniac, especially in New York. I don’t cook, my husband does that. Every morning I do a blended fruit and veggie juice. I do a lot of grains, I always do a cup of coconut juice, and then throw in kale, beetroot, everything. I also have that for dinner. And then I have a really big lunch.
My biggest hair tip is…
if you’ve got wild, unruly hair, always rinse your hair in the coldest tepid water possible on your last rinse. We do it here [at the salon] too. It closes the cuticle, imparts shine, and you just get more manageability with the hair shape that day. If I was stuck on a deserted island, I would take Oribe Fiber Groom. Also a pair of scissors, to maintain haircuts.
Baby doll fringes are always wrong.
A big thing that we’re doing now is that whole Taylor Swift, Emma Roberts lob, bob, blob, with the whole over-exaggerated side part. You know, why is it over-exaggerated? Because it is more directional, rather than just an off-centre part. When you take it more exaggerated, it is more directional. But that’s what women want. And you know, it’s celebrity that does it. Sienna Miller… Rosie Huntington has just cut it. It’s people like Kim Kardashian. It’s celebrities. We all look up to celebrities, more than models, unfortunately.
You always stay fresh when you shoot…
Which I think is really vital for your career. For me personally, I’ve always had the concept that clients like knowing you’re out and about shooting. I’ve also never understood being stuck behind a chair five to six days a week just cutting. I think it’s really tedious and something I’ve never wanted to do. I think you get really stale doing that. I’m really lucky here, when I’m not shooting, I get to be in the salon, which I love, but I just love shoots. It’s really important to educate your team and to make sure everyone is on the same wavelength when it comes to the brand. It’s all about luxury. You know, we want to be leaders.
Australia is home.
New York is amazing for the diversity and creativity. It is a lot more open-minded there than here. New York is just… Yeah. You can do whatever you want there and no one will care. It’s worlds apart. But I’ve done it for so long. My husband says we should move to LA, but the work is completely different. I do love LA, but it’s different people and different culture.
In the salon ensuite, we have a 24-hour Madonna disco
The room is the replica of the stand at the Boom Boom Room in New York. It’s very Tom Ford, the restrooms, if you’ve ever been there. And the Madonna picture that’s in there, I bought at this exhibition and the photographer signed it. I actually plan to sell around that ensuite. That ensuite is the hub. That picture was the first thing I bought for the whole salon and I’ve worked off the rest off that. It’s a very Instagram-worthy room.
I’ve always wanted a peacock in my salon.
David Mallett’s salon in Paris has peacocks. For a zillion years, I’ve always said to my husband 'I’d love to have a peacock'. So we were meant to have the peacock for August when we opened RAW Salon and I didn’t know about it – David surprised me – and it was stuck in customs for three months. So George [the peacock in the salon ensuite] came in December. And David wanted this extra light in the ensuite, and we were fighting all the time and I was like 'You only need to highlight Madonna, there’s one picture. You don’t need another spotlight!' We would have these arguments and he never said what he was planning and then, when he brought George, he said “this is why we needed another spotlight”. And I said, 'You are just amazing.'"
Story by Chrisanthi Kaliviotis. Photography and layout by Amanda Chan.