December 04 2010
Fans of The Godfather may recognise the name. In Francis Ford Coppola’s epic trilogy, Genco was an olive oil company set up as a front for money-laundering by a young Vito Corleone; but its leafy west London namesake is a seriously cool and equally up-and-coming male grooming salon.
I had walked past it a few times en route to lunch next door at Chiswick’s best restaurant, La Trompette, but at the time I was still remaining true to the tried and tested formula of Toni & Guy. However, after yet another price hike as my regular cutter moved further up the chain, I decided to give Genco a go. I have never looked back.
Decked out in camo green walls with black-and-white print murals of the likes of George Best, Steve McQueen and a very scantily-clad Jean Shrimpton, the shop has a laid-back, welcoming vibe and is a much more intimate space than traditional brightly-lit hairdressers.
The hair wash and head massage has always been my favourite part of the cut, but at Genco not only do they blissfully take their time, they literally shift it up a gear, with a pulsating massage chair working up and down your spine.
The stylists are cut from the same easy-going cloth as entrepreneurial owner Bharat Parmar. Parmar worked in the advertising industry before setting up shop in June 2007. He chose the site very carefully, aiming for a clientele of “men who used to be cool who now have responsibilities, mortgages and kids. We want to remind them that they are still cool.” In doing so he has been part of the refashioning of Chiswick as a slightly grown-up Notting Hill, with a dose of Soho chic on the side.
The best part of the cut is at the end. Rather than just brushing you down and showing you the door, it’s back to the massage chair for another wash to get rid of those irritating offcuts, followed by a mini-facial moisturise and steaming hot towel. All for a comparable price to T&G, with complimentary G&Ts thrown in.
However, it’s not just about the haircut; Genco is a male grooming salon and last summer one of London’s top men with a cut-throat razor, Frank Bertorelli (first picture), joined the team. The Genco signature shave and facial is as invigorating as it is relaxing. And if you still think the idea of a male grooming salon sounds a bit too “metro” for you, just remember the scene were Marlon Brando has his nails done at the end of Part One; there’s nothing metro about Don Corleone.
Senior stylist, £39. Classic shave, £28.