Salon Safar, which has been open, running and vastly popular since 1930, is home to notorious barber Philippe Safar. His father established the barbershop almost a century ago, and shortly after, Philippe took over. Safar speaks of the obstacles the shop has endured over the years, including a number of Beirut wars and economic crises, but that it stays open regardless. The shop’s story has been told by several media outlets over the years, and Safar says he is humbled by each one. Safar explains that business is sharply declining, and that he spends a vast amount of time in the salon waiting for customers to arrive. Despite Bliss Street being as busy as ever, he believes people may be going to more “modern barbers”, as he puts it. “My shop is all blue, because just like the sky and the sea, when you look at the salon, I hope you will feel hopeful. I know I do. I feel hopeful about the shop. It has endured so much, and may one day thrive again”, Safar says with a smile.
Caption 1: Salon Safar is located on bustling Bliss Street, among restaurants and mini markets, but is not attracting customers as it used to.
Caption 2: Philippe Safar sits inside his well-kept, old-fashioned shop, a sharp contrast to today’s modern barbershops. He refuses to change the style of the shop as it means so much to him.
Caption 3: Philippe is proud of all the ambassadors he has served over the years, and keeps photos of them in his cabinet.
Caption 4: Philippe washes his brushes, preparing for prospective customers. He will continue to do so everyday, regardless of whether he is receiving customers or not.
Caption 5: This award is a bitter reminder to Philippe that he used to be Beirut’s best hairdresser. He keeps it as a memory but also as a motivational symbol.
Caption 6: Arranging equipment has become a routine for Philippe, whether customers arrive or not. He has been using the same classic equipment since the 1980s.
Caption 7: The sign on the door remains whether business booms or not. Philippe opens his shop at dawn and closes late at night.
Caption 8: Local businesses are being overshadowed by more modern shops, but Philippe remains hopeful that people will one day go back to their old consumption habits.