updated 5 Nov 2011, 18:07
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Sat, Nov 05, 2011
The Star/Asia News Network
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Where some of Malaysia's brightest stars trim and shape their locks to perfection

THESE days, at the amazing rate gossip spreads, thanks to camera phones and Internet gossip sites, no celebrity can afford to have a hair out of place.

But then, just how do they manage to look so well-groomed all the time?

A little sleuth work reveals one of the city’s best kept secrets, Centro Hair Salon, which is reputed to have helped some of Malaysia’s brightest stars trim and shape their locks to perfection.

Headed by its talented creative director Kevin Woo, Centro has expanded from its modest beginnings in Sungei Wang Plaza in 1998, to its current swanky home at Gardens Mid Valley in Kuala Lumpur.

Woo’s unassuming personality belies a talent that has bagged him bragging rights as the 2006 L’Oreal Color Trophy Grand Winner, one of the world’s most prestigious hairdressing competitions.

With his skills in great demand, Woo has travelled the world over, participating in the 2007 L’Oreal Color Trophy in London and L’Oreal International Business Forum in Hanoi.

In his capacity as the 2008/2009 L’Oreal Artistic Ambassador, he was a judge at the 2008 L’Oreal Color Trophy in Taiwan, Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines.

Despite his jet-setting lifestyle and numerous accolades, Woo remains committed to his customers. His aim is to help them achieve the perfect cut. It is this humble approach that has attracted a bevy of stars who call Woo their mane maestro.

“I treat everyone, even celebrities, just like any other customer who deserves my respect and attention,” he says.

Heading the client list at Centro is the nation’s most recognisable face, model Amber Chia, who currently sports a Mia Farrow-esque crop that shows off those chiselled cheekbones to perfection.

“Her previous style was just a mass of layers but this edgy and bold crop adds sophistication to her look,” quips Woo, 36.

“Some of the celebrities who came to me had styles that did not quite suit the texture of their hair, one even came with brown-turned-green hair due to the wrong shade being used in the initial process.”

Under Woo’s artistic endeavours, the hair woes of these stars were addressed, their crowning glory beautifully restored.

They have been effusive in their praise.

Model Amber Chia

According to Chia, “I like Kevin’s modern yet classic style. His treatment of long layer cuts is superb and he often gives very good recommendations on colour choices, hair trends and hair care. This combined with his innate understanding of skin tones and face shapes make hairstyling a breeze!”

TV host/actress Jojo Goh echoes Chia’s endorsement. “Kevin knows his haircuts and understands our personalities. I feel secure enough to close my eyes and leave everything to him. The end result is always exciting,” she says.

Former beauty queen Rachel Tan

Other celebrities like TV host/actress Lynn Lim, actress Vanida Imran, Miss Chinese International 2003 Rachel Tan, TV host Siow Hui Mei, singer Yise Loo and Project Superstar winner John Wee are among Centro’s star-studded list of customers.

Another regular from the runway, Carla Soong, also had her hair reworked recently for a fresh new look.

“Carla’s hair is very healthy and lovely to work with. We decided to re-energise her look with a textured short cut that’s a complete turnaround from her feminine style to boyish androgyny,” says Woo,

Model/actress/host Daphne Iking adopts a vastly different style with slightly choppy and uneven lines under a sideswept fringe.

The hairstylist also gave model/actress/host Daphne Iking a vastly different look that featured slightly choppy and uneven lines under a side-swept fringe. This new style, he says, is a bold and individual expression that captures her spirit.

Model-turned-artiste John Oh now sports a shaggy cut so far removed from his usual style that his friends barely recognise him.

“John’s previous look was very concise. We wanted to give him some added depth and a slightly dreamy sensibility to complement his new career path as an artiste.”

But Woo insists that he is not only a stylist to the stars.

“We work very closely to support these celebrities and provide them the platform to show off a different side of themselves through new hairstyles. They experiment before taking the plunge, so to speak, but it works the same way for any other customer,” he explains.

“It is important to build a good and long-term relationship with your stylist, and these celebrities trust us because we have worked together a long time. With every new customer that comes in, we encourage repeat visits because your hairstylist will then be able to monitor changes and advise you every time you come for a cut.

“A good hairstyle evolves over time, supported by a nurturing relationship with your hairstylist, and it is a relationship that is based on trust,” Woo adds.

For details, call 03-2287 7330.

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