Fashion Industry Insider: Leonardo Manetti, Co-Founder of ION Studio

I was fortunate enough to see stylist Leonardo Manetti at work backstage at Timo Weiland’s last Fashion Week show.  Manetti is the co-owner of Soho’s eco-friendly ION Studio ( and a true master of his craft. What sets him apart from other industry leaders, however, is his devotion to creating a sustainable and eco-friendly workspace. 

This is obvious in everything from the minimalist design of his airy salon—built using recycled and eco-friendly materials and powered by wind—to the products he uses. Manetti, along with his colorists and stylists, also work with Davines, a brand highly regarded for their eco-minded and effective hair products.

Born in 1970 and raised in Florence, Italy, Leonardo Manetti has been a hair stylist since 1987, when he began his career at a small salon.  A self-professed gypsy, he left for London less than a year later. There, he studied styling at Alan International. Three years later, Manetti trained in advanced cutting under acclaimed stylist Luis Liongueras in Spain before heading to the U.S. in 1994, where he took a stylist position at the famed Bumble and Bumble salon.


It wasn’t long before Manetti’s work got him noticed and booked for editorial styling gigs. Manetti’s work has been featured in Vogue Italia, Numero (France, Tokyo, and Korea), Vogue (Russia and Germany), i-D, Dazed and Confused, Flair, and Muse.  He has styled countless advertisement campaigns, including Diesel, Moschino, and Lancome. 

He has also led the hair team at some of Fashion Week’s hottest tickets, including Paul & Joe in Paris, and Miss Sixty, Rebecca Taylor, and Yigal Azrouël in New York. It’s no surprise that when you stop by ION, aside from celebrities like Kate Winslet, Cindy Crawford, and the Twilight girls, you’ll likely see a Ford model or two.


Luckily for non-Ford models, anyone can get the Manetti experience at the stylist’s Wooster Street salon.  Manetti opened the salon in 2008, with partners Marco Santini and Pasquale Ferrante. The serene, sun-drenched space employs some of the industry leading stylists and colorists.  His staff includes Lena Ott (, who worked alongside Laurie Foley, coloring models for the Marc Jacobs Fall 2007, Spring 2009, and Spring 2010 runway collections.


Nestled in the back of a long hallway in a white-walled, triplex space, Manetti has succeeded in creating a beautiful salon where he welcomes clients looking for classic cuts and colors, as well as more fashion-forward styles. What’s to come in terms of hair and color trends?

According to Ott, frizz and natural-looking curls—à la Marc Jacobs Spring 2011—and uncovered roots—à la Sarah Jessica Parker—are the forerunners when it comes to runway-to-reality hairstyles. One thing’s for sure, it’s hard to go wrong when you’re in the hands of an A-list stylist, and looking at two fashion icons for inspiration.