Scapicchio Shaving Soap: at the sharp end of history

Posted on July 15, 2021 by Captain P. Fawcett

The name Scapicchio is synonymous with one of the world’s oldest barber families. Signor Marco Scapicchio opened his first barber shop for business in 1820 and the artisan skills associated with this most noble of professions have been handed down over 200 years, through six generations from father to son and, indeed, daughter. 

Scapicchio are masters of the art of the vintage Italian shave and specialists in the Kamisori fixed blade technique, with these renowned crafts still being taught in their famed Accademia. Indeed, such is the family’s passion for these finely honed precision instruments, the Scapicchios hold one of the largest razor collections in the world, with over 300 freehand razors and 100 Kamisori, some extremely rare. 

The legacy of Kamisori cuts through time and place, tracing back over a millennium to origins in the Asuka era (552-645) of Japanese history. Tonsorial tools were brought from Korea to Japan where they were first used only to shave the heads of novice Buddhist monks in time-honoured initiation rituals of humility and faith. The sacred tools of spiritual devotion required superior craftsmanship and thus the remarkable blades of legend were forged by masters of their art. 

The use of Kamisori (which means razor in Japanese) became more widespread as beards fell from favour during the era of the samurai. In fact, a Kamisori razor, made by the same master who forged his distinct curved, single-edged blade Katana sword, was supplied as part of a Samurai’s kit to maintain the warriors’ distinctive hairstyle known as ‘Chonmage’ (丁髷 o 丁髷 o ちょんまげ). With their chivalrous Bushido code, these warrior nobles were the epitome of refined manhood, as accomplished with a finely honed sword as when following their spiritual calling. In 1867 the public wearing of martial weapons was outlawed, yet the mystique of the blade survives and there are 2 or 3 masters working today who still have the skills to forge the blades of legend. Such pride is embodied in the shaving technique now practised by none other than the Scapicchio dynasty. As Luigi Scapicchio says “I am passionate about Japanese culture, I believe we can learn a lot from a super-tech nation which at the same time honours its historical traditions.” Quite so!

Therefore, Captain Fawcett is delighted to have collaborated with Luigi Scapicchio in producing a delectable Signature Series Shaving Soap, contributing to the ultimate shave experience. 

The soap’s glorious scent is inspired by the abundant Fig and Olive groves found in the Scapicchio family’s native Puglia. The additional hint of West Indian Bay Rum, a traditional hair tonic redolent of barbershops across the globe, pays homage to Luigi’s great grandfather who emigrated to Chicago in 1910 and established his first Italian barbershop. In time, Vincenzo became trusted barber to one Alphonse Capone, the notorious mobster whose own father was…a barber. 

And thus the story behind this splendid soap moves from the monks of ancient Korea to the courts of Imperial Japan, then onwards to Italy and America. Until at last we arrive at the HQ of a certain Captain Fawcett upon the windswept coast of Eastern England. 

Gentlemen, this tale is now in your own hands…


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