Getting your hair done is an experience full of weird and dated – but unquestioned – practices. Crap coffee, capes that make you feel like an inpatient, dog-eared weeklies you flick through out of sheer boredom. It's odd that we spend a small fortune having our hair cut and coloured by cutting-edge industry professionals, yet accept a salon experience that feels so stuck in the '00s. We expect luxury when we have facials, manicures and massages, so why not demand the same from our hair appointments? After all, we're in the chair from anywhere between an hour and an afternoon.
Enter Luke Hersheson – creative director of the hair empire bearing his name, who got his big break on a Missoni campaign aged just 21 and is now a fashion week mainstay – who is revolutionising hair appointments. Having opened the doors to his year-in-the-making beauty hub on Berners Street in London's Fitzrovia last week, he's reshaping the salon experience in a thoroughly contemporary way.
"I just feel like there are lots of negative connotations with the word 'salon' – it’s old-fashioned and intimidating," Luke explains as he walks us through the just-opened space. "They're not places where people enjoy the experience. I wanted to turn it on its head and make it somewhere you want to go, that will make you feel good throughout the whole process, not just with the end result. So we questioned everything. Why do the colour and cutting areas have to be separate? Why is the reception area so uninviting? Why is the lighting so unflattering?"
From power ports at every station so you can charge your phone and laptop to cosy navy robes that make you feel like you're at home, rather than about to ride a log flume, Luke's thought of everything. There are notepads and pens next to every station, so you can take pointers home from your stylist, and rather than fashion magazines – "Why assume all women just want to read about that?" – there are indie publications on subjects ranging from architecture to travel. "We really try to make it a space that revolves around the customer and not a prima donna hair stylist," he explains.
The space itself is somewhere you'd actually want to spend an hour, afternoon or whole day, too. "The design and interior of our space reflects an anti-salon vibe," says Luke. "We didn’t want matchy-matchy mirrors, chairs and lighting that typifies the traditional salon design model." Working with designers GP Studios and architect Racheline Michaels, the space is eclectic and welcoming. Harsh salon lights have been replaced with reclaimed fittings from a British Airways Concorde hangar, while the reception desk is a DIY mid-century style and the floor tiling is Instagram-worthy.
Not content with simply shunning the archetypal salon experience in favour of something altogether more modern, Hershesons offers more than just haircare. The 5,000-square-foot space boasts a Sans Pere lifestyle café, serving food and drink while you wait for your appointment or for your bleach to take. But most excitingly, Hershesons' new location is a bonafide beauty hub, a one-stop shop for some of the most renowned treatments in the industry. Only have an hour lunch break? Get a manicure by Dryby while having a high-tech facial by Sunday by Sunday Riley. Fancy LED therapy by the Light Salon, or non-surgical treatments by Kardashian facialist Dr. Barbara Sturm? Go ahead – and let Ministry of Waxing take care of your pre-holiday prep at the same time. You can even have your brows microbladed by the sought-after Suman while your balayage is being done.
Hershesons' space is certainly the first of its kind – not something you can say often in the beauty sphere. "It's never been done before," Luke says. "Yes, there are salons that offer tea and coffee and beauty products – but to house all these brands together under one roof, in a space that makes you feel happy and homely? It’s all about the customer: listening to what she wants, doing it when she wants, and how she wants."
Hershesons is located at 29 Berners Street, London, W1T 3LR, and is open Monday-Friday 8am-8pm, and Saturday 9am-7pm.