When you really think about it, the traditional hair-salon experience is full of weirdly dated — yet somehow unquestioned — practices. Bad coffee, capes that make you feel like an inpatient, dog-eared weekly magazines you flick through out of sheer boredom. We spend a small fortune having our hair cut and colored by cutting-edge industry professionals, yet accept a salon experience that feels 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 for anywhere from an hour to an entire afternoon.
Enter Luke Hersheson, the fashion-week mainstay and creative director of his eponymous hair empire (along with his industry veteran father, Daniel). Hersheson is on a mission to revolutionize the way we think of hair appointments. Starting with his own years-in-the-making beauty hub, which opened in London's Fitzrovia neighborhood 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," Hersheson explained as he walked us through the brand-new 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 color 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 cozy navy robes that make you feel like you're at home rather than about to ride a log flume, Hersheson and his team thought of absolutely 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 said.
The space itself is somewhere you'd actually want to spend an hour, an afternoon, or even a whole day (which isn't out of the question for the double processes among us). "The design and interior of our space reflects an anti-salon vibe," Hersheson said. "We didn’t want matchy-matchy mirrors, chairs, and lighting that typifies the traditional salon design model." Thanks to the designers at 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 favor of something altogether more modern, Hershesons offers more than just haircare. The 5,000-square-foot space not only boasts a Sans Pere lifestyle café, serving food and drink while you wait for your appointment or for your bleach to take, but Hersheson's new location is a bona fide beauty metropolis, 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 Riley. Fancy LED therapy by the Light Salon, or non-surgical treatments by Kardashian-favorite facialist Dr. Barbara Sturm? Take your pick — 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 Jalaf while your balayage is being done.
Hersheson's space is certainly the first of its kind — not something you can say often in the beauty sphere. "It's never been done before," Hersheson said. "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 homey? It’s all about the customer: listening to what she wants, and doing it when she wants and how she wants."