By  on April 29, 2005

NEW YORK — While standing in the heart of his seven-month-old salon, Pashah, hairstylist Pancho Soekoro confessed he is still getting used to the idea that the Madison Avenue spot is, well, his. His modesty may restrain him from boasting, but Soekoro’s stamp is everywhere, extending from the sleek shampoo troughs (that he designed and has a 10-year-old sketch to prove it) to the dressing-room curtains, which he sewed himself.

Pashah, smack in the “salon and spa district” of Manhattan, occupies the penthouse of the Emporio Armani store at 601 Madison Avenue, but gives off a downtown vibe. The loft-like space mixes stark white walls with walnut paneling, offset by ivory leather furniture. A skylight and an outdoor terrace fill the 3,500-square-foot space with natural light.

This month, Soekoro unveiled his most ambitious project against the backdrop of his Midtown salon: Pashah’s exclusive hair care collection.

Soekoro spent the last eight years formulating the 15-item collection. In the early days, he’d mix Kiehl’s with Phyto to create customized styling products. While building his career at salons such as Frédéric Fekkai, Warren-Tricomi and Pierre Michelle, his product line simmered on the back burner. Soekoro credits Fekkai, known for his own eponymous collection, for teaching him about ingredients.

Now armed with a chemist and a business partner, Sam Arasteh, Soekoro brought his idea to fruition. Aside from the name, which means “royalty” in ancient Turkish, the line pays homage to Soekoro’s Indonesian roots. For instance, the logo is a simple illustration of two bamboo stalks, and products are named with Indonesian words for their use (Salah, the name of Pashah’s volumizing spray, means “to rise”).

To ensure his clients apply styling products evenly, Soekoro housed each of them in spray bottles.  The assortment includes products such as Nayla shine spray, Tumbuha spray gel, Cara Texturizing Cream and Bersih Daily Shampoo, a low-detergent formula. Many of his products, which range in price from $17 to $22, are infused with natural extracts and vitamins. For instance, Pashah’s straightening glaze, Datar, is made of natural extracts, kiwi, henna and vitamins A and E. Soekoro is already hinting at creating a signature Pashah fragrance, and plans to introduce hand and body care products this fall.Arasteh, Soekoro’s former client who traded Wall Street for the salon business, said he expects the product line to generate first-year sales of between $150,000 and $200,000.

Soekoro and his staff of 20 have been using Pashah products since the salon opened in the fall. As of this month, the products are available for sale in the salon’s retail space, and their Indonesian positioning is reflected throughout the space. This spring, the outdoor terrace will be transformed into an aromatherapy garden of rosemary and lavender with 30-foot bamboo hedges. Soekoro ultimately wanted to create a space where his clients could relax, sip on some wine and enjoy themselves.

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