By  on May 17, 2007

The Meatpacking District — which many refer to as Salon Row — has received a new member, a first-floor, industrial number that's been designed not only to be raw and sexy, but to protect its celebrity clientele from the paparazzi: sheer curtains have been installed between the cutting-room floor and the street front window.

The launch of the 1,300-square-foot salon, Serge Normant at John Frieda, located at 825 Washington Street, was celebrated Tuesday evening with a small fete given by both hair gurus, and attended by many of their celebrity clients and friends, including Ellen Barkin, Diane von Furstenberg, Sarah Jessica Parker, Iman, Laura Mercier, Christy Turlington and Ed Burns and Dr. Lisa Airan. Executives from Kao Brands, the owner of John Frieda Professional Hair Care, were also there, including Brigitte King, vice president of marketing.

The salon is Normant's first solo endeavor and is 50 percent owned by Frieda. The venture marks the first time Frieda has financially partnered in a salon rather than owning it 100 percent, such as when he established Sally Hershberger at John Frieda in Los Angeles [the deal is now defunct] and Sharon Dorram-Krause at John Frieda, a salon located on the Upper East Side of New York.

'He's the right person," Frieda said of why he partnered with Normant. 'I've worked with him for awhile. We share the same vision."

Normant is pleased about the downtown location, as well as the fact that stylist and colorist Harry Josh has been added to his creative team. Normant charges $500 a haircut, a bargain compared with his neighbors, such as Hershberger who charges $600 and Orlando Pita, who at his Orlo salon charges $800.

The salon, which was designed and decorated by West Chin and Roseann Repetti, respectively, was modeled after the look of famed photographer Michael Thompson's art studio.

'The Meatpacking District locale brought a raw element but we had to be elegant and chic, sexy and modern, too," said Chin. Sheer curtains and ponyskin textiles add warmth, while a small fish pond offers a natural element. A huge, sparkling crystal chandelier in the center of the space was a remnant of Nells, the former club and nightspot on West 14th Street.

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