NEW YORK — Move over Aveda, concept salons aren’t just for the big boys.
Pittsburgh native and salon owner Philip Pelusi is looking to grow his company, Studio of Elegance Inc., a 13-unit chain of Philip Pelusi salons in the Greater Pittsburgh area, into a network of stores that follow his self-made philosophy of nature, science, beauty and wellness.
The concept, Phyto-Life, comes complete with a hair-cutting philosophy, education, marketing tools and a product line by the same name. It aims to target newer and up-and-coming salons in need of artistic direction.
By recruiting these smaller salons — rather than building Philip Pelusi salons organically — Pelusi estimates he could operate 400 concept salons by 2005. Currently, Pelusi’s company generates approximately $15 million each year. With the addition of concept salons, Pelusi could generate an additional $1 million a year per salon once each has fully matured, usually a one- to two-year period.
To introduce salons to the concept, this month Phyto-Life product begins shipping nationwide. The 60-stockkeeping-unit line began 20 years ago, with at least two new products being introduced annually. Phyto-Life now includes a comprehensive assortment of shampoos, treatment shampoos, treatment conditioners and styling products. Some are off the beaten path, such as X-Treme, a spray-on liquid hair protein; Fusion Foam, a two-in-one foam designed to style, strengthen and shine hair, and Glimmer, a medium-hold styling smoother with sparkles.
Many products in the Pelusi line contain between 60 and 85 percent natural ingredients. Products retail from $14.95 for shampoos to $34.95 for a hydrating treatment.
Pelusi estimates his product line could generate as much as $6 million in 2003, double what it rings now in approximately 350 to 400 salons in the Northeast and Southeast regions.
Dollar incentives earned from the purchase of Phyto-Life products can be used toward concept services, such as photography and education. "For every dollar you spend, you get a point," Pelusi said. "So if you spend $2,000 on products, you get $2,000 in training. We can custom design [the training] for whatever the salon needs, for cutting, color or PhotoSynthesis," Pelusi said, referring to the hands-on makeup, hair and fashion shoots Pelusi would oversee and photograph for clients. Photos can be used as marketing tools for mailings that bear the salon’s name. While Pelusi is eager to share his concept, he also believes it’s critical to "maintain a salon’s individual identity in respect to the hairstylist, salon owner or creative team. As they progress, they could use their own photos. This should serve as a template for them to get on their feet."Photo sessions are held at Pelusi’s education center, called SPACE (Space for Photography and Creative Expressions), located in Pittsburgh.
Pelusi didn’t plan on becoming a hairdresser. He dropped out of high school, unclear of what he wanted to do with his life. He considered pursuing a fashion career, but realized attending the Fashion Institute of Technology and Parsons School of Design required a high school diploma. Beauty school, Pelusi said, "felt good and natural" so he quit doing odd jobs in the construction arena, sold his car and attended night school. Pelusi’s first job as a hairdresser was at Studio of Elegance, a salon in Squirrel Hill, an upscale area of Pittsburgh. Within two years, Pelusi took over the salon and started developing Volumetrics, a cutting technique that Pelusi describes as one that follows the texture, fabric and density of hair, versus the metrics of hair.
A string of salons followed. Recently, Pelusi entered Manhattan with the purchase of a condominium in Gramercy Park. He plans to style hair from there for private clients once or twice a month.
"I’m a work in progress so where this [gig] takes me I’ll go along," Pelusi said.
“Azzedine has been one of the biggest influences in my life. He has always been such a strong, loving, fatherly figure to me. I call him Papa. His designs are indescribably unique, they are pieces of art. He knew how to make the female form look its loveliest. I have so many memories of him; my favorite might be during my first show with him in Paris. He liked me and he wanted to help me get more work. He called all his friends at Kenzo and Comme des Garcons, and asked them to book me. They said, ‘But she can’t walk!’ And he said, ‘but she has such a great ass!' His friendship and support has been the great privilege of my career. I can't imagine life without him. Repose en paix mon Papa.” - @stephanieseymour tells @wwd. #wwdfashion (📷: @steveeichner) #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa, flanked by two of his closest friends, models Stephanie Seymour and Naomi Campbell.
He designed Seymour’s dress for her 1995 wedding to Peter Brant, and treated Campbell (who famously called him Papa), like a daughter. For more on the legendary designer, tap the link in bio. #wwdfashion #alaia #azzedinealaia
Azzedine Alaïa's “I-did-it-my-way” ethos stood out starkly at a time when brands are experimenting with consumer-facing fashion shows, coed formats and trans-seasonal collections – anything to perk up lackluster sales of ready-to-wear in an age of Insta-everything. “It’s not creation anymore. This becomes a purely industrial approach,” the late designer told WWD in an interview last year. “But anyway, the rhythm of collections is so stupid. It’s unsustainable. There are too many collections.” Read more about the iconic designer’s life and work on wwd.com, link in bio. #wwdfashion #azzedinealaia (📷: @WWD Archive, 1986) #alaia
Sneaker reselling app @goat’s latest exhibit, "The Greatest: New York," tells the story of New York's sneaker culture. To celebrate the exhibit, an intimate crowd gathered on Thursday night at the pop-up gallery space, located at Platform in Culver City, to hear guest speaker and illustrator @esymai talk about her own rise in streetwear and women in the business. "For me I'm just someone who is creative. I like to create things," said Chang. #wwdfashion
Azzedine Alaïa, one of the most iconic couturiers of the modern era whose body-con designs defined Eighties fashion, has died in Paris. The diminutive Tunisian-born designer, known for his structured knitted dresses with fitted waists and impeccably cut, figure-hugging second skin silhouettes was deeply admired by his peers, and counted supermodel Naomi Campbell - his adoptive daughter - among his inner circle, one of a gang of glamazons including Farida Khelfa, Carla Bruni and Stephanie Seymour who became ambassadors of his style. (📷: Alexandre Guirkinger) #wwdblast