LA DOLCE VITA
NEW YORK — From the age of 5, Giacomo Forbes knew he wanted to cut and style hair. Growing up during the Sixties as the grandson of the attache to the American Embassy in Rome inspired him to live the good life, but it also taught him that the best way to live it is with a well-coiffed head of hair. “My mother was a beautiful, 6-foot-tall Roman who spent her afternoons at the salon having her hair styled for her many nights out on the town,” said Giacomo. “And I, not being very interested in school, spent most of my youth happily at her side. Finally, when I was 12, my mother asked the coiffeur to let me apprentice.”
After moving to the United States and working in some of the more prestigious salons in New York and Los Angeles — including Pierre Michel, Frederic Fekkai, Jose Eber and Paul Mitchell — he opened the Giacomo Forbes Salon at 100 West 23rd St., which he hopes will recapture the romance of his youth. “The coiffeur in Europe is different than he is the States. He is an elegant artist who cuts hair as if it were a couture house,” Giacomo explained. “It was exciting and beautiful to watch the way they treated my mother. And I want my customer to have that same experience,”
Offering private appointments that last for approximately two hours, the Giacomo Forbes salon, adorned with over a hundred burning candles, is a magical venue where clients can experience the serenity of being catered to without the distractions of a busier salon. The 2,500-square-foot loft also has vaulted cathedral ceilings painted with Tuscan murals. Giacomo’s celebrity clientele list includes Marissa Tomei, Sarah Jessica Parker and Barbara Walters. He offers his own line of hair treatment products and custom-designed hair pieces. This spring, Giacomo plans to open up a beauty center on the ground floor where other hair stylists, makeup artists, manicurists and pedicurists can offer their services and products from 9 a.m. to midnight.
FASHION GOES ON LINE
NEW YORK — You won’t catch anyone calling Jonathan Pinsky and Craig Schlossberg “slackers.” If anything, the two, both in their twenties, probably belong in a casebook study of Generation X achievers for their invention of Image Info Pro, a computer system that allows fashion manufacturers to produce their own customized, fully illustrated catalogs and line sheets.
Both Pinsky and Schlossberg, who have been friends since their college days at Syracuse University, were born into the fashion industry. If Pinsky’s name sounds familiar, it’s because his father is none other than Joel Pinsky, president and chief executive officer of belt firm Omega Fashions. Schlossberg’s clan is in the ready-to-wear business.
Each did his time working in the family showroom and going through the tedious, inefficient process of producing product catalogs and line sheets with Polaroid photos and photocopies. Of course, since the two of them combined probably know more about computer technology than a whole football stadium full of baby boomers, they figured out a way to computerize the process. And so was born Image Info Pro.
With the system, a vendor can compose a database, complete with pictures, of all the products in the company’s line and update it as frequently as desired. When buyers pay a visit to the showroom and want a line sheet of the styles they are specifically interested in, all the showroom salesperson needs to do is print it out from the database.
“It’s taken a while for technology to hit the fashion industry,” said Pinsky. “But after seeing all the time and money that go into making sales materials that don’t end up looking all that professional anyway, we really think there’s an actual need for something like this.”
The price range for the Image Info Pro system runs from $7,000 up to $13,000, depending on how much equipment a manufacturer needs to purchase in addition to the software.
NEW YORK — The next time you’re strolling through SoHo, check out the Janique Boutique. Located inside The Time Is Now art gallery at 62 Wooster St., the Janique Boutique offers a delightful selection of snappy suits, sweaters and skirts in candy-colored knits, four-ply silk and angora.
Owner Janique Svedberg opened the boutique just under a year ago inside the gallery space she owns and operates with her fiance, Peter Tunney. Originally from Sweden, Janique moved to New York 10 years ago as a dancer. Within a month, she was hired as a dancer and singer for the festive and energetic performer Kid Creole of Kid Creole and the Coconuts. “Being on stage, in that wild atmosphere, inspired me to design costumes for the band and clothes for myself. My friends were always asking me to make things for them, so when I grew tired of life on the road, I decided to become involved in the arts and design,” she said.
Situated in a street-side corner of the 10,000-square-foot gallery, Janique will custom design a piece on the premises if something doesn’t fit right off the rack. And if your order requires a follow-up fitting, she’ll have one of her tailors pay you a house call. “Many of my customers live uptown and appreciate the convenience of being catered to in their own homes,” she explained. In keeping with the artistic spirit of the gallery, she also displays and sells framed versions of her designs. “You take it home, hang it on your wall, and if you want to wear what’s inside, you take it down for the evening,” she said. As for her dancing career, Janique hosts her own fashion shows in the gallery twice a year and invites other performers to join her onstage for a whirl.
NEW YORK — You can’t accuse Fernando Saralegui of sitting around in the dark. After spending 17 years tending bar at various Manhattan and California boötes, he made the switch and opened his own restaurant with partner Charles Palmer, who owns the venerable eatery Aureole on the Upper East Side.
Alva, named in honor of Thomas Alva Edison, opened this fall at 36 East 22nd St., and the electricity’s been humming ever since. “Food, wine and design are definitely my thing,” says Saralegui, who was also responsible for the restaurant’s interior. “I wanted Alva to have an exposed, industrial feeling.” Uncovered light bulbs and a medical case full of lighting fixtures create a romantic mood that hearkens back to old New York. As in the good old days, cigar smoking is allowed — even encouraged.
But the food is decidedly today. Alva serves up grilled tuna steaks, veal stew and pastas. Saralegui hopes to open another restaurant soon, perhaps one inspired by his own history featuring “Continental/ Cuban” cuisine. If it’s anything like Alva, it’ll be a bright spot in New York’s nightlife.