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Perhaps hairstylist and salon owner David Evangelista said it best last year when he declared the era of the megasalon as “dead.” Judging from the new, smaller digs by uber hairstylists Garren and Frédéric Fekkai, Evangelista may have been on to something.

Fekkai’s Calmer Side
Frédéric Fekkai can do intimate.

Not many New Yorkers know this side of Fekkai, especially if they’ve only been to his salon at Henri Bendel, a 9,000-square-foot space that, while beautiful and perfectly appointed, drives a lot of traffic and attracts crowds. But the new SoHo locale — on the second floor at 394 West Broadway — is a fraction of the size (about 3,000 square feet) and is much more homey and tranquil. The calming shampoo room solidifies the new attitude with dim lights, revolving beauty images on LCD screens and mechanical chairs, which slowly dip clients into a horizontal position in one smooth motion. Styling and color areas are separated by a living-room-type lounge that’s furnished with a long, communal coffee bar soon to be home to MAC computers and iPods. Walls are white, light is bright — thanks to huge windows — and the salon is decorated with French polished mahogany and nickel lamps. A mani-pedi station hidden behind a wall near the styling area offers privacy and a view of bustling West Broadway — the only glimpse of chaos at the salon.

Garren Goes Mod
Good things come in small packages, so it’s no surprise Garren chose the small, multilevel space within The Sherry-Netherland hotel located at 781 Fith Avenue to open his new salon, as opposed to opting for the 7,000-square-foot space he had been considering on Madison Avenue. “I was fearful of that space, not knowing my clients, not being able to provide customer service, let alone not knowing what’s going on at the other end of the salon,” said Garren from the lounge area of his crisp, modern space, which opened a month ago. The cool atmosphere is created with white walls, illuminated Barrisol ceilings, travertine floors and custom-made Saarinen chairs by Knoll. The color area, located up several stairs, is dotted with lime green and frog green chairs, while an orange couch decorates the lounge — the color pallette adds a Seventies, living-room feel to the space. There are eight styling chairs and four color chairs in the salon, which is just under 2,000 square feet. Despite the salon’s compact size, Garren recently hired two additional stylists to accommodate his clients. He edited from a list of 10 candidates and then held interviews. What qualities does he looks for in a stylist?

This story first appeared in the January 12, 2007 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

“It’s 60 percent personality,” he said, with the rest being talent, as well as a penchant to keep lips zipped about his many celebrity clients.

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