By Katie Calautti
Ah, my torrid NYC history of stylist-hopping. It’s scandalous, really. Ever since my move to the city ushered a disastrous split between me and my upstate hair stylist (I really thought she was The One), things just haven’t been the same.
The distress and shame regarding my ever-expanding little black book of one-appointment stands has created a worry line on my forehead that not even the chicest set of shaggy bangs can hide. I can’t understand why none of these credentialed, well-meaning stylists have clicked with me, but of one thing I’m certain: I’m tired of settling for overpriced, underwhelming cuts and colors. I want someone I can trust to expertly wield a set of scissors when – on a whim – I decide to go from long and luxurious to short and sassy. When I take a seat in that swivel chair, I want to experience a bond that is both comfortable and collaborative. I want to consistently walk out of a salon feeling like a new woman. I want fireworks. So imagine my relief when – after years spent combing and sampling the snootiest of Manhattan’s salons and spas – a quick trip within my borough delivered me the relationship I’d so desperately been seeking.
Just off the beaten path in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, nestled amongst vintage clothing shops and art galleries, I discovered Woodley & Bunny.
Celebrating its fifth year, the salon and apothecary is the brainchild of sisters Erin and Misha Anderson (“Woodley” and “Bunny” are their childhood nicknames bestowed by their father, respectively). The shop is a collaboration in every sense of the word – combining Erin’s impressive resume as a runway, print and celebrity stylist (loyal clientele include Lauren Conrad, Vera Farmiga, Shia LaBeouf, Mischa Barton and Zac Efron) and Misha’s diverse background in music, beauty and fashion design (she has held positions at Capitol Records and Rolling Stone magazine). The duo decided to meld their individual philosophies together into a dynamic space that would energize the up-and-coming neighborhood. As Erin points out, only a river separates Manhattan from Brooklyn – why shouldn’t the outer boroughs be offered the same high-end experience?
What started as a salon with seven chairs expanded over the years into a loft-like space with 15 chairs, an apothecary area (stocked with upscale beauty and makeup brands – including several that can’t be found anywhere else in the U.S.), and – most recently – a full menu of makeup, facial and waxing services. The hand-picked staff boasts some seriously studied roots – hailing from the schools of Vidal Sassoon, Aveda Academy, Bumble & Bumble, Toni & Guy among many others. In short – Woodley & Bunny is a one-stop-shopping destination if you’re in the mood for a total metamorphosis. This is a sensibility that Erin understands all too well, after years working on photo shoots for the likes of Elle, GQ and Vogue. Models don’t roll out of bed looking like a finished product – so why not offer each client the opportunity to experience – and enjoy – a full transformation?
I took Woodley & Bunny up on its mantra, checking in with reception for my appointment with Sasha. The space is bright and inviting – open enough to feel breathable and warm without being cavernous. While relaxing in the waiting area, I noticed that the salon offers cucumber lemon water, several kinds of beer and wine. That – coupled with a huge selection of fashion magazines to browse and the indie rock tunes emanating from the stereo – was enough to make one uniquely stellar first impression.
Sasha (who seriously looks like the love child of Rosemary’s Baby-era Mia Farrow and Angelina Jolie) greeted me with a smile and immediately put me at ease with her friendly, laid-back demeanor. One of Woodley & Bunny’s newest members, Sasha studied at Vidal Sassoon and went on to teach at Aveda Academy in Seattle, then worked at Upper West Side salon TwoDo for almost four years before joining the team. During our consultation, we discussed my styling regimen, my woes regarding the current color (my previous colorist had been on a super-saturated dark brown-happy kick that was less than flattering to my light skin tone), and our ideas for a shape that’d best suit my face. She ended up giving me a bleach cap (to pull out some of the darkness), touching up my roots with a medium brown hue, and toning my strands to achieve a more even shade.
While my color was processing, she sat next to me and ruminated about living in Brooklyn, film, books, flea market shopping and music. We got along swimmingly, and I found it utterly refreshing to work with a stylist who was not only qualified, but also genuinely interested in getting to know (and enjoying conversation with) her clients. A quick look around the room proved that the other staff members felt the same way – good-natured chatter, laughter and an impressive array of styles (from long layers to pixie do’s) peppered the atmosphere. The Woodley & Bunny crew is amazingly unpretentious for being so considerably learned and multi-dimensional in their talent.
By the time Sasha had put the finishing touches on my cut (an adorable, choppy, angled bob that pairs perfectly with my hair’s medium-curly texture), I was in serious like with Sasha and my surprising, invigorating Woodley & Bunny affair. It wasn’t until the next day, though, when I styled my hair before a night out and realized I’d been given a natural, fresh, easy-to-manage look that it hit me: this wasn’t just “like,” it was fireworks.
Woodley & Bunny
196 North 10th Street
Brooklyn, NY 11211