Hair Care

By Jennifer Hoyden

The address has pure Park Avenue pedigree but the spark of the Yves Durif Salon is generated by the Ludlow-Orchard axis. The style of each distinct East Side neighborhood is culled without the pretense of either, and attentive service (we’re talking seriously personalized, customer-is-queen service) is the standard.

The name of the salon floats wittily inside a cartoon dialogue bubble on the brick wall of a townhouse on East 65th Street, and the reference to one of Yves Durif’s personal hobbies could also define his approach to his eponymous salon; it’s a humor and ease that you would only find…well, nowhere else really. Another phenomenon of this salon is the unbelievable natural light. A stunning chandelier by the late Italian design master Achille Castiglioni is the centerpiece of the 2nd floor salon, but the room is truly illuminated by the eight-foot high windows.

The coloring station has windows on two of the 4 walls (seriously, how did he find this property in NYC?), allowing for true color assessment, which is insurance against shock when you leave the salon.

A true new Yorker in every sense that matters (save for his soft, sexy French accent), Durif finds inspiration (and a fair amount of clients) from the street scene and up-and-coming artists on the lower east side. Durif taps the artsy, hip, careless cool he finds there, and then takes it to the upper east side, where he translates it into custom looks for his clientele.

When you get Durif, you are getting an Aveda “Global Master,” who embraces the Aveda concept because “it is a holistic approach and doesn’t stop at the head.” At the salon this means incorporating a woman’s entire image into both the finished product as well as the process, asking clients to stand for the initial shaping of the cut, from the sides back, in order to best compliment their height and body shape. “If you start at the back, you have the woman’s head tilted down and she doesn’t know what is going on.”

At the salon, each stylist and colorist has at least a decade’s worth of experience under their belt. They all incorporate Aveda’s dictum to see the client as a whole, and therefore greet everyone and absorb their identity before the anonymizing salon robe covers all. For this reason, Durif recommends that you always present your best self to your stylist, so they can see how you see you (this means leave your gym clothes in their locker).

In the serious world of celebrity hair, (the salon has a bulk of editorial credits and socialite clients), these professionals leave the egos to others. There are four stylists and two colorists. Yes, if you’re doing your math correctly, that equals maximum intimacy. Patti Vaccaro, a stylist with seemingly magic shears who can tame the curliest curly-Qs, has been with Durif for 12 years, and would rather concentrate on her clients than on salon-hopping.

David Johnstone, the head colorist, has a strong background in cutting as well, and readily consults with the stylists. This communication results in the most complimentary harmony between cut and color. Johnstone believes this attention helps the client feel more cared for. Indeed Johnstone embodies the salon’s approach to customers, “I’m a server.” Bless him!

Yves Durif Salon
130 East 65th Street
212-452-0954
http://yvesdurif.com/

Originally published September 2003
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