Metro Man & Metro Home

By Matthew Minucci

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“I didn’t want to open a typical hair salon,” says Louise O’ Connor, founder of OC 61, a chic East side salon. Not a stranger to celebrities, Louise and her crew at the salon have styled the locks of Beyonce, Carmen Electra, Heidi Klum, Tyra Banks and Nicole Kidman, to name a few.

Louise O’Connor – Louise outside on the salon’s charming porch, where you can relax with a cup of tea after your cut

Of course these names are those of women. I wasn’t sure how she would treat men. But about 40% of her clients are male, her publicist assured me. As I made my way into the “hot seat,” Louise sized up my hair pretty quickly. “Your hair grows out before it grows down,” she says. “I’m going to give you a precision haircut.”

Huh? The last time I received a cut, I was in and out of a barbershop in ten minutes. As a newbie in an upscale salon, I wasn’t sure if my hair was going to turn into a mixture of Johnny Depp’s teased style and Marilyn Manson’s vampire-inspired look. But when Louise spoke, she made it crystal clear she knew what she was doing.

Her assistant rinsed my hair with L’Oreal’s Intense Repair shampoo because my few strands of gray were “coarser” than my younger black strands. Then my shapeless mess of hairs was in her hands.

“I’m going to use everything: buzzer, scissors, on your hair,” she said confidently, as she snipped each inch of hair with a feather razor to give it texture. When asked if she had a vision for the final outcome, she said, “oh yes! It’s going to look like Brad Pitt’s.”

How exciting! Does the cut come with Angelina Jolie too, I wondered?

Louise O’Connor opened her salon two years ago, after working at Oribe for several years as a stylist. Also a photographer, she has a keen eye about proportion and form. “Contour of the head is important,” she says. “The hair has to take the shape of his head and capitalize on the hairline.”

Soft spoken and precise, she doesn’t mess around. Noticing the few gray hairs on my head, she said “no” to a color job because she felt that men look more distinguished with a little bit of gray.

She trimmed my sideburns to the point that I was comfortable with, and made the top part of my hair thick and slimmed the back and side. I had to admit, I was impressed at the level of detail and the end result. The next day, I was literally showered with compliments from several women who noticed the cut.

Would I go back? Take a wild guess! Louise is my new best friend.

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In our June issue, Matthew Minucci reviews an old-fashioned barbershop. Stay tuned!

Originally published April 2007



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