By Bir Ganguly
There are certain things in life that once found, you do not want to let go. A hairstylist who is good for you comes pretty much at the top of that list. You think, you disagree? Well, tell me mate, would you find true love if you went looking for it with a bad head of hair? Perhaps on a Kentucky farm, but not in New York City. So, get your priorities right!
Fashion insiders have long sworn by the Antonio Prieto name. The celebrity hairstylist and his salon staff are in high demand by some of the boldest-faced names in the industry. After working several hectic and successful years on the fashion circuit for the likes of Versace, Calvin Klein, and Alexander McQueen, Prieto opened his first salon in New York’s Chelsea in 1995. His fame and clientele-base eventually outgrew the 1,500-square-foot space, and, earlier this year, he had to move shop to a different location. The new salon, twice as large, sits just a block away from its old home. Designed by the architect Derek Sanders (past projects include the Standard in Los Angeles) and interior designer Elizabeth Rubin, the space has an earthy, relaxed feel. Almost intimate. Yet the wall-length mirrors, sleek but solid leather chairs, a near-monochromatic color scheme, and sundry other little touches make it as modern and chic as it can be.
My appointment at the salon was with Adrian. As the assistant creative director of the salon, his responsibilities include keeping track of cut and styling trends as well as promoting those that are to be the next hot ones. As we were settling down, Adrian explained, these days, men are more willing to experiment with their hair. There is definitely a demand for more versatile cuts, so that your coif can make a smooth transition from the day’s corporate setting to a night out on the town. A textured style is what is needed for the trick.
In due course, the question of what I had in mind for my hair arose. I had no clear idea. Over the summer, I had been trying to grow it slightly longer to achieve a softer look and, most importantly, to make my stick-out-ish ears look a little less stick-out-ish. However, my super-abundant thatch – a pain to style, but ‘knock on wood’, nevertheless – had turned that into a clumsy business. Adrian’s opinion was that there was too much volume on the sides as well as on the rest of my head. Anxiety oozing from every pore of my body – facing a new hairstylist is far worse than starting with a new shrink – I asked him to do whatever he thought would be best, as long as the almost perpendicular angle between my ears and my noggin was not too apparent to the world at large.
Adrian set to work. He mostly let the length be, but did some serious layering to create a leaner, styled look. Following that, he started deeper texturing using various techniques – regular, lateral, and so on and so forth. Technicalities aside, the finished product was something I would claim to have envisioned as my perfect haircut for all of my life… only if I had as much vision as Adrian’s scissors!
Friends and colleagues have been totally incredulous in their admiration of my new look. And last but not least, I have successfully salvaged my narcissistic affair with the mirror – those pesky ears showing but a peek among the gentle fringes on the sides of my head.
Antonio Prieto Salon is located at 127 West 20th Street. To book an appointment with Adrian de Berardinis, phone 212.255.3741. For more information, please visit www.antonioprietosalon.com. If you find the salon’s reception station a bit lukewarm – as I did, try not to mind. Once ensconced in your chair, I can assure you that the very best professional and caring hands in the business will be at your service.