All photo credits: Joan Oliver
Fashion comes alive when it steps out into the street with you. It’s the flow of the fabric of your clothes, the rhythm of your walk, the toss of your hair as you look both ways before stepping out to cross the street at a busy city crosswalk. I always say that your hair is the accessory you take with you everywhere, so investing in your hair and finding the right salon, and your stylist, are so much more important than investing in another designer handbag (though of course we love those, too).
In my perpetual search for French chic, which you can find out all about here and here, and having just gone through a major career shift and move with my husband, I was looking for the right hair style to fit this new lifestyle. As Coco once sagely said, “A woman who changes her hair is about to change her life.”
I did some research on Newbury Street salons, and when I came across Salon Àcôté, I knew I had found the salon that would become my city hairdressing sanctuary. What with my inclinations toward everything French and my love of sophisticated fashion, this salon de coiffure, Àcôté, was an evident choice.
The moment I stepped off Newbury Street and ascended to the second floor to Salon Àcôté, I knew I was in the right place. I felt transported back to Paris from my very first steps inside the gorgeous salon. I encountered the founder, Gaston, who greeted me with a friendly, “Bonjour! Ça va?” to which I responded naturally in French, only afterward noticing that I had just slipped into my français without skipping a beat.
Once you arrive at Àcôté on a weekend morning, you feel as though you are on the set of a glamorous photoshoot, complete with a lovely spread of fresh fruit, muffins, and a cheese board, as well as water with lemon and foamy cappuccinos and lattes at the ready. In the afternoons, you can enjoy a glass of wine out on the back patio! It’s Back Bay salon luxury at its finest.
Owner Gaston Safar opened the salon in Boston in the 90s after having learned to cut hair at his parents’ salon in Marseille, and he and his son, Owner Alexander Safar, have grown Salon Àcôté into the glamorous haven of hairstyling that it is today. The family now maintains three locations of the salon, including the luxurious Safar Miami in the heart of South Beach.
Àcôté clearly values hairstyling as a part of something bigger: La mode. Fashion. If you’d like to get a sense of the full Salon Àcôté experience, check out this fun video: A Glimpse of Salon Àcôté.
Salon Àcôté understands the simple truth that luxury is about an experience, taking the time to appreciate the good things in life and celebrate the joie de vivre that can often escape us in the busy day-to-day. Everyone at the salon makes their clients feel welcome and valued. I was greeted so warmly by several people after Gaston, and I was also kindly offered a cappuccino and anything else from the brunch spread.
As I gazed through the grand windows of the salon overlooking Newbury Street, I felt I had arrived at the salon experience I knew I always wanted, and I hadn’t even had my hair done yet.
And then in a moment of serendipity, I was introduced to Timothy Reidy Jr., who is now my official Boston stylist. After I briefly explained the natural, yet brightened, blond look I was looking for, Timothy understood exactly and went expertly to work.
We chatted effortlessly about what we love about hair and fashion. We both agreed that to love what you do for work in life is so important. It was apparent from hearing Timothy’s story that he was doing just that, working in his element along with top stylists in the best salon in Boston.
Since we were going for a light, bright, naturally blended blond, Timothy let me know that we would do what was called “breaking the base” of my hair. I had never had this done before, and it was so interesting to learn about this technique. So Timothy explained to me that this process basically entailed bringing the base shade of my dark blond hair up a shade so that my base color would blend harmoniously with the highlights we were putting in. He also did a glaze. The result: Brilliant!
While Timothy was styling my hair, another hairdresser in the salon bid everyone goodbye, and Timothy said to me, “She taught me everything I know.” She was was jetting off to New York Fashion Week to style the hair of top models.
I find such joy in talking style, fashion, art, culture, business, and – above all – family. If you can chat about all of this with your stylist while getting the look you absolutely were dying for, in the glamorous Salon Àcôté on Newbury Street (which I also now call “my happy place”), you’ll be well on your way to living French chic and experiencing joie de vivre.
To book an appointment, visit Salon Àcôte, and then click on Book Now, where you can create an account and book all your appointments with ease! I am giving you guys some very valuable information in telling you about my new stylist Timothy Reidy Jr., with one stipulation: that I can still get an appointment when you all rush to book him!
Chatting en français un peu plus with the founder of the salon was a lovely way to end the French chic that epitomized this salon experience!
Do you have your favorite salon and stylist, or are you looking for one? Enamored of all things French? Answer in the comments below! We’d love to hear from you! And don’t forget to share this post via the social media buttons at the bottom for friends in Boston or elsewhere who are lovers of French chic!
You can also subscribe to our newly relaunched weekly newsletter to stay up to date with everything Paris, Meet Boston and to be a part of our French-inspired community! Stay tuned for some upcoming posts on an amazing fashion panel I attended recently at the French Cultural Center in Back Bay, one of my favorite new ballet-inspired workout wear lines, Belle Force, as well as PMB‘s very own holiday party style guide!