Last year, I asked David Mallett if there was anywhere else in the world he’d like to open a salon. His answer was firm.
“No. It was only meant to be Paris. Then the Ritz came and saw me about opening there so I said yes, and then Laure [Heriard Dubreuil] who’s a client of mine, said to me I’m doing a business project in New York, would you be interested? I agreed, but they all came through people I know, who came to see me and it came to be that way. I was very happy with one salon, extremely.”
Three salons later – two in Paris, one in New York – and we’re very happy Heriard Dubreuil had that chat.
This week, David Mallett à New York opens in The Webster, a hotel in New York’s swish Soho district. Knowing the perfectionism that comes with the man, The Webster obviously measured up to the high standards a Mallett salon obliges. Situated on 29 Greene St, The Webster is a luxury boutique hotel, that, in his own words, is “the best imaginable place for us – its unique atmosphere, highest quality service and finest taste in luxury make it an absolute dream come true.”
An extension of his Parisian flagship, his eponymous New York outpost – the first outside France – is equally as stylish, but with a little Manhattan about it. Rather than cast onto the street front, David Mallett à New York is discreetly kept from view; the studio is located on the fifth floor, away from nosy New Yorkers. Sitting at only eight-chairs, it is small, yes, but it is this sense of intimacy which is intrinsic to the Mallett brand as a whole. Even within the unusually sprawling space on Rue Notre Dame des Victoires, there is intimacy; petit pockets where you feel like it’s you – and only you – getting une coupe brushing, because from intimacy stems quality, and most importantly, trust – an integral quality in the relationship between hairdresser and client.
Careful not to displace his French soul (or Australian heart), the rarefied air of his right-bank salon remains, albeit subtly. French craftsmanship is celebrated, which for Mallett, is an important story not only in his own narrative, but one for his new American clientele. Custom-made hairdressing suitcases, designed mirrors to marry well with classic New York period architecture, vestimentary codes and designer capes, and a spectacular fifteen-foot-long marble table (which acts as the pièce de résistance), are all made-to-measure by French craftsmen. The 1,600-square-foot space was carved by renowned French architect Charles Zana, combining both the old-world grandeur of mighty ceilings with the original architectural details of historical New York.
There is even a touch of home, collaborating with Louise Olsen of Dinosaur Designs to create beautifully bespoke pieces rendered in brass and resin – a decision made by Mallett to introduce the American consumer to the iconic Australian design brand. But don’t call the salon French or Australian. “My new American adventure won’t be a French or Australian project; it will be a global one. A place where people, races, languages are mixed, creating a real journey in the heart of the brand.”
Despite the commonalities with its Parisian siblings (Mallet also has a tiny salon within thy hallowed walls of Ritz Paris), there is not a pretentious peacock in sight. Nor a naughty cheetah. Even the famous ostrich didn’t make it across the Atlantic. Unlike the taxidermy and trinkets of David Mallett Paris, David Mallett à New York is different. It’s its own space, with its own unique character.
For the Australian-born, Parisian-based hairstylist, it’s a new chapter in his “real journey,” and one we’re very happy about. Extremely, in fact.