The thing about hair salons is that, if you’re lucky, you don’t see many of them. Hopefully, you find that person who gives you the perfect cut, and you discover that color wiz, and you fall into a routine that lasts years unless there’s a move, a death, or a love affair gone sour (Shampoo with Goldie Hawn—watch it.)
On the other hand, you hear about other salons—and the most amazing hair people—all the time. And in Paris, the local girls wouldn’t stop talking about David Mallett….the man, and the place: my beauty editor friend Lili, Gaia [Repossi], and Bianca Brandolini, plus the innumerable fashion-world luminaries and celebrity clients who he politely declined to name when I visited the aerie in September. I needed a single-process—I’d flown to Paris early and had to cancel my long-standing color appointment in New York. “Who should I try? Should I try someone in Paris, or just wait?” I asked Lili, and in her very French, very serious way, she replied, “David Mallett. I’ll make a call."
I made it in. And, let me tell you, only in Paris would you ever dream of seeing a salon so beautiful. “I decorated the whole thing myself, and half of it came from my house,” thirty-six year old Mallett told me, Australian accent holding fast. What does your house look like?! I could only imagine. “It looks like this but a bit smaller. And everything here is second-hand—there’s barely anything new. Mostly all of it is from European flea markets, except the mirrors that we made to measure. Gaia had one made for her bathroom, because she loved them.” He situated me in front of one long panel and introduced me to colorist Anthony Deliperi (Mallett himself worked more as a creative director), and together they spent two hours dyeing, washing, checking, dying again, and glazing my medium brown hair to just-shy-of-black perfection. “We have to be careful because it’ll go black in an instant, and we don’t want it to look harsh or goth,” he told me. And what if I’d wanted goth? “I don’t do weird hair. I think the biggest success for hairdressers, beyond trends, is to make a woman feel beautiful and for you to really respect her idea of beauty. And for her to respect yours. It’s a two-way thing. But I suppose she always leaves here looking sort of naturally glamorous. Gorgeous shiny hair that moves—and technically sound cuts—that’s what I’m good at.”
Most of the girls and grande dames (and a few husbands) that walk out with his Midas touch also leave with a bottle of serum, which took three years to perfect and is the sole hair product bearing his name. “It was about the only thing that I couldn’t find on the market,” he explains. “All the other serums made the hair kind of flat and greasy and yuck, and all my clients were saying that their hair was really dry but they couldn’t find the right thing to put in it. Even for fine hair, it really works.” And whether it’s the insanely rich color, or the Macadamia oil in the serum, or just the visions of leopards and birds and sunshine streaming through an open Parisian window, my hair is looking better than ever.