DAVID MALLETT by Erin Hazelton
I met David Mallett for the first time about nine years ago. Every time I went to Paris I was enamored with the way the Parisian women looked. They had this carefree elegance that I wanted to mimic. Their hair was never overdone; just well cut… the same went for their clothes.
I had been spending more and more time in Paris for work writing fashion and beauty articles, so I called one of the agents at Marilyn, one of the top modeling agencies in Paris, and I asked who gave the best haircut in Paris. David’s name was emailed back to me with no alternatives.
When I arrived at his salon, which was smaller then, but still in the same place, I was in love. It was my idea – everyone’s idea – of the perfect Parisian apartment. There was – and still is – an exotic array of taxidermy throughout the salon and a mix of modern furniture perfectly arranged amidst the architectural details of a 17th century French apartment. David decorated the salon himself. Upon learning this fact (I had been Andy Goldsborough’s assistant before my time in Paris, so I appreciated good interior design when I saw it) – and this was before I met David face-to-face, before I knew about all the genius editorial he had done for several top magazines, before I knew that he styled the hair of the most beautiful French and American movie stars – I could see that his taste was insurmountable and I laid down any and all of the pre-haircut apprehension that I tended to carry with me into a salon. I was sick of bad highlights, rock-and-roll layers (this was the early 2000s) and, my personal favorite, up-dos that looked like I was going to a junior high semi-formal. I hadn’t had a good haircut in a long time and I was ready.
David ended up going for it and gave me my first crop of bangs since I was six years old. They looked amazing. When I went back to New York, everyone told me how “French” I looked. There is no bigger compliment in my book.
From that day forward David and I became friends. He was my go-to hair expert when I was writing about hair. He even gave me a beautiful, classic “Alexandre de Paris”-style chignon for my wedding. He also opened the salon for my bridesmaids and gave us all champagne. It is a wonderful wedding present and very glamorous memory to have.
That salon, like a David Mallett haircut, is perfect. Now that I am living in France, I want our very un-17th century house to look just like it. I know that this is impossible – we live in a medieval “chateau forte,” which is basically a burly, very masculine fortress where the charming woodwork that defines David’s salon would seem slightly amiss. But there are a few elements of David’s interior décor that I would love to implement into our home.
For one thing, his color palette is very much my style. It’s all grey. Anyone who visited us in our Soho apartment will know that we tend to shy away from crazy colors and try to make everything calm and soothing. Grey may sound cold, but done correctly (ask Andy) it can be quite comforting and inviting, just as it is in David’s salon. I also find it incredibly chic. Call me boring.
The main room that David uses to cut hair has the same hardwood, herringbone floors that we have in our “salon” – salon as in formal sitting room, not hair salon, although that would be amazing. The difference between his floors and ours is that his have a matte, natural, grey-toned stain on them and ours are varnished with an orange-y tone, high gloss finish. Very 1960s… but not in a good way. David is going to send me the name of the stain he used.
The furniture David put into his salon has all been collected on various trips to Paris’s Cligancourt, as well as flea markets in Belgium – which are apparently amazing (Andy – let’s go when you are here next week!). The furniture that David has selected for the salon is a unification of 1950’s, 60’s and even 70’s pieces (think soft leathers on metal bases, Saarinen tables and lamps) and more ornate, Louis XIV chairs and mirrors. There is also the taxidermy: an ostrich, a leopard and two white peacocks. There is a horse head that fell off of a statue and a Poul Henningsen Artichoke Lamp that is suspended by a chain in the center of the “sink room.” I love staring at it as I get a luxurious head massage.
In a way, David’s salon feels a bit like a cleaner, greyer, more contemporary Carlo Mollino space…. If Carlo Mollino were French and not Italian, if that makes any sense.
The bones of each space demand a certain kind of decor, just like the body of each human should be dressed in a way that is most flattering to his or her form. David nailed his space… just like he nails haircuts.
David also recently launched a new line of beautifully packaged (no surprise) hair products. The minimal, old school “pharmacie,” yet very modern feel of the black bottles of the products will make any bathroom look a little more chic.
Photos by Nisuc