Atop the escalator at Saks Fifth Avenue’s stunning Walt Whitman Shops location is a new type of salon aiming to bring the entire beauty routine under one roof. The Salon Project is the brainchild of Warren Tricomi Salons’ renowned co-founder Joel Warren. At this Huntington flagship, the concept has been carefully designed to make beauty services the cohesive experience they were always meant to be.
Based on his 30 years in the hair industry, with a stint as an assistant to world-famous colorist Louis Licari before founding multiple salons in cities like New York and Miami, Warren saw that the salon model needed a major upgrade. Long gone are the days where guests bounce from sink to styling chair to heat lamp to makeup artist. Each station comes equipped with a vanity that folds up to reveal a sink, making rinsing hair as easy as a spin of a chair. Services ranging from hair and makeup to skincare, tanning and manicures bring to life Warren’s mission of arming knowledgeable staff with top-shelf products and amenities to make a lengthy afternoon of beauty treatments more of a pampering experience and less of an assembly line. In the midst of expanding this soon-to-be beauty empire to 14 Saks locations nationwide, Warren reflected on his motivations.
How did you come up with the concept of The Salon Project?
I was looking through the eyes of the client and their journey at a normal salon, and I saw that something that should be enjoyable and luxurious became a chore. It was really the combination of the client’s journey along with having to make a more efficient salon. The business model wasn’t working very well and hadn’t changed since the seventies when Vidal Sassoon came up with it. It needed to be modernized. Like Uber and Netflix have changed their industries, I was looking at a different way of doing it.
How does this change the relationship between client and stylist?
I am offering the opportunity for hair stylists to expand their repertoire. If a woman comes to the salon and wants beauty advice, this is the best place to do it. The people working there should be able to talk you from head to toe on what is best for you. I really started thinking about my own career. I would meet clients—they would come in and I would talk to them about their look and style and texture. I wanted to orchestrate the whole thing because I had my own ideas…Who is better to ask what color to put on your face (as far as makeup goes) than the person that’s coloring your hair? When I had to hand them off to somebody else, you don’t know what’s going to happen. I felt that was very confusing for the client. A hair stylist should be able to tell you what looks good with your makeup, what skincare products to use and the like because you are going to them as beauty experts.
What trends in hair and beauty are you excited about right now?
You’re going to see a more natural look coming. That straight blown-out hair look is shifting the other way. As far as color goes, there was a very big trend in all those poppy mermaid colors that were going on. I always like a more natural, beautiful hair look. I think color is heading that way as well—more natural colors or natural highlights. People are working with their own tones because bleached-out colored hair has made an impact on people’s texture and condition of their hair. Give your hair a break from bleaching it out and coloring it purple and blowing it out every day—there has to be shifts.