Oh God. I've become a Scottsdale snob. Not that anything's wrong with that, but when I parked my car outside of Salvador Calvano's Phoenix hair studio, I couldn't help thinking: Hope my car's still here when I get back.
Touted as the stylist to the stars — his work has graced the covers of Glamour, Vogue and countless other fashion mags — I was determined to see what this guy was all about. Plus, I had once again found myself in damage control mode. Hankering for a "new look" (read: disaster waiting to happen), I had recently gotten a block full of choppy layers that made my hair the unmistakable shape of a lopsided mushroom.
Finding the front door locked, I rang the bell and was greeted by Salvador's assistant, and Tahoe, an adorable six-month-old golden retriever. Taking in the scene before me, I was, well, dumbstruck.
So used to the pristine, overly coiffed salons of Scottsdale, my eyes took in what is best described as an artist's playground. From its white brick walls, high ceiling and fascinating collections of photographs and records (yeah, those big round black things) to the disco ball, pool table and dashes of retro, this former olive warehouse was an organized but eclectic urban funhouse. The studio was flooded with natural light and a door to a side yard was open, emanating the first cool breeze all season.
Salvador himself was nothing like what I had envisioned as someone who had run his hands through Claudia Schiffer's hair and worked behind the runways in Miami, L.A. and New York. He was dressed in a well-worn tee, jeans and sneaks and had a warm, laid-back attitude. He sat me in front of a huge floor to nearly ceiling mirror and sized up my hair by first running his fingers through it. He was honest and thoughtful about his approach to the disaster zone saying that I had "kick-ass" hair that would look even better once my mushroom cap was given some time to grow out. Cutting very little, he artfully reshaped and trimmed my hair and added some subtle highlights that worked beautifully to soften the look. By the time his assistant had rinsed out the color and Salvador dried and styled my new mane, I was ready for a runway walk.
My new best friend Tahoe insisted I stick around so I leafed through Salvador's jaw-dropping portfolio. Jennifer Love Hewitt, Natalie Portman, Stephanie Seymour were just a few of the faces he had framed. Asked why he's in Phoenix of all places, and lucky for us, he grew up here and had decided to return to his roots. For 28 years, his parents owned and operated Cutter's Salon, a beauty landmark on Camelback Road.
And here's the very best part: days later when it was time to tackle my hair on my own, I had no problem making it look great! Thanks Salvador and family for a fun, rocking hair experience. I'll be back!