Celebrity stylist Paul Labrecque brings his New York sensibilities to Philadelphia with a new salon and spa.
With the opening of the new Paul Labrecque salon at The Rittenhouse, women’s hairstyles in Philadelphia are seeing a new level of sophistication.
What do Michelle Obama’s chic bob, Rihanna’s edgy crop, and Kate Hudson’s cascading waves have in common? They’ve all been coiffed by the hands of Paul Labrecque, stylist to the fashion and media elite, who, until now, has maintained a New York-centric salon empire. This fall, the buzzed-about Hair by Paul Labrecque salon opens in The Rittenhouse, following the hotel’s multi million-dollar revitalization. With its members-only feel (sans annual dues), off-menu treatment options, and Labrecque’s custom styling, the luxury wellness destination is taking a custom-built approach to pampering. The shelves of the salon are stocked with a who’s who of beauty products, including elite offerings from Labrecque himself. On the eve of the opening, Philadelphia Style chatted with Labrecque about venturing outside New York to bring sexy, young-looking hair to Rittenhouse Square.
Hair by Paul Labrecque is your first salon outside of New York City. Why Philly?
PauL LabreCque: Philly is only an express train ride away, and it’s such a pretty town. It was the perfect choice. And what could be a better testing ground than a gorgeous five-star hotel? What attracted me to the space were the light and the windows that overlook Rittenhouse Square. From inside the salon, we look over the trees.
What can we expect when we visit the salon?
PL: Our salons are touchable, tangible, feeling places. You don’t feel intimidated when you walk through the door. Philly ladies won’t be in as big a rush as women are in New York, so they’ll have a little more time to spend with us. We’re using The Rittenhouse’s food services, so clients can eat and have tea or a cocktail. I want to show you that you can have the best hair in town and still enjoy your time.
Whom should we be watching from your new styling team?
PL: We’re going to have the crème de la crème of Philly working with us, and we’re going to send a couple of our New York people over, like our artistic director. I’ll be making the trip to Philly several times a year.
During your trips between New York and Philly, have you noticed any major style differences?
PL: There is a similar type of woman in both places—stylish, educated working women. When the [salon opening] announcement went out, we got so many e-mails saying, ‘We can’t wait to have you.’ I think there’s definitely a need. We work with every age group, but the kind of hair we do is young. And we want to keep doing young, sexy, sophisticated, moving hair; that’s our forte.
What should we be doing with our hair this fall?
PL: I think you shouldn’t be afraid of a cut. We’ve been seeing so many beautiful shorter cuts and shorter styles. Robin Wright in House of Cards really did it for us. And Charlize Theron, Anne Hathaway—these women have inspired our customers to get a stylish, shorter cut.
You’ve had a talent for styling since age 9; does your vision for hair continue to evolve or is it cyclical?
PL: To stay fresh, you always have to evolve, and learning is key. The academy that I run in New York will be Skyped into our Rittenhouse salon on a weekly basis. I don’t want people to think that just because Paul Labrecque isn’t at the helm every single day, they’re going to be held to a different standard than at my New York salons. I believe that fashion and hair go together: Fashion evolves, so hair must evolve, too.