William Collier: Synopsis of a Memoir, Pt. 34 - Collier's Grand Opening

April 07, 2016

 The entire staff participated in preparing for our official opening. After a few hours of light cleaning, arranging furniture, a few pizza's, and some beer it was readmemoir 33-2y.  The space had a grand feeling. There were two large kiosk like structures built to accommodate four designers each. The kiosks were approximately eight feet tall providing a look of substance allowing for privacy without total separation. The layout gave a feeling of elegance. The changing room accommodated two private spaces. Our client smocks were custom designed by a local designer, and color coordinated as part of the overall palette of the salon. We did have a couple of hair dryers, with beautiful wicker lounge chairs left in their natural color  adding another element of comfort and elegance. The pattememoir 33-1rn and colors gave a look and feel of the tropics. The overall motif intentionally contrasted the lack of natural light, as well as the dominance of weather related grey tones often associated with Seattle. For me it was a home run. During the first 6 months a couple of the Nordstrom brothers visited, curious about the new kid in town; as well as a walk thru by Lee Smith the original owner of what was the "Purple Wig Diggins" and Mr. Lee's Beauty Schools.

As we grew in the new location, we soon attracted other notables in the beauty industry. Offering the expertise of a Northern European esthetician, with advanced skin care skills, and knowledge that was a compliment to the direction the salon was naturally headed. In conjunction with caring for the skin, we offered cosmetic application tutorials, as a separate service insuring a well-coordinated approach to skin care. These additional services matured over time creating a spa like environment. The space allowed for continued growth and other services soon came on board. Electrolysis, massage, manicures, pedicures and cosmetic dentistry. We were involved with a modeling school/agency located on the top floor of our building. The young...ish dentist offered teeth whitening, as well as oral examinations intended to guide the models to a healthy, beautiful smile.

eightyshairI want to be clear about what was happening in the realm of hair design in the mid to late seventies. BIG HAIR was gaining popularity along with the "disco culture". As a Sassoon trained hair cutter, the disco era seemed like a time to stick to even stricter details with cutting techniques, intentionally avoiding the lure of additional revenue with the popularity of permed hair. I am pleased to say that I managed to avoid the disco scene. Another trip to Europe may have assisted me in choosing a different course. Hair, as a physiological fact as nature intended, insulates the head to assist in managing body temperature. It's resilience as a fiber has attracted many altering techniques...adding color, removing color, permanent curl, etc. Trends tend to cycle in approximately ten year increments, all emulating a somewhat cultural phenomenon. The "80's" were a statement in personal cosmetic inflation, utilizing the hair to express ones desirability. As examples portrayed in Hollywood trickled down confirming and legitimizing the validity of "size matters". Hollywood, not to be confused with the “film industry ".  An antithetical statement, perhaps encouraged by a proper backdrop, had been brewing in London. Punk, New Wave, Modern, non-gender specific hair expression with emphasis on crazy color. This movement was associated with a “bad girl/boy" image. It became the go to look for rebellious teenagers intent on marginalizing the status quo. Tattooing and piercings completed the look. This movement never reached mainstream proportions, however remanence trickled in with multiple piercing of the ear or ears and a "tasteful" butterfly or flower inked on some obscure area, often an ankle. A touch of daring. There is a certain sweetness associated with those middle aged women who are wearing the spiky hair and have a little ink somewhere on their body, as if to say "we want to play too". It may never be too late for a quick dunk in the "edgy" pool. The restrictions of convention have been temporarily blurred.

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