William Collier: Synopsis of a Memoir, Pt. 36 - An Exciting Move

April 21, 2016

With the Courreges Boutique on street level just above Collier's, the modeling school upstairs above Courreges, and I. Magnin one door interactive buzz was occurring. Either myself, or a designated representative of the Collier's Design staff would do hair care, grooming and styling classes at the modeling school on a regular basis. We provided that same training program for Barbiizon Modeling School located a few blocks away. Our participation was appreciated by the young women, many of whom knew runway modeling was not going to happen, however, they enjoyed the information being offered knowing it would support them regardless of what they chose to do in the future. As the years passed, the rumors of huge changes occurring in the downtown core were circulating.

Information had been released, informing all businesses in the downtown core about the impact of the bus tunnel project. We were on the wrong side of 6th Avenue. The entire sidewalk between Pike Street and Pine Street on the east side of Sixth Avenue was to be removed as part of the underground transit project. Prior to the sidewalk being removed, our intention was to muscle through what was clearly going to be disruptive. Our expectations were too high, the sidewalk was replaced with wooden boards that were adequate until it rained and then it was a muddy mess. My lease was up and I was ready to get out of the disruption occurring in the downtown core. A space on 5th and Lenora was mentioned as a possible consideration. After being right in the heart of the city it was hard to imagine being that far north. Ground level was not in the cards; the 5th avenue location was on the top floor of a very charming two story building. The entire ground floor was to be the location for a new art gallery. The building was recently restored on the interior with the intention of preserving the natural beauty of the basic interior structure. I had some reservations regarding the floor plan, that would give access to approximately fifteen hundred square feet on the top floor in the back of the building. After climbing one flight of stairs I entered a hallway that felt like a maze, to reach the space being considered for my salon. Once I entered the space it was beautiful. The ceiling beams were huge first cut timber. The floor plan on the inside was completely open with a somewhat industrial feel. The ground floor was already leased to become the Richard Hines Gallery. That space is now occupied by Tom Douglas - Palace Kitchen restaurant.Visiting the new space felt like betrayal, after all the sweat and even a few tears that went into Colliers on 6th Avenue. I managed to get enough wind at my back to give the space some serious consideration. We met Richard Hines and got a much better understanding of the magnitude of his ambition. Richard was planning to bring the most successful artists in the U S A. to Seattle. Helen Frankenthaler, Carl Judd, Dan Flavin, Kenneth Noland,  Michael Heizer, James Rosenquist, Ed Ruscha, Richard Serra and Robert Rauschenberg, to name the ones I can remember. This sounded very exciting, and Richard had a snarky charm that was also interesting. I enjoyed art and had a very modest collection of European artists, nothing close to the importance of the U.S. artists Richard was working with.

Back at Colliers, I broke the news to my staff that Colliers would be closing and gave a two month window for everyone to make the necessary arrangements moving forward. I signed a lease with the owner, agreeing to additional modifications required to accommodate the needs of a hair salon, and a move-in date was determined. The preparation was mostly plumbing and electrical, with a minimum interior build-out for a dressing room and a small office. It was understood because of the scheduling intricacies of the gallery opening, the preparation of that space would be the first priority of the construction team doing the work. Initially the project looked doable without delay. Unintended consequences did occur..... salon delays.

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