There’s a sign outside the front door of Bumble & bumble founder Michael Gordon’s new salon, Hairstory, asking visitors to please remove their shoes before they come inside. Next to it is a basket of slippers.
After you enter, this request makes sense. Hairstory isn’t just your average cut-and-color shop; it’s also Gordon’s home—a 6,000-square-foot loft high up in New York’s Financial District. It looks more like a warm family residence than an edgy hair salon founded by one of the most famous names in the industry. In fact, you have to go past a living room, dominated by a L-shaped couch and massive coffee table, and a kitchen the size of some studio apartments before even finding yourself at the first room of the three-chair salon.
“We never list the address,” says Kim Smith, the salon’s publicity director. “We don’t want people just arriving.”
And yet, there’s a good chance that Hairstory and its pared-down product line, Purely Perfect, is about to become very popular. Gordon, who started Bumble & bumble in 1977 and is responsible some of its most iconic styling products, might well have his finger on the pulse of what’s happening in hair yet again. In a time when many women are worried about over-drying their hair or stripping it of its natural oils, Purely Perfect aims to leave hair feeling healthy and undamaged. The simple line of just three products is anchored by a cleansing conditioner, Purely Perfect Cleansing Crème, that is made without detergents. It doesn’t foam and instead cleans the hair with aloe vera and gentle essential oils.
“At Bumble we all kind of knew shampoo was bad, and I’d created all of these products you’re supposed to use after it to make your hair look cool again,” Gordon says. “People are selling zillions of bottles of shampoo when they know it’s not good for your hair. To call it criminal behavior is slightly exaggerated, but I think five years from now shampoo is going to be seen like gluten is today.”
Inside Hairstory, photographers and filmmakers chronicle makeovers of models, musicians, artists and other stylish folks. On a recent Monday, the indie girl band The Secret Someones was getting punky cuts and color before heading out on a three-month tour. The photos and videos are then posted on Hairstory.com or the salon’s Instagram, @hairstorystudio. “I wouldn’t use Facebook,” Gordon says, “It’s ugly.”
To get in yourself, you have to be recommended. Stylists like Tony Kelley, who works with Prada, Marc Jacobs, YSL, Celine and Alexander McQueen, usually give clients two business cards, one to keep and the other to pass on to a deserving friend. “It’s like really private club, where we’re also vigorously creating content,” Gordon says. “I wanted it to be a living, breathing lab where you can see people’s hair and test the products. But it is sometimes hard to have all of these people in my home. I don’t have Julien Schnabel’s look with the PJs. I do have to get dressed.”