If you notice the hair of the denizens of Los Angeles looking different these days, stylist Benjamin Mohapi might be the person responsible. Asked about the contrast between customers in his native London and in Hollywood, the Brit says, “Clients in London are a bit more adventurous and there is no real uniform hairdo, whereas in L.A., the big, beachy wave makes up at least 50 percent of what clients currently want. But i guess I”m here to change that.”
This summer he opened Salon Benjamin in West Hollywood at the ultrastylish intersection of Melrose and Robertson. For 15 years, he’s been coiffing the likes of David Beckham, Keira Knightly and Stella McCartney, as well as running Punishment Ltd., his own hair, beauty and styling agency. He decided to make the move to the States because, he says, “I love Los Angeles. I think it’s a really exciting city. it’s being recognized more and more as one of the cultural centers of the world—the art, music and food scenes are starting to take off, and I want to be a part of it.”
The salon offers a full range of services: color, cuts, straightening and extensions. The space is both antique-eclectic and modern, filled with vintage magazines and Edwardian furniture. He explains, “The inspiration for the design is routed firmly in London. Wherever you are, you’re surrounded by a mix of things old and new.” Salon Benjamin also plays host to revolving art installations—so it’s like getting your hair done in a gallery, with thought-provoking pieces to ponder in the chair. “i’ve always felt that surrounding yourself with beautiful and interesting things was a better way to live,” he says.
Angelenos seem to agree—even though Mohapi’s establishment is still young, he’s already worked with stars like Cameron Diaz and Portia di Rossi. And he feels he’s just getting started: “This is my first salon, but hopefully not the last. i really enjoyed the process of creating the space, so I’m looking forward to doing more.”