A city of music and culture, rebellious and romantic, stylish and alive with joie de vivre, Montreal is a European enclave in North America. At the heart of this Canadian city, Salon Pure has been creating the edgiest hairstyles in town since 1998. FAB met Daniel Benoît, its founder.
At The Cutting Edge
Inspired by fashion, by the revolutionary lines of Vidal Sassoon and by the street styles he encounters throughout his worldwide explorations, Daniel Benoît has been creating unique hairstyles for 45 years. At the helm of Salon Pure Montreal with his business partner Anna Pacitto, he teaches and gives workshops throughout Canada, visits London twice a year to keep track of new trends, participates in shows, shoots and has won a series of awards. He forms a team with his wife, colorist Monia Grieco, at the salon and beyond. Unstoppable, he is launching a new line of ergonomic scissors and is adapting the salon to environmentally sound standards. The secret of his success, he says, is hard work. “One should never stop learning,” says the hairdresser, who sports a white goatee and sleek black suits. “Each year I invest a lot of effort and money into learning new techniques and trends. This is how I keep ahead of the curve.”
Montreal, the city that inspired the songs of Leonard Cohen, Arcade Fire’s experimental folk rock and the electro beats of pioneer Grimes, celebrates freedom, individuality and cultural exchanges. From the hipster students of the Mile End neighborhood, haven of music and artisanal shops, to the punks of Saint Catherine Street and its underground clubs, to the creative and innovative business district of Old Montreal, this is a stylish city. “Compared to the rest of Canada where fashion is more Americanized, I find that Quebec is closer to Europe,” explains Benoît. “Here people aren’t scared to wear new trends on the street. It reminds me of London.”
Inspirations For 2017
Known for his edgy, asymmetrical cuts, Benoît is shifting gears in 2017. “This year hair is super natural,” he explains. “We’re not using flat irons and cutting and styling hair almost dried with the diffuser. Hair is short but soft, not super straight like last year’s. Rather than oils that dry out strands, we’re applying leave-in conditioners then letting hair dry naturally. Curls are also back, as well as perms, which had been out of fashion for years. As for color, it’s also more natural, with subtle balayage. This is all a result of the economic situation and of a need to live more simply. It’s a very Californian lifestyle, very healthy, green, focused on wellness.”
As Benoît sees it, hair is an expression of identity but also of social and cultural movements, which he interprets, with a touch of poetry, day after day.