Inspired by New York City, by its diversity and eternal buzz, Roxie Darling and Wes Sharpton whip up super-edgy transformations in their new Flatiron District salon. From deconstructed pixie cuts to rainbow seapunk dyes, FAB got the scoop at their exclusive studio.
Urban Influences, Multidimensional Colors
As a child in Oklahoma, Wes Sharpton obsessively followed new trends and pop culture, and dreamt of New York and its freedom of expression. “I felt so different. New York was a haven where one could be oneself,” explains the hairdresser, coiffed with a thick beanie. He draws from the people around him, from the streets and the Subway, to create unique looks that celebrate difference and individuality. A hint of an asymmetrical bang, a subtle undercut, a layered shag evoking Patti Smith or Mick Jagger, a bouncy bob… his cuts are radical, astonishing, and always soft. His creative partner is Roxie Darling, a tall girl with turquoise eyes framed by a wild, flamboyantly colored bob, who grew up in Staten Island, NY. She paints multidimensional colors, like watercolors, that add depth and life to Wes’s cuts. Hopping from bar to club, she watches the scenesters and the hipsters, the artists and the students, on the lookout for unique styles. In 2011, she changed her own haircolor to a cotton candy pink and developed a fascination for the science of color. “I love the way people react to my color changes. Usually people are drawn to soft tones and react more strongly when the color is intense,” she says.
Telling Each Person’s Story
Hairstory is a totally unique look for each client, a transformation that begins with Roxie and Wes’s take on each person’s hair and style, of course, but also on their presence and emotional needs. “Usually, when clients come, they start by telling me about what they hate about themselves,” explains Wes. “My role is to show them that they are beautiful, to liberate them from these negative thoughts or clichés. This is my platform and I use it to show that diversity is important. What matters the most to me is to stay creative. Sometimes we create a radical change: I could shave a woman’s long hair. For others, the transformation is very subtle.”
For Roxie, each makeover starts with an emotional quest. “Color affects the head and the heart,” she says. “I ask my clients about their astrological sign, their exercise habits, their favorite foods. It’s like a holistic consultation. Beauty is a moment in time, an experience of gratitude, of stimulation and of appreciation of others and the present moment. It’s a decision I make to look at someone and find them beautiful. I don’t limit my view to a certain esthetic.”
At their new, bright studio at the fifth floor of an art deco building in the Flatiron, nestled among fashion stores and business towers, the team works on shoots, develops their product line including the cult detergent-free hair wash, and offers consultations and ultra-personalized services to a VIP following – models, businesswomen, fashion editors and celebrities. Founded by Briton Michael Gordon – the creator of Bumble and Bumble – in a downtown studio in 2013, the place is a creative lab that welcomes the brightest talent. It offers a new vision of beauty – pure, radical and inspiring, in the age of Instagram and of international street culture. Without a doubt, Vogue’s favourite salon, named the ‘coolest in New York’ by Allure, has now transformed the very city that fueled its rise.