The exterior of 17 East 71st Street looks like something out of Paris’s Left Bank: a delicate six-story building built in 1910, French doors behind Juliet balconies and a sloping roof that rests above dormer windows. Inside, the fifth and sixth floors are still raw space on an early autumn day, but the pale wood flooring will soon be stained dark brown, the bare walls will be paneled in wood, and framed Avedons, Newtons and Warhols will hang throughout. Contrary to appearances, this town house duplex is not the abode of another hedge funder—it’s the new Sharon Dorram Color at Sally Hershberger Uptown salon, an enterprise that unites New York’s resident tough-chick hairdresser with one of its smartest, chicest colorists.
“I’m a down-town person—it’s my thing,” admits Hershberger. “But I have so many clients from uptown.”
Many will wonder what Hershberger, practically a poster child for life south of 14th Street, is doing uptown. The often iconoclastic hairstylist has been a staple in the Meatpacking District since it still smelled of raw sirloin. For Dorram (who goes by Dorram-Krause except when her name is on an awning), the new space, which will open for business in January, is just a stone’s throw from her former workplace, the John Frieda Salon on East 76th Street.
During a brief break between clients, Hershberger is sitting in her back office at her 14th Street location. She’s wearing a black T-shirt with the words i did it my way on the back; it’s from her clothing line, Shagg (named after the hairstyle that’s become her signature). On her feet are gray Converse sneakers, and because she “couldn’t be bothered” with her own shag on an unseasonably warm day, her head is wrapped Karate Kid–style in an Alexander McQueen scarf dotted with skulls. It’s not exactly the kind of look you see at the Colony Club.
“I’m a downtown person—it’s my thing,” admits Hershberger, her tired feet propped up on a chair. “But I have so many clients from uptown. And I’ve been getting phone calls for at least a year from all the salons up there, because, not to be…,” she stops to consider the hubris that the rest of her sentence might suggest but, with a shrug, finishes anyway: “I know how to do a cool salon.”
It’s true. Hershberger cuts everyone from the truly edgy (Sandra Bernhard) to those wanting to incorporate a bit of edge into an otherwise Park Avenue appearance. Her clients span every hot category, from fashion (Donna Karan) and Hollywood (David Duchovny, Renée Zellweger) to sports (Roger Federer) and fellow high-profile beauty-industry types (dermatologist Patricia Wexler). And they’re willing to fork over quite a sum for her—Hershberger caused an uproar when, years ago, she became the first stylist to charge $600 for a cut; her current fee is $800.