With a client list that reads like that of a state dinner, New York–based Lisa Chiccine cares for the hair of the rich and powerful in her one-seat salon.
The babies she obsessively restyled as a child paid nothing. Her college dorm mates on Philadelphia’s Main Line and first clients in Pottsville, Pennsylvania, paid almost nothing: $5, then $10 a head. Now Lisa Chiccine, the proprietor of a doll-size, single-chair salon just off Madison Avenue, charges politicians (Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu), royalty (Prince Pavlos of Greece), Wall Streeters and the wives of, up to a grand for a session with her scissors. “My clients are booked for the year,” says Chiccine, a gravel-voiced size zero who’s serious about keeping things private, punctual, and exceedingly calm. “They own their spots.”
Men come for biweekly haircuts that don’t look like haircuts. “They always want to look exactly the same: hair just barely touching the ear,” says the stylist. The women come for ultra-voluminous blowouts and subtle highlights that don’t move too far away from their natural color. “Fashion,” she adds, explaining her style motto, “is what fits you best.”
It’s a lesson Chiccine learned while under the wing of Bruno Pittini, the superstar coiffeur of the Eighties and Nineties who brought Frédéric Fekkai, Serge Normant, and Yves Durif to our shores. “He taught me how to look at someone and make them better, even if it means sending them away for six months because you have a vision of their hair being longer,” she recalls. “I see so many people going against the grain. I feel really strongly about working with what you have.” But leaving the salon with a gorgeous head of hair is only half the equation. The rest is bend-over-backward customer service that involves everything from helping with hotel reservations to doling out fashion, fitness, and diet guidance. “A few of my clients say the same thing to me,” Chiccine says. “‘If I were bald, I would still have to come here.’”