THE DALLAS LOOK

What Your Hairdresser Knows for Sure.

In Dallas, there are tales that add flavor to the artistry of the shampoo and set. Like the one about the hairdresser who, in the Sixties, wouldn’t allow a woman to enter his salon wearing a miniskirt. Or the stylist who was chauffeured from mansion to mansion to do hair and, some say, other favors. Then there is the guy who only does hair as a hobby; his frenzied followers have to catch him between Bible classes.

But the real story is that good stylists abound in Dallas. We’ve asked four of them to answer some questions about hair care and fashion. The stylists, who represent a cross section of Dallas beauty parlors, are Janna Chandler of Christopher’s, Christian of Marie Leavell Salon, Grady Hall, and Perry Williams of 3525 Institut de Beaute.

Chandler, who is in the up-and-coming bracket, is a transplanted Oklahoman. She says, “I rarely meet anyone who’s objective about her hair. I know I’m not. Until I was 23, I was terrified to go for a haircut, that’s why I went into the business and why I try to be gentle with people’s hair fantasies. As women change and grow, they’re finding things in themselves they’d like to express via their hair.” She believes that much of Dallas hair is “overworked.”

Christian has spent 13 years in the business, including a stint with the ill-fated Vidal Sassoon salon. “Dallas has definitely come a long way in five years. I was very surprised when I came here with Sassoon. After having worked near Michigan Avenue in Chicago, I was thrown in the midst of Elm Street and all those downtown workers, who weren’t ready to accept the Sassoon technique.” The stylist, considered among the most creative here, says he constantly tells his clients they mustn’t get in a rut with their hair. The Dorothy Hamill wedge is his best current example.

Hall, an established stylist who has never followed the crowd, is a Denison native who was put through beauty school by a Dallasite and who credits a year of study in South America in the early Sixties as “the beginning of my style, when bone structure and facial features became such an important part of my work.” Working solo in a homey setting suits Hall best. “If a woman has a big nose, I want to be able to tell her and not have to worry about the guy working in the chair next to me.” He thinks that once a person has found a hair identity, the style should never change drastically. “I like a no-style style,” he says.

Williams was the first tenant at the posh 3525 Turtle Creek building 15 years ago. Before that, he had a seven-year stint with Neiman-Marcus. “Dallas is a hard city to keep up with. A successful hairdresser here has to be a sharp character,” says Williams, whose list of clients reads like the social register. He says he does both “quick work” (blow-dry styles) and sets, but Williams thinks that the set is basic. “If a woman gets too many compliments on her hair, it’s styled wrong.” The stylist, who has just sold his salon to an Iranian investor, Bijan Arazian, says the new owner plans to bring in the European concept of total body and hair care. Williams will manage the salon.



Is there a Dallas look in hair?



Chandler: I think there is a classy taste level. Many women are taking good care of themselves.



Christian: It’s a very stereotyped look in hair. Traditional and a Texas blonde flip sort of thing. All that Farrah Fawcett-Majors stuff went over real big here. It has, thank goodness, started to get away from a more set look.



Hall: There is definitely a look, one that people recognize. But that frosted, too-light, rat-and-tease look is going away. Dallas isn’t as sophisticated as it’s going to be.



Williams: The Dallas look is casual in summer, formal in winter.



What are the fall hairstyles?



Chandler: The look will continue to be shoulder-length hair and longer. I’m booking classes on long hair and what you can do with it at home – knots, braids, wisps. People get bored with long hair.



Christian: The slimmer styles and layering will call for a more geometric form; clean perimeters, but free. It’s not messy but it’s not stark, either.



Hall: I don’t do hairstyles for any one season. The shape of the head and face, lifestyle, and amount of curl determine what I do. I change the balance, alter basics, but your 1963 wedding picture should look as good today as it did then.



Williams: Close lines call for sophisticated hairstyles. Nothing is fixed, but there is a relaxing of quick work and a slicker, more polished effect.



Do you follow fashion trends?



Chandler: I follow it to a point. Trends often stem from boredom. The bad thing about trends is that you can’t put the newest thing on everybody.



Christian: It’s a big part of my work.



Hall: When you have a good cut, fashion will adapt. I am aware of what’s being shown, and I’m also aware that every third lady comes in wearing tennis clothes and really plays. She doesn’t need a bridge-table hairdo. I’m recommending wrapping, rolling, and braiding to my clients with long hair.

Williams: I live it and breathe it. Both European and American.



How should hair relate to fashion?



Chandler: It might stimulate a change.



Hall: They should adapt to each other.



Williams: A style should be able to ride through a fashion season.



Who are the trendsetters in hair today?



Chandler: The Italians. They’re the most imaginative.



Christian: Sassoon will always have an effect. Hairdressers look to Europe. Women look to the people they trust in hair.



Hall: George Masters thinks the way I do. I’m not a Sassoon man. I mainly work by myself.



Williams: Women look to hairdressers. The rag business has a bearing. Television, movies, Farrah Fawcett-Majors. The Fifties could even influence it.



How do Dallas women take to new trends?



Chandler: A strong individual will want to try a trend before the masses get it; they are the ones who first expose something to the eye. In four years here, the number of people who feel free to wear their hair as they please has increased greatly.



Christian: They take to them pretty rapidly. You see trendier women in some areas of Dallas than you do on, say, the West Coast.



Hall: I don’t try to make them change. Unless someone drastically changes weight, there is usually no need.



Williams: They pick up new trends in Europe before I do sometimes.



Are there a lot of beehives left?



Chandler: A lot of hair is what I call overworked. A lot of people need someone strong to say, “You need to get your hair together.”



Christian: Thank goodness they died. I still see some, though. You become very analytical in this business. You always think you could make a person look much better.



Hall: I am fortunate to have a very fine clientele.



Williams: I haven’t seen beehives in eons.



How do you advise a style change?



Chandler: Gently.



Christian: I change repeatedly. I don’t allow my clients to fall into a rut.

Hall: It’s like a plastic surgeon

changing people’s images.

Williams: I know most of my clients so well that they trust my work.



What is the relationship of Dallas women to their hairdressers?



Chandler: It makes me feel good that they like me. They trust me. At night I look in my book and look forward to who’s coming in tomorrow.



Christian: The relationship is purely professional. I don’t have any kind of game. Women are educated to know what can and can’t be done. They’re not here seeking my personal advice on anything.



Hall: There is no unpleasantness here. I don’t take them back if they cause any. They invite me to their parties; I am allowed the privilege of being who I am.

Williams: It’s none of that funky stuff you hear. I have good rapport. We do not talk of troubles at home. My chair is sure as hell not a psychiatrist’s.



What is the most common mistake women make with their hair?



Chandler: Trying to get their hair to do something it’s never going to do. They can damage the hair if they push it too far. They waste time getting their hair to stay in a style not suited for it.



Christian: Trying to do chemical services at home.

Hall: Not liking their hair. Hair is very tangible, it’s the easiest thing changed. Often when people are unhappy, they get a haircut. They don’t like their hair because they don’t like themselves. Show me somebody who wants kinky, bleached hair and I’ll show you someone who overreacts and is not happy.



Williams: Trying to find a prettier hairdo rather than one that suits her. A woman who gets too many compliments on her hair has it styled wrong.



What advice do you give in choosing hair products?



Chandler: I have to look at the hair dry, then wet, and study how it reacts. I would say, Ask a professional. You can do anything to hair, but you must compensate for what you take out of it. I try to find out how much damage my ? client does to her hair – does she merely blow it dry or does she use a curling iron and electric rollers every day. We work out a regimen she can live with.



Christian: A woman should ask whoever does her hair. It’s important. Using the wrong product is like washing a silk blouse in strong detergent.



Hall: I call on people I trust. Our field has gotten so complex, there need to be specialists. I use hair analysis, like a doctor calling for X rays. Usually I tell a customer with no serious problems to buy the smallest available bottles of three name-brand shampoos. Try them all, and try not to get hung up on any one. Alternate. Hair is perkier with different shampoos. Find two or three and use them. I don’t believe in using conditioners daily. They’re like drugs.



Williams: If I don’t sell the right product here, I will recommend where a client can buy it. Beauty supply houses sell to the public, too.



Is the weekly ritual a thing of the past?



Chandler: Yes. I see most of my customers every four to eight weeks. I book teaching appointments in between if needed.



Christian: To 90 percent of the people, yes. Women are paying more attention to their hair but spending less time with it.



Hall: It is dead. I book no standing appointments. If a style requires that much maintenance, it’s not current. If it takes weekly rituals, it’s not showing the woman’s but the hairdresser’s personality. If she’s a slob, her hair will look terrible no matter how often she comes in.



Williams: It’s not a thing of the past. I have some who come in two or three times a week. When parties are on, especially. And it isn’t just rich people. Young executives couldn’t get very far with wives who aren’t dressed well.



What is the price for your basic service?



Chandler: Styling costs $25, whether you need a lot of work or a little. It’s $20 for men.



Christian: It’s $30 to start for a haircut.



Hall: It varies and everything is à la carte here. Usually I get $35 an hour, more on some hair, less on others. It all depends on the hair.



Williams: A haircut and set is $20 to $30.



Do you have any general observations on Dallas and Dallas hair?



Chandler: I am amazed by the number of women who have fabulous hair but don’t know how to work with it. I love it when a client says, ’I don’t hate my hair for the first time.’ The most important change in the past 10 years has been that people are learning to do their hair themselves. The effect on me is that I feel free to interpret whatever they tell me they want. The art of doing hair, I think, is to slip a person into a change and still allow her to be comfortable.



Christian: There are a lot of flawless women here. The most incredible thing to me is the excellent skin.



Hall: It’s nice to see Dallas growing up and letting go. It was so rigid. To know that less is best and to know that the high fry stuff is over. Southern should be comfortable.



Williams: Women here wantperfection in styling. Dallas is oneof the leading cities in hair. Andit’s not just a good-looking hairdofor an occasion. We have the mostbeautiful women.

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