SO summery was the afternoon when I walked into, the just two weeks open, STIL salon in Chelsea, I’d felt the need to spend some time on my way soaking in the heavenly scents, shapes and shades of nature in a nearby garden.
I had no idea how appropriate this was until I arrived at the flower filled window of STIL, meaning style in Swedish, a copious space echoing into whiteness, through glass and mirrors, and inside, more yet vases of large flowers in shades of, cherries, strawberry ice cream, pink lolly pops and all the pinks in between.
A beautiful ,centrally located hair salon, evoking Scandinavian cool, on the edge of trends, preferring to offer bespoke hair design to each individual client, visiting STIL was my treat for the day.
Happily eyeing the pale wood floors, while watching the world pass from the comfort of my soft, yet supportive grey, suede chair, I’m advised by award winning STIL colour director Anna Alford, to sit, relax and enjoy, as a menu which includes coconut water, Prosecco and pistachios, is held up for me.
I warm to her instantly, inspired by her radiance and genuine love of finding each clients perfect hairstyle, innately working with absolute care and thoroughness to realise that end . She likes to do things gradually, building on the natural, rather than going for big changes straight away.
It’s been a tough couple of years with more people coming in with traumatised hair from quick fix home dye jobs, needing restoration.
We have long creative conversations, enlivened by the gallery like atmosphere, sharing images of possible looks. I point out actor Honour Byrne, in The Souvenir as I love her rockabilly fringe and queen like styling.
Anna has some gorgeous shots of warmer blonde hair colours and reminds me that blonde doesn’t always have to be an icy shade designed to radiate otherworldly translucent, Swedish luminosity, there is at least a galaxy of other beautiful blonde tones. I go for light beige blonde lights while she wins out with an idea of a pinkish, strawberry blonde, made up of very fine high and low lights.
The plan is for a glittering, natural effect to open and lift my already coppery tone and match my colouring. We are talking progression of future colour and almost academically, breaking down the many directions my new hair could go in, trying partings and end up going for a fluid cut with curtain bangs.
I am about to become her work in progress and I can’t wait to see the results already!
A venture to the bathroom, makes me smile as it has the best wallpaper and Diptyque, (that boutique French scent company famous for making scented candles the most sophisticated things on the planet), soap, moisturiser and room spray.
I’m lead to the basement, that is hard to describe as a basement as it is flooded with daylight, from a clever space above the basins and a maze of mirrors, some doors which have a strange. effect when you see them opened from the angle of a shampoo.
While I enjoy a divine head massage and hydrating treatment, a miniature sausage dog entertains, as does a young potential future hairdresser, who keeps combing her Barbies long tresses with a miniature comb.
The mother of them both is there having a deluxe treatment on her long dark hair, edged with elfin blonde.
I drift out onto Fulham Road a few hours later, with a cut and colour to die for, people are treating me super respectfully as I clearly now deserve.
Christel Barron-Hough, founder and creative director of STIL has imprinted her own renowned expertise, style instinct and Swedish heritage into the heart of STIL Chelsea, her second project in London after opening her Notting Hill salon in 2016.
Both salons specialise in colour, renowned for their huge expanse of delicious blonde shades and playful pastels as well as a deeper, moodier palettes.
The carefully hand-picked team of hugely talented, visionary stylists, offer high end cutting services, colour and treatments with an air of friendly ease.
Christel brings her following of devoted clients, as well as a new crowd coming to experience some soothing luxury and get a little Nordic beauty into their hair.
by Sara Kirkwood
STIL salon, Chelsea