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Liberty Mutual


Just a year after opening his much-discussed Atelier salon in Notting Hill, London’s color king, Josh Wood (an Elle Macpherson, January Jones, and Guido Palau favorite), is preparing a double-pronged attack on the beauty world this fall. For the likes of Meisel and Mario, his Atelier Agency will open to share the hairdressing talent he’s rounded up from around the globe; and for us mere mortals? A second salon, which will debut on October 15 in Liberty of London. Wood will be heading up a dream team of color, cut, and styling stars at the famed department store’s first hair outpost, bringing editorial-caliber services to the masses, starting at just £30 (about $48). Here, Wood talks to about simulating the proper light for viewing a fresh dye job, finding the perfect formula for making “the magic happen,” and why customer service—the kind that calls in fresh-pressed juices while you wait for a double process color to take—is far from dead.

Why Liberty for your second Atelier space?
I love the juxtaposition between the deep history of the building and the contemporary brands within. I feel a real synergy with the way they support up-and-coming talent; it’s vital to keep the creative process and standards at the top of the game.

What was the design concept for the new space?
Working with [architect] Yen Yen was a dream. We both envisioned an interior that is comfortable yet totally groundbreaking, from a salon perspective. We’ve also created a brand-new lighting concept with our Illumina Light Bar: Natural daylight is blended with blue, green, and red hues to create temperature-controlled, white light, for the best possible view of our coloring work. It’ll have all the same special touches as the Notting Hill venue, too—unique artwork; personal iPod playlists; a concierge who knows exactly how you like your soy, decaf, one-shot latte. It’s all part of the experience.

Sounds nice. I know Jivamukti yoga and nutritional eating play a big part in your daily life. Was it important to you to bring that well-being ethos into this new venture?
Everything is centered on well-being, from the services we offer to the food we serve. Beauty needs to look after the inside to give the outside the best possible chance of achieving the style you want, so I’m working with a chef to create a healthy menu that will be available from the Deli Larder—a self-select cooler offering wholesome food and fresh-pressed drinks created with nutritional values in mind.

How will you balance your stable of styling stars in the salon and on shoots—and what compelled you to bring the two worlds together?
Scheduling is the name of the game! I think session and show stylists are challenged every day on delivering a style that is “just right” in the same way salon stylists have to deliver on the promise of amazing hair. It’s working at the cutting edge of hairdressing that influences the way we operate in the salon. Getting the best of both creative disciplines—that’s when the magic happens.

Atelier at Liberty of London, Great Marlborough St., London; appointments available from September, 44-203-393-0977.

Photo: Courtesy of Liberty of London