It’s like a studio that houses some of the capital’s greatest artists. Think of it as a curated exhibition or art gallery — but instead of artworks for sale, it has some of the world’s best hair maestros and therapists offering their services. These are the sorts of things that are said about Gielly Green, a tip-top boutique salon cum one-stop beauty lounge in Marylebone, London. It has also garnered glowing reviews in magazines like Tatler and Vogue.
Gielly Green is in the golden triangle that encompasses (celebrity eatery) the Chiltern Firehouse, fashion designer Bella Freud’s hip shop and The Chiltern luxury development (where apartments sell for a cool £2 million per bedroom and David Bailey exhibits). Mayfair was once the “it” place. But now it’s clear that Mayfair is the dowager aunt, and Marylebone her happening niece.
Shai Greenberg (Gielly Green’s co-founder and a gifted hairdresser) opened the combined salon and spa with his friend and business partner Fred Gielly. That was several haircuts ago. But now the duo is, once again, set to offer something new. Not content with 3500 square feet of ground floor and souterrain, they’re now expanding heavenwards, taking over the upstairs of their building so that they can have more artists. And what else is new? ‘We’re bringing out six more styling products this year,’ says Shai.
Ah yes, the products. Last year Gielly Green launched a classy range of holistic hair and body treatments. Think luxury products free from parabens, synthetic fragrance, SLS and carcinogens. With Neem, Argan and Buckthorn oils plus minerals from the Dead Sea. There’s everything from 100 per cent Argan oil (to reduce wrinkles and soften the hair) to their Repair Mask, a wonder product for damaged hair (though it’s a bit heavy for mine). Plus a smooth hand and body wash with Sea Buckthorn and Neem oil scented with lemon and Muguet.
It’s time now for a quick look around the “gallery.” The space is decorated in browns, taupes and creams. There are super-comfy swivel chairs and recliners with squishy neck pillows to lie on when having a hair wash. There’s even a coffee bar downstairs. The art gallery look is completed with fresh orchids, and black and white artwork.
And now to the “artists,” a handpicked team of experts in almost every field of beauty. Fittingly, they have titles like “colour director”, “artistic colourist” and “artistic director.” They offer everything from Environ facials to waxing. And Brazilian straightening to spray tanning, hair extensions and wig styling.
Holly Warren delivers things like purity, energy and balance with her massage, Ila’s Kundalini and body scrub, crystal healing, and reiki in treatments for face and body. And nails? There’s Shreen Gayle — whose handiwork has appeared in Vogue in five different territories. (‘My trusty brush has stroked the nails of celebrity beauties like Keira Knightley to Kate Winslett, Sienna Miller, Claudia Schiffer,’ she says.) Brow-pro Shavata Singh offers lash extensions to eyebrow threading. Then there’s Joseph Roberts (hair philosophy: strong shapes); Lewis Dyer (known for his hair editorial work and European royalty assignments); Laurent Derame (renowned for the French art of Balayage). I could go on. And on. There’s a team of 35.
I’m booked with two of them. The first is Carl Dawson (erstwhile head colourist at Nicky Clarke), one of London’s leading hair artists. He’s pioneered two hair colour techniques: Mezzo Highlights and Acquarella. (Explaining these is like getting into the difference between oils and watercolours.) He could also be a male model. And his clients have included Kate Moss, Gwyneth and Jemima Khan.
He does my tint and high and low lights, taking a few years off my age in the process. Then comes an Olaplex treatment (the current hair treatment buzzword) which is brilliant for bleach-damaged hair. It’s more than a conditioner — ask devotee Kim Kardashian — because it rebuilds the damaged disulphide bonds in your hair that get broken during the chemical process. So how good is he? The truth is that he’s one of my two favourite colourists (the other is Daniel Galvin Junior at his eponymous salon; but that’s the subject for another article). I’ve followed Carl from salon to salon for over ten years — he’s that talented — and only found Gielly Green through him.
Afterwards I have a cut with artistic director, Pol Garcia. Chop talk is that Pol is pioneering a hair revolution. He gives what was once dubbed “the £1000 haircut” by the media, on account of another hairdresser who offered Pol-style cuts to Hollywood stars across the pond for a grand. Pol creates the same look for a snip of the price (£140). Which is why the likes of Pippa Milddleton, Bryan Ferry, Poppy Delavigne and Victoria Beckham have all had their tresses done by him.
Pol doesn’t cut in straight lines to give that boxy, static, hair-sprayed ‘80s and ‘90s look. He creates something that has movement, is fresh and follows the hair’s natural flow. I love how he does my hair. Little wonder that he won Tatler’s award for the best haircutter and has also been featured in Vogue to Vanity Fair.
After my makeover, I tour the exhibition again. I meet Otylia Roberts — legendary hot waxer to the stars, and famed for bringing the Brazilian wax to these shores. She does every sort of bikini wax under the sun, and many not under the sun. Think Hollywood, G-string, plus every other part of the body from forearms to back, chin and underarm. ‘We’re the only UK salon that does a full body hot wax,’ she explains. More than that, her wax is organic, made from pure beeswax and completely natural. Naomi Campbell, Kate Winslett and Kate Moss can testify to that. But I didn’t ask whether they’d had Brazilians.
If you want artists from the exhibition to travel to your home, they’re happy to arrange to come. Otherwise Gielly Green is open seven days a week. What’s not to like?
For further information, go to www.giellygreen.co.uk.
Caroline Phillips is an award-winning freelance journalist who contributes to publications from Sunday and daily newspapers to glossy magazines and various luxury websites. To see more of her work, go to www.carolinephillips.net.