You've probably passed the Parlour on your wanderings through Chiswick. It's on one of my favourite streets – Devonshire Road. A beautiful, beautiful street full of independent shop and trades.
But if you have passed the Parlour, you'd be forgiven for thinking it was a dainty vintage teashop. It's the vintage hairdryers, in gorgeous pastel colours, hanging in the window which give a hint to its true nature.
For the Parlour is a boutqiue blow-dry and braid bar. And when I had a chance to try it out I leapt at the chance. The whole concept of going somewhere just to get your hair blow dried or put up in a pretty braid was new to me. (Although you can also get your hair dyed, highlighted and trimmed there).
“It's more common in America,” xxx the stylist explained, smiling at me in the mirror. “Jacqueline, the owner, came over here and realised there wasn't anything like it. And here we are.”
The salon is an impeccable homage to taste and delicacy. The style books, from which you can choose your braid, look like coffee table books. And upon arrival I was even offered a slice of home made cake. I had a (gorgeous) cappucinno which came in a beautiful vintage cup. There was a laid back feel – it really was like dropping in at friends for tea. This is girlie vintage heaven personifed.
So do people really come to a salon to get a braid? Well in the time I was there three separate people came in JUST to get a braid done. Including one woman who rushed in, having arrived at Heathrow, googled braid bars and got a taxi to drop her off. I had instant envy. For a good 20 minutes I fantasised about being the kind of person who arrives at airports and dashes into black cabs in need of emergency hair braids. She looked stunning when she left – with a beautiful up do that managed to look highly complex and yet carefree at the same time.
“People come in with their friends to get their hair put up before a night out,” Victoria explains as she trims expertly away at my ends. “It's a great present for someone too – you can have a few cocktails, get a blow dry or a braid – have some fun.”
Sighing, I realised that it was a long time since I had an event to go to that required an up do. But you don't have to be going on the town to have a treat night in the salon.
“We get mothers and daughters coming in,” Victoria continues. “Often mum gets a blow dry and the daughter gets an upbraid. They both have a great girlie time.” Luckily I was cheered up from my case of life envy, by the offer of a Bellini. It was still only 3pm and I felt guilty – but had my arm so twisted by the smiling stylist that I said yes. I order any type of cocktail – and this was deliciously made.
The Parlour is definitely our local treat – but it's got London-wide acclaim from mags such as Time Out.
I had a lovely hairwash, trim (with immaculate fringe), foils re done and my roots. (It's a fact that pains me that I need to get my roots done. I started going grey in my 20s and have no intention of going grey gracefully or even disgracefully). It looked gorgeous. Particularly with the caramel toner that my colourist, Danielle, put on my highlights. Like you'd expect, my fringe was perfect… and the blow dry impecabble. (Stylist – Victoria).
By the time I left I felt like I'd spent the afternoon with good friends, watching a steady but gentle stream of clients drop by. I had a warm fuzzy feeling (not just the Bellini I swear) as I left and walked down Chiswick High Road. Peeking at myself in every shop window until I got home…
Who I saw
Cut and blowdry – Victoria
Colour – Danielle
What you need to know
Main price list: http://www.theparlourlondon.com/menu/
There's some great deals available. Including:
Trendy Tuesday – Blow dry for you and updo for a friend or daughter. £20 (usually £50)