The Salon of the Future Has Landed in L.A., Starring Ted Gibson and Jason Backe
These A-list celebrity hairstylists have shifted into high-tech gear, à la Star Trek, with the first-of-its-kind, state-of-the-art “smart salon.”
It was an ambitious project to realize, but, because they are forward-thinking creatives who know how to initiate exciting moments and happenings, two words come to mind: “mission accomplished.” Ted Gibson is one of the top hairstylists in the country, known for his visionary re-creating of personas, and his loyal clients include Anne Hathaway, Priyanka Chopra, Angelina Jolie, and, most recently, the Golden Globe best-actress winner Sandra Oh. Along with his business partner–husband, Jason Backe, a cherished hair colorist to the stars and then some, they have conceptualized and completed the ultimate salon for their new location, on South La Brea, in Los Angeles.
When you first enter STARRING by Ted Gibson, you might think you’ve entered a luxury salon on Mars, but this 1,100-square-foot space was designed by globally renowned visionary Francisco Gonzalez Pulido, of the Chicago-based architecture firm FGP Atelier. Think “salon of the future,” wherein every aspect is controlled by Amazon technology. It features five individual, semi-private pods, known as “clouds,” in place of traditional stylist stations and chairs. Each billowing cloud offers different ambient lighting options, such as Everyday Sunshine, Moonlight, and Indoors, for viewing hair color and styles in various light and tonal settings. How cool does that sound? Very. “STARRING is the culmination of our creative vision to provide consumers with a forward-thinking, multi-dimensional, smart-salon concept; premium product line; and unprecedented luxury experience all in one,” Gibson explains. Adds Backe, “We’re excited to finally re-invent the largely outdated hair and salon industry and put forth a new, disruptive way of thinking.”
Every cloud features an Amazon Fire H.D. 10 tablet, with Alexa carrying out commands, for a personalized experience. But it doesn’t stop there. The entire salon operates on a cashless system, with interactive window displays offering luxury products hand-selected by Gibson and Backe. Customers merely scan SmileCodes, using the Amazon app on their own mobile devices, and items are shipped directly to them. Even passersby on La Brea can shop these windows from their phones, too, without ever needing to step into the salon! And the partners’ latest creation, Shooting Star Texture Meringue, will no doubt be featured front and center. Joining the STARRING by Ted Gibson premium hair-care line, the meringue was developed by Gibson and Backe to offer versatile use, applicable to both wet and dry hair. On dry hair, it creates texture and body and shines with a matte-sheen finish for that effortlessly “lived in” look, and on wet hair, it enables a beautiful blow-dry with heat protection. And to top it off, the product offers delicate fragrance notes of fig and amber, followed by notes of lush coriander and vanilla at heart, and is then rounded out with creamy coconut and warm woody scents at the base—created with their high-profile clientele’s feedback and approval.
This is all so major that a few other words come to mind: “Beam me up, Scottie!”