The Paris salon behind Deneuve’s blonde, reborn
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“There are no ugly women, just women who look drab,” Maria and Rosy Carita once said glibly. In 1945, the two hairdresser sisters launched their beauty brand Carita, marketing themselves as architects of “metamorphosis” and bringing indulgence back to Paris during the postwar period by opening a maison on the Rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré in 1952. Royalty and movie stars alike flocked to the address for a head-to-toe beauty service – the Duchess of Windsor even had a private salon. Their most famous legacies? Jean Seberg’s boy cut for Joan of Arc, that nuanced “Deneuve” blonde, and Françoise Hardy’s fringe.
“These are mythical founders,” says Carita’s global brand president Elisabeth Sandager, who has been charged with the revival of Carita, which was acquired by L’Oréal in 2014. In addition to overhauling the visual identity and releasing 19 new formulas, Sandager has prioritised the resurrection of the Faubourg beauty temple. “It’s where it all started, and while this sense of place is new for L’Oréal, I insisted,” she says. Overall, the investment positions Carita at the apex of L’Oréal’s luxury skincare.
The new Carita “maison” opened its doors in September following a two-year-long revamp by Rev/Studio’s Cristiano Benzoni and Sophie Thuillier. The design centres around a dramatic colonnade at the store entrance that funnels through to a bright-white atrium revealing a 1,800sq m, six-storey beauty hub. On the ground floor, the product is surprisingly sparse and there are spacious salons fitted out with Pierre Paulin sofas. Upstairs, 11 beauty suites have a treatment menu that reflects the skincare protocol established by the sisters.
“They invented a three-step process but also beauty tech, and a choreographed facial massage,” says Sandager. L’Oréal is betting on microcurrent technology as its tool du jour and has sourced a gadget called the Promorphose RF for the brand.
On the second floor, there is a café, and an 85sq m hair salon presided over by the French hairstylist John Nollet, a superstar in the tradition of the founders who tends to the tresses of Vanessa Paradis and Monica Bellucci. For such A-listers, the third floor holds a private apartment with living room, dining room, hairdressing suite and double treatment salon. “You can spend the day here, or longer if you want,” says Sandager.