If you can judge a hair and beauty salon by its opening evening, then ‘The Grand Opening’ of Charlotte Cave Store and Services in Balham has a bright future ahead.
Drawing inspiration from Wes Anderson’s acclaimed comedy film ‘Grand Budapest Hotel’, I was greeted by concierge Gustave upon entering, whilst the lobby boy Zero handed me a glass of champagne and ushered me in further.
The salon was already buzzing, packed with a beauty and fashion crowd but nothing was going to stop me investigating the interior of this new pamper haunt, so I pushed past the models, suddenly noticing a huge feature silver birch tree on my right, which connects the ground and basement floors, its branches forming a canopy over the staircase.
A few strides further in and I entered the open-space Hair Room area, featuring giant mirrors on both sides of the walls, classic swivel chairs and vases with the tall allium flowers on the long dressing table, fixed to the wall on my left.
It’s not just a table though. It is a 70’s retro style radio, the length of the whole dressing table itself. And it works! I sure have never seen anything like it in a hair salon before. Sadly, I didn’t have any mix tape to pop into its slot at the time.
At the exact opposite end from the entrance of this ground floor open space was…the bar. What? Indeed, the bar with bottle-juggling bartenders with cooler hair than mine, constantly filling up empty glasses for the guests.
I decided it was time to check out the mysterious basement area of Charlotte Cave’s store, via the bright orange staircase. However, before I managed to get downstairs, one of Charlotte Cave’s makeup artist staff in the crowd, armed with Ellis Faas Creamy Lips ‘lipstick pens’ skillfully turned my purple-coloured lips into ‘blood red’ in seconds. I do like impromptu makeovers.
The dimly-lit basement area was a nice contrast to the bright upstairs. On the left was the coolest mini-cinema space, with comfy leather armchairs and a bright-coloured sofa, where you can have a pedicure done. No more staring at the wall or reading a really old edition of a weekly gossip magazine. Hugged by the fold-out armchair, you can gaze at a good-looking actor on the cinema screen whilst your toe nails are getting transformed prior to the beach holiday.
Turning right from the staircase, through a corridor with slim tree trunks lining one side of the wall, you’ll discover a calm, fully soundproofed spa room, stocked with Sisley products. Away from the noise, hustle and bustle, you can indulge yourself in all the classic and luxury beauty treatments.
Later in the same week, I returned to the venue for a blow-dry and a chance to get a second look around minus the crowd. The light and airy open space ground floor, lined with shelves full of retail beauty products and the combination of wood, white gloss and the bright colours have a pleasant effect on anyone weary from work and looking to unwind.
The drinking bar that I found on the night of the opening at the far end of the ground floor was replaced by the hair wash basins, completing the stylish Hair Room look and decor. Next to the hair room’s cool ‘radio dressing table’, I noticed a dedicated make-up and manicure spot that I had overlooked at the opening night.
A celebrity hair and make-up artist who worked with everyone from Lady Gaga to Coldplay, Charlotte Cave, has thought of everything it seems. Her late night opening hours store and salon stocks only upper class of beauty brands like Oribe, Shu Uemura, Sisley, Smith & Cult, OWay, Trilogy, Shiseido, Zelens, Living Proof, Marili children’s range, BioEffects, Ellis Faas, Cloud Nine, Feather & Coal, Velecta Paramount, Essie and giftware by Jonathan Adler.
The ‘CC’ services offer everything to get you Red Carpet ready under one roof. It also has a fully licensed bar in the basement, available to hire for birthdays and parties.
Once a month Charlotte supports local parents with a complimentary ‘Big scream with fringe benefits’ evening, offering kids their favourite films, a fruit smoothie and popcorn. An Ofsted nanny will be on hand so mums and dads can have some time to enjoy the beauty and grooming services, while their kids are safe and having fun.
Forget what you know about a traditional hair or beauty salon. The Charlotte Cave Store is more than just a beauty salon and shop. It’s an experience, an escape, it’s a place to slow down your pulse and get pampered silly. You’ll have a hard time leaving.