Blow-dries and highlights are not top of my list when exploring a new city: there are too many restaurants to eat in, monuments to gaze at and shopping to tempt. And yet on a recent trip to Geneva, I found myself drawn to a striking salon window with a touching graphic poem by the Scottish artist Robert Montgomery. For although Le Bal des Créateurs pitches itself as a hair salon, there’s so much more to this creative hub.
More of a concept store than simple salon, Le Bal also features a small bar, shop, library, art gallery and event space. As owner Christophe Durand explains, “Le Bal des Créateurs is a place that fits with the evolution of society, several needs at the same time. People come to discover, to share, to meet, to test new things, to relax.”
This eclectic juxtaposition is plain to see. The bar serving wine, beer and Taiwanese bubble tea (CHF7) stands opposite a wall of indie magazines, while Les Lumières du Temps candles (CHF17) sit neatly in rows above delicate jewellery made from the cogs and wheels of old watches designed by Laure Gaury, and long communal tables are surrounded by photographs of underwater figures by Parisian photographer Cyril Lagel.
All this can be swept to one side, however, for the regular pop-up events, fashion shows, DJ sets, short-film screenings and performances of every kind. Called Ouverture, these are “a window for upcoming creatives in art, photography, media, DJ-ing or fashion to be seen by a wider audience”, explains Durand.
However, if a simple cut and blow-dry is all you desire, then Le Bal doesn’t disappoint. Durand, an internationally acclaimed make-up artist and hairstylist who has worked on ad campaigns for Chanel and Bourjois, and fashion shows with the likes of Versace and Kenzo, has gathered a team of young, talented stylists from France, Lithuania, Spain and the UK. There’s an emphasis on relaxation – treatments are never rushed and time slots for haircuts (from CHF120) are an hour and a half – and stylists are encouraged to specialise and keep up with current trends. “We try to combine a classical touch with modernity,” says Durand. “Each person in the team has a strength: hair smoothing, extensions, natural colouring, highlights, cutting, make-up… that helps each of us to maintain the highest quality of service.”
In business for just two years, the team already has big plans for the future, hoping to take Le Bal des Créateurs to London or Istanbul. Judging by their passion and fierce creativity, I’m sure they’ll make the cut.