The perfect haircut – it’s the holy grail. But after a tortuous, near-Arthurian quest, I do believe I’ve found it in the hands of Mark Francome Painter, one of the stylists at Salako (pictured), an unassuming, edgy and very unhairdresser-like salon near Baker Street in London’s Marylebone.
If it weren’t for the word “HAIR” painted in giant blue letters on the front window, you’d walk past thinking Salako was perhaps a trendy gallery or creative space: pinstripe armchairs sit before mirrors and tables piled with art and photography books; downstairs, the wash basins stand beside more midcentury furniture.
Relaxed, welcoming and intimate, Salako is as far removed from the intimidating, chichi blowdry bustle of traditional West End salons as you can imagine. That was exactly what Jimo Salako wanted when he opened his arty salon last April after 20 years as a session stylist. Working on catwalk shows, music videos and fashion shoots around the world, hehadpicked upa core of private clients whose hair he used to cut in the front room of his flat, an ambience recreated at Salako (cuts from £50).
Mark Francome Painter, whom I met at a post-How To Spend It fashion shoot get-together, is one of Salako’s team. Like Salako, his style is subtle, seemingly effortless, full of movement and definitely individual, neither formulaic nor trend-led: this is artisanal hair-craftsmanship. My new cut has just the right touch of “nowness” without trying too hard (or at least that’s what I think), and best of all it passes the acid test – it’s easy to manage myself.