Tucked down a mini alley off the main drag of Abbot Kinney, The Harlot Salon bourgeons tresses into sexy works of art through the fingers, hands and artistic minds of owner, Marylle Koken, and her incredible team of hair experts. The setting is evidence alone for what you’ll experience and walk away with. The burlesque inspired salon is designed to a tee and is in a constant state of a work in progress; a feather plum dawns the top of Marylle’s hair station mirror, left lovingly from an in-house party, silky panties mysteriously slipped perfectly around a corner edge of the resting room mirror stay on as a bit of eye candy, magazine pullouts of pin-up ladies tile a styling station wall, a beautifully designed tassel and rope drape across a doorway that opens up to the courtyard, complete with a robust black crystal chandelier. One can take in the whole gestalt of the salon and indulge in the total pleasure of surprise in the endless artful details. It’s no wonder there is an authentic pulse of creative inspiration at The Harlot Salon. And it’s no wonder that after crafting and launching her studio in April of 2011, it only took a mere 6 months for it to be deemed as the “Best New Hair Salon on the Westside” by In Style Magazine. Props for Marylle’s genius has also graced the pages of Modern Salon, Salon Daily, American Salon Magazine, among a host of other publications. She’s a rockstar Sebastian International Artistic Force with an enticing throng of star clientele. She’s nothing but fabulous! And, her salon is sweet and edgy all at the same time. It is the “it” place “where upscale meets naughty.” And, I am beyond elated that I found Marylle and her hot, hot spot.
I spent an evening and a day at The Harlot Salon, experiencing the expertise of Marylle and her artisans. Every minute was amazing. From tiny bubbles, chocolate cupcakes, awesome trance inducing head and neck massages, to tongue in cheek humor that made me a bit giddy, to great conversations about the science behind their product lines and the limitless possibilities in life and the power of taking risks, my time at The Harlot Salon was blessed with a cacophony of sensations and thoughts. And then, there was the hair. When under the care of Marylle it became abundantly clear that the only way to go is to let Marylle unleash her creative vision. As the adorable receptionist (and masseuse like no other), Callie Morelli, exclaimed, “Marylle is a sculptor of hair.” Sometimes, I admit, I am not such a great patient. I went in ready to chop all of my hair off, and then I seized up at some point during the process. Marylle stopped, put me at ease with her beautiful smile and infectious humor, hung out with me under the drier, and when she sensed that I was ready to indulge again she asked if she could go back into it. And then she zeroed in on my curls, got into her zone, and created something beautiful. My curls became soft to the touch; forming into perfect spirals around her fingers, and opening up into soft waves under her thoughtful styling caresses. “You have to make love to your hair,” she joked. But, I think she was actually serious. It’s an incredibly loving touch that she has. Every curl mattered to her. And as she entered into her creative flow, I felt a sweet sensation of utter calm and excitement. Marylle’s amazing.
My color experience involved a team of people under the direction of Wella’s “Best Mentor” award-winner. I was in sensational hands once again with master stylist, Oliver Shortall, and jr. stylist, Ernesto Garcia, who started as Marylle’s mentee and is certainly coming into his own as “one of the most promising talents in the industry.” A graduate of Paul Mitchell school and a finalist in the Sebastian Professional What’s Next competition, Ernesto embodies the kind of inspired talent Marylle brings into her salon to study under her wing. A PreMed student before finding his passion for working with hair, Oliver is totally and completely motived by the art and science behind color and styling tools, as well as educating stylists across the nation as a member of the Sebastian Artistic Team. He talked to me with excitement and detail about the new translucent Wella color, free of copper, that adheres to hair in a magical manner. It was eye-opening to learn how the science behind hair products has come such a long way, baby, especially as of late through Wella’s breakthroughs achievements. My color is now soft, natural, and catches the light like tresses dawned by youth.
There is no doubt. I have become an instant loyal fan of The Harlot Salon. The atmosphere, the abundance of personality, the care in which each and every stylist takes in their craft, in learning and teaching, in attending to each client’s needs and desires, and the stylists’ incredible skill, knowledge and artistry has got me sold – not to mention that the salon is located on the cutest, hippest street in LA. Book your appointment STAT. You will never entertain the thought of going anywhere else, ever.
1641 Abbot Kinney Blvd.
Venice, CA 90291