Riding the vintage elevator at 40 West 29th Street to the fourth floor feels a bit like a scene from Fight Club. The building, like so many Pre War commercial buildings in Manhattan, has a rough charm. That is, of course, until the large iron door of Suite 406 opens, revealing a modern, sophisticated salon space. The walls are lined with artwork, which I am told changes regularly, as it is sometimes sold to clients or visitors. It is the kind of fluid exchange that suits an ever-evolving artist collective: MAINENTRANCE is a source for discovery on every level. There is an open color dispensary, a sunlit lounge outfitted with a smart black leather chaise, sleek tables decorated with books of science, photography, fashion and yes, Sextrology. The collaborative salon and studio is aptly named MAINENTRANCE. Founders Berry Bachen and DJ Riggs saw a niche yet to be filled in the salon and beauty industry, “We bridge the gap between session work and salon life,” explains DJ. In a way, MAINENTRANCE has become a threshold of trend for salon professionals, opening up new techniques and concepts and making the material palatable for in-salon work.
So how does one select which trends to highlight in a field so oversaturated with content? How does one identify what will be exciting for salon professionals and enticing to clients? They navigate it expertly with what they call, “The argument between pop and real trend”. Nonetheless, one cannot rely on instinct alone, recognizing what is en vogue requires experience, “You have to know what you are looking for,” insists Berry. She attributes this savvy to, “ . . . our combined experience in what we’ve encountered in the industry”.
The MAINENTRANCE founders immerse themselves deeply in every aspect of their process. Creating their brand has been a labor of love from the beginning (I remember before the opening when Berry patiently waited months for the sleek hydraulic chairs to arrive from Italy). Recently, Berry and DJ completed a video shoot in which they harmoniously influenced each component and filled me in on a particularly revealing moment for one model, “We made the music. We made the pasties too”.
Before founding MAINENTRANCE, Berry and DJ were both key educators and Creative Directors for TIGI Colour and TIGI Style respectively. Berry was particularly instrumental in the development of shades and performance of product within the TIGI Colour line, as well as the creation of the curriculum and education materials. DJ’s style work has been featured in numerous fashion and beauty publications such as W, French Vogue, Nylon and Women’s Wear Daily. He is also the founder of EDIA Cosmetics for Hair: https://www.facebook.com/discoverEDIA. During Paris Fashion Week and the Fall/Winter season 2013, they worked over 30 shows alongside Eugene Souleiman, styling and coloring hair for the designers like Stella McCartney and Issey Miyake. “We traveled with $40 grand worth of hair,” DJ laughs and looks to Berry who smiles expressively. This year will mark their third NAHA nomination. There is no denying: this duo is magnificently dynamic.