In every small town across America, there’s at least one salon that raises the bar for everyone else. For St. Petersburg, FL, it’s VLVT Salon.
Good news spreads like wildfire: When Albie Mulcahy called it a day after 10 years in New York City with John Sahag and moved to St. Petersburg, FL, it wasn’t long before he found himself waking up to a house full of women all clamoring for haircuts. “I had never seen anything like it,” recalls Mulcahy. “So I decided to open a small little studio, and all the work I was doing was Sahag-inspired dry-cutting. Nobody in Florida was doing anything like that. It was Madison Avenue hairdressing in simple St. Pete.”
His small little studio grew organically into VLVT Salon located in downtown St. Petersburg. Opened in 2008, the 1,300-square-foot salon has 10 stations, nine stylists—who, of course, are trained in the Sahag dry-cutting method for which Mulcahy has become known—and one in-house makeup artist. “After I opened my salon, I realized that over half of my clients were New Yorkers,” he says. “The word just got out because I could speak their language.”
The salon interior gives off a New York vibe as well. “I bought old chairs and had them reupholstered in shiny blue sparkly stuff, like from the ’60s,” says Mulcahy. “It’s also a little bit of Ikea and all the walls are adorned with local artists’ work. It’s kind of like a salon/art gallery that you would find in the East Village of New York.”
And in further keeping the New York spirit alive, Mulcahy and his partner Dwight Miller run VLVT Academies, the salon’s educational program that includes independent nonproduct-related and signature dry-cutting classes, a legacy that Mulcahy can pass on to a new generation of hairdressers perpetuating an elevated level of the craft as well as the Sahag memory.✂ —Maureen Sheen
Photography: GARY KAPLAN (ALBIE MULCAHY); GALEN BUROW (VLVT SALON)