The Perfect Mix

Manhattan’s Bristle + Crème fuses elements of beauty, art and fashion.

Bristle + Crème, located on Manhattan’s East Side in the Kips Bay neighborhood, is a mixed-use space that offers clients a nontraditional salon experience. In addition to hair services, which serve as the company’s foundation, clients can also enjoy skincare services and after-hours cultural events such as art exhibits, music concerts and fashion trunk shows. The salon also acts as a studio space for photographers and designers. “Bristle + Crème is an evolving lifestyle company,” says owner Kim Vu. “Guests are treated like those at a members-only club. We’ve thrown out the traditional salon front-desk model. Instead, a host greets guests and engages with them throughout their service to provide a comfortable experience.”

The 1,400-square-foot bi-level salon, which opened this past September, boasts a loft-style layout consisting of a full-service hair salon, boutique beauty spa and an artisanal espresso bar. Vu, who is also a fine-jewelry designer and has a consulting background focusing on strategy execution for banks, provided the overall creative direction for the salon’s design. Natalie Shook and Steve Lewis—who designed New York City’s Butter restaurant—separately worked on the space’s aesthetic elements. Bristle + Crème features a calm and relaxing energy with muted colors throughout, 20-foot-high ceilings on the first floor, and large windows that provide ample natural light. An assortment of greenery adds warmth and dimension to the high, white wall space. Sleek coffee tables line the windows, a large table sits in the center of the salon, and multi-tonal wood carpentry, soft lighting and dark metal accents create an inviting and lavish ambiance similar to a hotel lounge. “The space was designed to be beautiful, provide a communal feel, and inspire a creative consciousness among guests and staff members,” says Vu. “Our high-ceiling beautifully mixes Brooklyn aesthetics with Parisian influences through bespoke designs.”


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The salon’s diverse clientele, which consists of young creatives and professionals, can choose from a wide range of hair services such as color, highlights, lowlights, balayage, haircuts, blowouts, styling, and keratin and conditioning treatments. Beauty and skincare treatments like electrolysis, waxing, lash extensions, microdermabrasion and facials are also available. The salon plans to launch B+C Men to enrich the Bristle + Crème male experience. Says Vu, “It will combine classic barbershop time-honored traditions with the hospitality of a luxury hotel.” —Nicole Altavilla

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Above: Bristle + Crème’s loft-style layout provides the perfect atmosphere for clients to receive salon services by day and attend cultural events by night.