ON THE CUTTING EDGE OF BEAUTY
A Conversation with Celebrity Hairstylist LOUISE O’CONNOR
By Eden Herbstman
Louise O’Connor’s bi-level salon and spa, OC 61, reflects the work ethic, class, and experience of Louise and her staff. No stranger to fashion magazines such as Allure, Elle, and InStyle, these publications trust Louise’s views on trends and look to her for advice regarding all things hair. A backstage veteran for runway shows, Louise has cultivated looks for notable labels such as Badgley Mishcka, Versace, Gucci, and J. Mendel, and her celebrity and model clients, including Beyonce, Eliza Dushku, Carmen Electra, Coco Rocha, and Jessica Simpson, just a few name drops from the extensive list. Experience and clientele aside, a combination of maternal instinct, charm, energy, and down-to-earth personality allows her clients to put their absolute trust and confidence in her looks. Louise’s talent is unquestionable, but what sets her apart is a deep understanding–and eye–for all things beauty. Her long-standing philosophy has been to pay individual attention to each client, to accentuate inner beauty, and personal style.
Eden Herbstman: When do you feel the most beautiful?
Louise O’Connor: When I’m living right; when I’m on the right diet, and wearing the clothes I love. When I go shopping and I put on “that” outfit for the first time, or after a good night sleep. When I first get my hair and my color done, I feel fresh. And after a facial.
EH: A lot of woman feel that their hair is the finishing touch to an outfit, and makes them feel the most beautiful and confident. How do you feel about the fact that women trust you with this important piece to their look?
LC: With every woman that walks in the door, I give her that once-over to see the style she sports, whether it is a sexy look or a little bit more downtown. I take into consideration their personality, and the way they dress. But I believe all women like to feel sexy, and have sexy hair, so I gear more towards the glamour side.
EH: But you really take into account their personality and inner self when shaping their hair and the outer look?
LC: Yes, because whether the hair is down, slicked back in a chignon, or a short pixie hair cut, it depends on that person.
EH: When you are cutting somebody’s hair, how much of their natural features do you take into account to accentuate their face?
LC: I see beauty in everybody. It’s not because she has high cheek bones or big lips. I take into account all of their features; their personality, the texture of their hair, and when the client goes home they are able to do their own hair. If you blow dry it, it looks groomed, but if you don’t, it looks great also. Everybody should feel beautiful.
EH: How adventurous are you with your personal style?
LC: One day I may be in a slit skirt with thigh high heels, I like to go into every category. On the weekends I love slouching around in jeans, in Uggs, or sweats. When going out to dinner, I like to dress sexy. At work, I can dress from jeans to trousers, high heels to flats. I like it all.
EH: Are you more adventurous with your hair or clothing?
LC: I think my clothing. When I first started in this industry, I was very adventurous with my hair. I had it short to long, black to blonde, and I think that I’ve gone through every spectrum. When I’m working I like to have my hair back off my face so it’s not about me, it is about the client. I don’t want to have to constantly mess with my own hair to make it look good. I like to feel clean.
EH: Do you remember a particular moment that you felt absolutely beautiful and confident?
LC: Yes, when I had my daughter!
EH: Even through all the mess and stress?
LC: Yes! I felt fulfilled, and I felt beautiful.
Louise O’Connor is a hairstylist, and owner of OC 61 Salon and Spa in NYC. OC 61 is located at 33 East 61st street, 3rd Floor, New York, NY 10021.
Written by Eden Herbstman
Edited by Meaghan Coffey
Photography by Eden Herbstman
Design by Clementine Jang
Louise O’Connor, New York City, September 20th 2011, Photography by Eden Herbstman