Federico Calce appreciates a good hair day. So much, actually, that the Milan-born, New York-based beauty expert’s life passion is to see clients leaving his salon with a head full of great hair and a smile on their face.
Upon my first visit to Federico Salon on 57 West 58th Street, I enter the building on the second floor, to find an all-white everything, open space—complete with mirrors, chairs, and all the salon necessities, but none of the distractions. “White is my favorite color,” Federico says. “We did a lot of research and created a very clean, neat, white space, where you can look to the mirror and really see the silhouette of the hair.”
The salon is dedicated solely to beautifying tresses, and marks the second location opened by Calce. His other salon also includes a spa, and is housed at The Benjamin Hotel on 125 East 50th Street. After having my hair washed, I took a seat at a beauty station on the other side of the room, where Federico started the blow-drying process, before cutting and styling. His amiable team insisted I try their signature cappuccino drink, only offered at the salon. In between trims, I ask Federico how he got his start in hair. “It’s in my family business. My brother has a salon in Italy—I started to go there when I was twelve years old, and loved it. He trained me for many years, then I decided to come to New York.” he says. After working as the Artistic Director of the salon at Bergdorf Goodman for six years, Calce opened up his own establishment.
When the cappuccino arrives, I take a sip to find that it is delicious. A little foam and a whole lot of cocoa aroma—After asking if it’s made with a special ingredient from Italy, I’m told, “it’s a secret!”
Federico’s Salon offers a bevy of hair services, including their signature Mediterranean Braid. “Oh, the things you come up with when you play with the hair! It was around ten years ago, we just started doing fishtails and braids, and with a little imagination and vision, we created something completely different,” Federico says. “It’s a little more fantasy. What surrounds you gives you inspiration.”
And just like the city that never sleeps, Federico created his 24-Hour Beauty Service over a decade ago, being the first salon to send beauticians at any hour, seven days a week, to any room or hotel in Manhattan.
As our session wraps up, my hair is finished and it’s softer, shorter, and a change from how it has always been. Again I wonder, what’s the secret? Perhaps you’ll only find out upon a visit to Federico’s.
Photos courtesy of Federico Salon.