Meet Pierre & Michel
“I became a hairdresser because I like women and enjoy creating beauty,” Pierre Ouaknine, co-owner of THE PIERRE MICHEL SALON, grins. “Also, it seemed a good way to learn English.” One of a dozen children, the Ouaknines emigrated from Casablanca to New York City in the mid-Sixties. Pierre never envisioned then, at the age of 15, that he and his childhood friend Michel Obadia would wind up working at the same popular New York hair salon ten years later; and that in 1967, the pair would found one of the hottest, most enduring salons in America. But that’s jumping ahead…
Once in the U.S., Pierre found employment with the salon that ultimately joined forces with the house of Revlon. Thanks to an introduction to the Creative Director of ad giant DDB Worldwide, the young stylist found himself doing sittings for fashion magazines as well as television commercials and print ads.
“The top models kept requesting me,” he says simply. Pierre quickly became part of an elite group of hairdressers whose work styling models, magazine editors, celebrities and advertising campaigns was widely publicized. Beyond this, he worked closely with the incomparable ballet master George Balanchine, as head stylist for the company and its feature films, notable, A Midsummer Night’s Dream, starring principal dancers Suzanne Farrell and Patricia McBride.
“Talent attracts talent,” Pierre continues. “The beauty business is a lot like show business. Every day is a new performance. Our clientele – the ‘audience’ – expects a brilliant performance. That’s, in part, why we continually re-invent ourselves. We want to make sure that THE PIERRE MICHEL SALON provides the very best beauty services available anywhere.”
His partner, master cutter and stylist Michel Obadia, agrees.
“Like Pierre, I constantly look for ways to recycle myself mentally, emotionally, professionally, artistically and technically. Our salon reflects this. Hairdressing is a portable craft. You can pack your comb and scissors and perform your art anywhere in the world. That flexibility is, in part, what keeps our profession so dynamic. It was also one of the many reasons I decided to become a stylist.”
At 17, Michel left his native Morocco and moved to Paris. His talent was unmistakable. He possessed an exceptional degree of skill and a fashion-forward eye. For Michel, every cut was a “custom cut.” He mastered them all. Predictably, the young stylist was embraced by some of the biggest salons in Paris. Ultimately, however, Manhattan beckoned.
“You could say I was well groomed,” he comments, blue eyes twinkling.
Pierre and Michel were destined for triumph. After seven years of success in their first location on West 57th Street, a compelling offer from Donald Trump persuaded them to move across the street to the newly renovated Trump Towers. There,PIERRE MICHEL established itself as one of the country’s first high-tech salons, offering innovative and highly advanced beauty services, including exclusive color correction and hair repair techniques. Over the ensuing ten years, the salon’s premier staff continued to deliver breathtaking looks for the glitterati and New Yorkers in the know.
About Our Salon
“The single most important secret to our longevity is the ability to re-invent ourselves. Fashion and trends move, we sometimes anticipate them, we always move with them” says Michel Obadia, one half of the dynamic partnership behind Manhattan’s exclusive PIERRE MICHEL salon. After 20 years, the salon opened by childhood friends Pierre Ouaknine and Michel Obadia continues to be a magnet for celebrities, socialites, fashionistas and trend-setters. From the early days when Michel teased a beehive on young Marisa Bereson, to the very modern coloring techniques used on model-of-the-moment Devon Aoki, the salon has up-dated itself, relocated and expanded over the years to its current 11,000 square foot location on 57th Street and Lexington Avenue.
A highly trained staff of 75 stylists, colorists, estheticians, makeup artists and manicurists ensure excellence in service by employing state-of-the-art techniques combined with personalized attention to make every visit a rewarding and relaxing experience.