The purple decor in Jose Eber's new salon is a tribute to his friend… (Jose Eber )
José Eber, the veteran hairdresser instantly recognizable by his long blond locks and jazzy cowboy hats, has launched a new salon in Beverly Hills, blocks from his former hair haven on Via Rodeo.
The two-floor, 8,500-square-foot José Eber salon, formerly home to Christie's auction house, is a sprawling ode to old-school glamour, featuring 30-foot ceilings, enormous, quirky art works (by collage artist Terence Lawlor), an 18-foot sofa peppered with velvet pillows, and — on everything from the walls to the swivel chairs — the color purple, in homage to Eber's longtime friend and client, Elizabeth Taylor.
"This is totally my cup of tea," said Eber, during a recent tour of the salon. "You would never think it, but sometimes I'm afraid to be daring, and Waldo Fernandez [the salon's interior designer] said, 'Celebrate who you are — celebrate your career.' And this is what I feel I'm doing with this salon."
Behind the front desk, which is wrapped in an eye-popping 3-D mirrored design, purple arched windows open up to the salon's main floor with its 25 hair stations outfitted with custom-made black iron cabinetry and oval mirrors rimmed in light.
Illuminated display cases filled with hair accessories and jewelry line the path clients take to a dressing room area that's swathed in a gorgeous photo-realistic wallpaper depicting a shimmering padded cell (the wallpaper throughout is divine).
Beyond that, a makeup enclave — stocking local makeup artist Julie Hewett's eponymous cosmetics collection — borders the salon's main floor, which also features a line of hair dryer chairs (in front of a flat-screen TV) and a long bank of shampoo chairs facing a wall of mirrored panels.
Eber's new address also will include a cafe serving nibbles and beverages — though it's still under construction.
"Everything is for the comfort of the guests and the comfort of the hairdressers," said Eber, who has owned salons in Beverly Hills since 1980. "The salon has always been my home. It's important to me that I'm available to everyone from all walks of life. I've based my career on that." Though haircuts start at $85 in the salon, Eber charges $500 a head — a steep fee, but lower than many of his contemporaries'.
The salon's second floor features a waxing room, an extension room, a manicure-pedicure enclave featuring tufted, raised thrones, a treatment room inhabited by a beauty pro who does semi-permanent makeup (it lasts one to two years), four rooms dedicated to injectables, Botox, laser and other medi-spa treatments, and the Suite — a private room for VIPs that features its own shampoo bowl, hairdressing station, flat-screen TV, windows overlooking Camden Drive and black-and-purple upholstered seating.
An oversized photo of Taylor taken by Bert Stern during the "Cleopatra" era will soon hang on the wall of the staircase circling down to the main level.
Not that Eber needs such obvious reminders of his late, great close friend. "To me, her spirit is here," he said. "As I walk in, I always feel her."
José Eber, 360 N. Camden Drive, Beverly Hills. (310) 858-4000. 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Thomas Wylde Saturday: Snag avant-garde looks from Thomas Wylde's spring-summer 2011 collection discounted 70% or more at this rare everything-must-go sale.
Smashbox Studios, 8538 Warner Drive, Culver City. 9:30 a.m. to 8 p.m.
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1520 N. Cahuenga Blvd., Los Angeles. (323) 465-9202. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday; 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturday and Sunday.