24 HOURS …
The Aussie hairstylist, who left Perth for Paris some 20 years ago, talks Ritz reopenings, serious suitcases and the sin of forcing small talk
with celebrity hairdresser David Mallett.
6.30AM I’m an incredibly good sleeper. I could sleep standing up, but the alarm of my iphone wakes me up. I sleep in a 1980s Italian bronze bed with a big Indian bedspread I bought in Rajasthan. My sheets are thick white Damascus cotton, which drives my cleaning lady crazy. Poor thing — she’s the one who has to iron them. I always have candles burning — I probably have about 50 all over the apartment. Christian Dior’s are favourites, but in the bedroom I alternate between our own creation, Le Salon en Hiver, which is like a crackling wood fire and amazing on cold winter days, and the Papyrus one from Iunx. 6.50AM By now I’ve had a hot shower and dressed in my uniform: a three-piece suit (usually Margiela or Kiton), custom-made shirt and Fratelli Rossetti shoes (I never wear socks and am renowned for my bare-ankle look). I’m also an absolute watch junkie and have quite a collection, but my favourite is a gold-and-silver Rolex diver’s watch and a Rolex ‘Milgauss’ — a present from friends for my 50th. 7AM The apartment I live in with my partner, Martin, and my nineyear-old son, Maximilien, who stays with us 50 per cent of the time, is located in a funky, arty area of Paris. I head to the kitchen and make a big Bodum plunger of coffee and eat breakfast, which is porridge and fresh orange juice. If I’m in a rush, I take a taxi motorbike to work and Didier, my driver, will take Max to school. But if I have a huge suitcase of hair equipment, I’ll take the car. 9AM Both of our salons open at nine, and often I have a minimum of eight or nine appointments booked in. Our original salon is located not far from the Louvre, in a grand 17th-century building, and is inspired by the ambience of my own apartment. I wanted to avoid it looking like an obvious hairdressing space, so the furniture is a mix of 17th-century antiques, original artwork and 20th-century modern designer pieces. It’s dotted with flea-market and holiday finds: art objects, curiosities, corals, sculptures, geisha wigs, taxidermy, crystal lamps … Today I’m at the Ritz Paris, where we’ve just opened a second, incredibly chic and intimate five-seat salon attached to the Chanel spa. Here the walls are covered in gold woven tissue, the floors are marble and there’s an incredibly beautiful private wash room. I wanted the mirrors to look liquid, like mercury, so I had the wrought-iron craftsman François Pouenat create them, and they look like spectacular sports cars.this hotel is an ode to luxury, and there’s nothing more chic than made-to-measure luggage, so I asked master craftsman Virgile Cazals to create three custom suitcases we could carry equipment around in when we have appointments in guests’ rooms.we could never turn up with ordinary suitcases.
11AM The organic caterer who brings us wonderful food and juices drops off our daily delivery, but I never stop for lunch. I haven’t had a lunch break in 25 years. Lunches are for my days off — Sundays and Mondays. While a client is having her hair washed, I might snack, though. yesterday a client brought us in some incredible macarons from Ladurée, and I love the chocolates from Alain Ducasse. They’re like mini florentines. Les Fines Gueules often delivers steak tartare if I’m starving, and Chez Georges (a traditional French bistro on rue du Mail) delivers as well. 1PM I have a 43-year-old Newyork client booked in now who sees me every eight weeks for my ‘trademark’ look. I’m renowned for soft movement. Sexy hair with a soft wave. Pin-straight on anyone over 35 simply looks ageing. 2PM I stop to go over our appointment schedule for the next month and nearly die. we’re booked solid, but it’s even crazier when fashion weeks are on. That’s when many of our international clients descend for the ready-to-wear and couture shows. traffic is gridlocked in Paris then, meaning our staff get around on motorbikes to visit clients in their hotels, sometimes from 5am onwards. Often I’m with Natalie Portman, who I’ve worked with for 13 years and adore, during fashion week. Diane Kruger is another regular. She’s super charming, down to earth and loves that I’m quick. Léa Seydoux is a delight — I’ve worked with her since she was at school. 2.30PM My next client is Parisian and not in the mood to chat. French women are more reserved than Australians. I’ve been hairdressing for 36 years and am incredibly intuitive — it’s important a stylist picks up on the client’s vibe. Forcing someone to talk is hardly pleasant. Some clients treat me like a therapist, but I tend to stay neutral and never give big opinions on life-changing matters. People say they feel safe in our salon. 3PM If I get a break, I head out to pick up Maximilien from school, sometimes taking our two-year-old miniature bull terriers, Archie and Jarvis, for a walk. Archie came from a wonderful breeder in Estonia, while Jarvis came to us from Poland. Archie is dominant, curious and extremely playful, whereas Jarvis is sensitive, timid and quite lazy. They even have their own Instagram account, @bullterrorist. 8PM Tonight I’m finishing early (sometimes I’m still working at midnight), so I head straight to Chez Georges for a bite, or have dinner at home with family. I love nothing more than an ice-cold beer if I need to unwind. I’m a massive roast-chicken-and-mashed-potato fan. My favourite restaurants in Paris right now are Table, in the 12th arrondissement, which serves outstanding fish and game meat with old-style large root vegetables; tiny Italian eatery Cibus; Clamato, a modern seafood tapas bar; and Au Passage, a modern French bistro hidden in a little alley near the bo-bo neighbourhoods between Place de la République and Bastille.a few nights a week, I’ll go to the gym — L’usine Opéra, near the opera house — but often it’s saved for days off. In which case I’ll take a bath, moisturise with Ella Baché’s Crème Intex and crawl into my freshly made bed.
“I constantly use the David Mallett L’hydration Mask on clients, while a new favourite for texture is our Australian Salt Spray. Mason Pearson make the best brushes in the world, and you can never beat the Parlux 3200 if you’re looking for a high-powered professional hairdryer.”
Mallett’s new salon (also left), in the Ritz Paris hotel.
From top: vintage pieces and exotic taxidermy adorn Mallett’s original Paris salon; David Mallett Le Salon en Hiver candle, $99; Christian Dior Eau Noire candle, $105; Rolex watch, price on application, rolex.com.
The Ritz Paris. Above: Fratelli Rossetti shoes, $514, saksfifthavenue.com.
Mallett’s miniature bull terriers. Above: Ladurée macarons are a favourite. A mix of old and new at the original salon.
A stuffed ostrich amid 17th-century details in the original salon
From top: David Mallett Mask No. 1 L’hydration, $99, and Australian Salt Spray, $54; Mason Pearson Handy Pure Bristle Bush (medium), $295; Parlux Parloux 3200 Ceramic and Ionic Charcoal hairdryer, $200.