The Pedi­curist

The National - News - Luxury - - THE INSIDER - by selina den­man

It’s all in the name: the Pedi: Mani: Cure Stu­dios by Bastien Gon­za­lez. This isn’t just fancy graph­ics at work. With Gon­za­lez’s treat­ments, which of­fer “lots of de­tail, no pain and a beau­ti­ful re­sult”, the em­pha­sis is very much on the “cure”.

I turn up for my ap­point­ment at Gon­za­lez’s stu­dio in Dubai’s One&Only Royal Mi­rage armed with a healthy dose of cyn­i­cism. Yes, the 75-minute Bastien’s Duo Treat­ment might cost Dh725; and yes, the celebri­ties at this year’s Dubai In­ter­na­tional Film Fes­ti­val (DIFF) VIP Lounge are be­ing treated to Bastien’s ser­vices and prod­ucts. But it’s still just a mani/pedi, right? I am shown into one of three pri­vate treat­ment rooms – the feet are still a pri­vate part of the body so why shouldn’t they be treated in pri­vate, says Maxime Lureau, the op­er­a­tions and de­vel­op­ment di­rec­tor of the Pedi: Mani: Cure Stu­dios, who is a trained po­di­a­trist and the man tasked with trans­form­ing my feet.

I set­tle into an un­fath­omably com­fort­able, fully re­clin­ing leather chair. The room is all sump­tu­ous dark wood and calm­ing back­ground mu­sic – cer­tainly not your stan­dard nail bar fare. There’s a range of strange-look­ing im­ple­ments, some of which look like they might be bet­ter placed in a den­tist’s ward. There are nail files made from glass, which, I am in­formed, re­spect the struc­ture of the nail and skin and cause less dam­age than their metal coun­ter­parts; there are four drills that are used to re­move dry skin from the nail bed; and chamois leather buffs that in­crease the flow of blood to the nails, leav­ing them shiny and pink. The treat­ment is dry; over­soak­ing is not good for the feet, I learn, plus this al­lows the ther­a­pists to see ex­actly what they are deal­ing with. My hands and feet are worked on at the same time; the nails are clipped, filed and buffed; dry skin is re­moved and mois­turiser ap­plied. Round­ing the treat­ment off is an art­fully syn­chro­nised four-hand mas­sage that ex­tends from the tips of my fin­gers to my el­bows and from my toes to my knees.

There is the op­tion to ap­ply nail pol­ish but it’s not part of the treat­ment. The the­ory is that your nails will look so healthy by the time you’re done, you won’t want to cover them. Plus, in th­ese parts, pol­ish is seen as make-up, some­thing you ap­ply on oc­ca­sion but then re­move to al­low the nail to breath. As Lureau says: “You don’t put make-up on straight a er a fa­cial, do you?”

Gon­za­lez, who now op­er­ates 15 stu­dios in some of the most lux­u­ri­ous ho­tels and spas around the world, and has his own crit­i­cally ac­claimed line of prod­ucts, Rev­er­ence de Bastien, came to po­di­a­try quite by chance. More than 20 years ago, he was in­volved in a se­ri­ous ski­ing ac­ci­dent and tore a lig­a­ment. At sub­se­quent phys­io­ther­apy ses­sions, he met a po­di­a­trist who spe­cialised in cre­at­ing in­soles for ski boots. “I en­joyed learn­ing from him so I be­came in­ter­ested in the in­dus­try,” Gon­za­lez ex­plains. “A er work­ing with a po­di­a­trist on ski boots I passed my po­di­a­try li­cence. Four years later, I started my own busi­ness. At 23, I opened a med­i­cal clinic and sold it 18 months later. That is when I started my con­cept of the ‘true pedi­cure’. That was 17 years ago, when spas didn’t ex­ist like they do now.”

Gon­za­lez’s ap­proach was un­heard of at the time. He recog­nised that there were three main branches of hand, foot and nail care: the med­i­cal, po­di­a­try-based ap­proach; the purely aes­thetic ap­proach favoured by nail bars; and the re­lax­ation ap­proach, which in­cluded things like foot mas­sages and re­flex­ol­ogy. He de­cided to cre­ate treat­ments that in­cor­po­rated the best of the three schools.

While this new and “pe­cu­liar” way of think­ing did not re­ceive im­me­di­ate ac­cep­tance, a wa­ter­shed mo­ment came a er a meet­ing with the hote­lier Sol Kerzner. “Start­ing any­thing new in a world that is op­posed to change is al­ways dif­fi­cult. I met Sol Kerzner, who wanted guests to have the best pedi­cure be­fore go­ing to the beach. We part­nered and the rest is his­tory.” Gon­za­lez first started of­fer­ing his “true pedi­cure” in Kerzner’s One&Only Le Saint Géran re­sort in Mau­ri­tius 10 years ago.

The in­dus­try has changed sig­nif­i­cantly since then, says Gon­za­lez, as have at­ti­tudes to beauty, in gen­eral, and feet in par­tic­u­lar. More peo­ple are in­ter­ested in “nat­u­ral beauty” and fo­cus on health as well as looks, says Gon­za­lez, who is a firm be­liever in nat­u­ral so­lu­tions. “My grand­mother, an amaz­ing woman, proved this to me when she was buff­ing her nails with a chamois leather at the age of 92. I thought she was go­ing crazy but when I saw the re­sults, I was so im­pressed with the shine. As the blood cir­cu­la­tion gets stronger with more oxy­gen and nu­tri­ents, you get bet­ter, pinker nails. It’s the true French man­i­cure.”

Gon­za­lez opened his stu­dio in the One&Only Royal Mi­rage eight years ago and is now present in the One&Only on The Palm and The At­lantis Palm Jumeirah. The UAE mar­ket has re­sponded par­tic­u­larly well to his treat­ments, he says. “Every­body lives in san­dals. Add the heat and the sand and you have the per­fect in­gre­di­ents for [need­ing] a good mani/pedi.”

I can vouch for that. When I leave the stu­dio, I am sport­ing nails that are shiny, pink and healthy-look­ing, and that, for the first time in years, are en­tirely free of pol­ish – but would still, I like to think, be wor­thy of a turn on the DIFF red car­pet.

NAIL BUFF Bastien Gon­za­lez’s stu­dio offf­fers treat­ments that com­bine med­i­cal and beauty-based ap­proaches to hand, foot and nail care.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from UAE

© PressReader. All rights reserved.