For many New York women, a trip to the salon is a nonnegotiable part of their routine, with longtime stylists becoming friends, shrinks even.
So devoted clients were unsettled when they phoned the Simon Salon last week and were told that Simon Sabag, the Israeli-born Parisian coiffeur, had died suddenly of a heart attack at 48, having not missed an appointment in 30 years. Not only that, but the salon itself had closed down, leaving Simon’s 29-year-old protégé, Adi—whom Simon referred to as his “adopted son”—locked out of the Lexington Avenue space. Simon had never drawn up a will, leaving the rights to the business with his family, in France, who promptly shuttered the salon while they considered their options.
Adi, however, was determined not to cancel on the salon’s loyal “ladies”—many of whom had been coming in several times a week at the same hour for years. He began renting chairs at the homey but far less chic Brittanica Hair Studio a half-block away.
“We’ve all stayed loyal since Simon’s death,” says producer Jean Doumanian, who has continued to see Adi for the signature Simon blowout almost daily. “I’ve been to some of the best salons in the country—but you’d never have guessed who went through his doors.” Simon’s faithful clients included Veronica Hearst, Gloria Vanderbilt, and the Fendi family. The impeccably dressed Simon—who cut hair in Yves Saint Laurent suits, Gucci print pants, and vintage Hermès shirts—was the only hairstylist Catherine Deneuve would see in New York.
Last week, women arrived for their appointments and then stayed—passing around photos of Simon or telling the story of how he’d arrived in the States with all his possessions in a single designer handbag. And they brought gifts for Adi: diamond jewelry and $10,000 checks to support the business they hope he can reclaim.
For now, Adi will remain at Brittanica, but he is hopeful he can buy out the Sabag family with the generous backing of some of Simon’s regulars. “My mission is to keep working under Simon’s name,” he explains. “I have inherited his hands.”