He’s called “the Image Maker.” For over 30 years he has been the stylist for the rich, beautiful and famous. Now Richie Arpino has another success on his vitae: being nationally named “Best Salon” from ALLURE™ magazine in January.
That’s no popularity contest where you have to get your friends to call-in votes. “Salon spies actually scour the Southeast looking for the best,” Richie said, laughing. “[The] actual national salon experts [were] anony-mous. We never saw them.” Each salon is judged on service, taste, texture and experience. It took the magazine months to compare salons across the United States. In the end, Georgia–and Arpino–won.
“I was honored to open the cover and see us. We’ve been working on it as a team for a long time,” he said.
Now located on Pharr road, for years Arpino Salon was located across from the St. Regis. “We’re still very close,” said Arpino. The new space was exactly what he had envisioned for his clientele – lots of light, large ceil-ings, clear lines. “It’s nice that now my staff and I share one room together,” he said. “I believe we are doing bet-ter work because we are playing talents off each other.”
On the website, the salon tagline reads “Isn’t it your turn to be beautiful?” It promises every kind of service for hair.
“I don’t really have to say that phrase to anyone…about being beautiful, which is relative,” said Arpino. “I will say ‘Isn’t it time you let me cut your hair’ to people I have known for years, which is…risky.” Even though he has reached national fame for cutting the hair of rock stars and counter culture icons, some friends are still weird about it. “They won’t come to me as they think I’m pricey, or if it’s a bad cut it will affect our friendship,” Arpino said.
The truth: Richie Arpino has not changed his pricing structure in 20 years. Few famous stylists can admit to keeping such humble roots. And he can’t remember a coif complaint. And yes, he still goes to multiple social events so he can find hair to style. Since Atlanta is so transient, Arpino advises his team to constantly be on the search for new clients.
“People move away, it’s a reality here,” said Arpino. “You have to be a good public relations person – for yourself. Not complacent.”
After following the multiple rock tours in his early years, Arpino trained as a photographer. “I used to take before/after shots of my clients,” he said. “This grew into shooting ads, bands, and magazine covers. Now I shoot for the agencies.” The master stylist also advises young fashion entrepreneurs to ask around. Most people at the runway shows are volunteer-ing their services, just for the opportunity that fate and fashion can combine, often in those rushed moments back stage.
“Be prepared to sweep the floors, change the trash, our assistants do everything,” said Arpino. “Good assistants con-stantly check on the other stylists, asking them if they need anything to make their jobs easier. One day I take them off the floor and say ‘…you’re too talented to be doing that now.’”
During his off hours Arpino publishes a calendar where the proceeds go to cancer and AIDS research. “As for the tag-line,’…Isn’t it your turn’ I think it represents the salon. We’ve been here, a part of the Buckhead community for 30 years, it’s our turn to shine, our time to be beautiful,” said Arpino. To learn more about the salon, visit www.http://arpinosalon.net The Arpino photography site is filled with terrific images. Visit http://www.richiearpinophotography.com/ for more.