At The Tease, we’re always looking to highlight cool salons, barbershops, and spaces. This month, we’re spotlighting The Harlot Salon, a Los Angeles salon where “naughty meets upscale.”
The Harlot Salon may have a naughty name but trust us when we say that this Los Angeles salon is as nice as they come.
Located on West Hollywood’s buzzy Melrose Avenue, this hair hotspot serves up cuts as cool as its interior. The expansive space may be minimal in its color scheme but it’s brimming with interesting details — think statement-making metal chandeliers, rugged antique-y furniture, and trippy, gothic-inspired wallpaper. The grey concrete walls alone provide an edgy, industrial-chic feel, especially when offset against all the luxe gold accents that dot the space. But, the most eye-catching piece is without a doubt the six and a half foot bull skeleton hanging above the salon’s entrance.
Founded in 2011 by Holland-born master stylist and owner Marylle Koken, the vision for The Harlot was to create a salon where creative individuals, especially hairdressers like herself, could feel like they fit in.
“I never liked the traditional salon feeling because I come from a salon background. My parents had a few salons and I never wanted to feel like I’m in a salon,” she shared. “I didn’t want to have a sterile white interior or too many visuals of hair everywhere. I wanted to create a creative space where people could walk in and feel at home right away —like they could stay forever.”
While Koken had a lot of ideas of how she wanted the salon to look and feel, when it came to decorating the space, she looked for help from a close client of hers, who has extensive experience in the fashion industry. Together, the two were able to make choices on everything from the salon’s lighting to its chair covers.
“She really knew what I wanted,” she said. “You definitely need to work with somebody who knows your vision and who knows who you are —that is key. Otherwise, they are going to design the space the way that they want it.”
For Koken, having a space that appeals not only to a wide range of clients but also potential employees was super important.
“I’m 47 and I have a lot of clients who are my age which we definitely need because those are your consistent, every-three-week clients,” she said. But, you also want the younger consumers too because if you have a young, hip space, people will want to work in a place like that.”
According to Koken, it’s very important to work in space where you feel creative energy. At The Harlot, she says that her employees are all about creativity.
“I feel like we just have very talented, cool, and creative people. It’s not just that they do two clients and then go home. They actually enjoy working,” she shared. “Finding a team that’s just as crazy about the industry as much as I am — that’s hard to find!”
With L.A. currently experiencing its third round of shutdowns due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, The Harlot has had to close its doors for the time being. But Koken is taking this latest setback in stride, instead using her time to rebuild her team and focus on her upcoming apparel line.
Much like her salon, the pieces are bold — with sweatshirts, hats, and masks emblazoned with daring phrases like “Fuck em’” and “Son of a Bitch” as well as “Team Harlot.”
Though when Koken does finally get the greenlight to reopen her salon, she says she’s excited to get the good times rolling again with her clients and her team.
“It’s not just great hair happening here, but a great time. We have fun,” she said. “I think that makes us stand apart.”