Anthony Leonard Salon co-owner and color director Anthony Palermo's resume boasts supermodel clientele such as Iman, Naomi Campbell, and Christy Turlington, as well as collaborations with the likes of accliamed photographers a lá Patrick Demarchelier. But don't let the impressive curriculum vitae of bombshell brunettes intimidate you; Palmero's self-proclaimed specialty actually lies on coloring blondes.
"I am known in the business for doing amazing blondes. It has become my signature. There are so many different shades to play with. I think every woman should be blonde once in their life...or at least blondish," he explained backstage at a Fashion Show.
We sat down with Anthony for an exclusive interview; he's talking all things hair and which of his celebrity clientele are loving their BLNDN!
BLNDN: Hi Anthony – you’ve been in the biz for quite some time. Tell us about how you got started with hair…
Well, years back during Fashion Week, I had some friends that were students at F.I.T. in New York that were offered a week of work dressing models for Seventh on Sixth in Bryant Park (now known as Mercedes Benz Fashion Week). They asked me if I would be interested in doing it to make extra money. Fern Mallis hired me, and we had the opportunity to dress Linda Evangelista, Naomi Cambell, Christy Turlington, and all the other 90's supermodels!
For some strange reason though, I would always wander over to the hair and makeup side of the tents. There I met hairdressers like Oribe, Garren, and Orlando, and I was completely fascinated with them. It inspired to go to beauty school myself!
BLNDN: When was the defining moment where you really felt like you had made a name for yourself in the hair industry?
AP: Well about 2 months after I opened my Madison Avenue salon in NYC with my Partner Leonard Zagami (Anthony Leonard Salon), I got call from Madonna’s office asking if I could color her hair…so I guess it was a double whammy!
BLNDN: We love entrepreneurial stories (and Madonna, of course)! Tell us about how you started Anthony Leonard Salon…
AP: I worked for Oribe Salon for 10 years, and loved it very very much. When they closed their doors, Leonard and I moved on to work in some other NYC salon, but we weren't very happy. We had a vision for us to open a salon together. It took about a year of searching for a location, and looking at spaces, until we found our 532 Madison Ave location. We both knew it was perfect, so we signed the lease. It has now been 8 years, and we are so happy we dove in! It still feels very new to us. Running a business in NYC is not easy, but I think we do a great job.
BLNDN: Wow that is amazing! You’ve obviously evolved your techniques with time. What would you say is your specialty now?
AP: I am known in the business for my expansive blonde clientele. I must say I'm very proud of it - I have a great eye for perfecting every shade! I also love designing editorial looks for models, actresses and pop stars for their magazine spreads.
BLNDN: What is your absolute favorite project you’ve had an opportunity to work on over your career?
AP: I've had so many! The first that stands out most is Rihanna with bright red hair for the cover of Vogue, styled by Oribe and shot by Annie Leibovitz. It's one of Vogue's best selling issues!
Another was a British Vogue editorial art directed by Kate Moss for her debut as an editor. The photos were shot by Mert and Markus, and the model was Daria Werbowy. I did two-tone black and white, and red and orange wigs, and it turned out amazing!
The last one that really stands out was helping Oribe transform Jennifer Lopez into a modern Elizabeth Taylor for the cover of W shot by Mario Sorrenti. I loved the result - it was very, very sexy!
BLNDN: BLNDN had the opportunity to work with your fabulous team in NYC this past Winter. What was your favorite part about the event?
AP: Leonard and I are always excited to launch products that we love! We have done many events in the past, but the BLNDN one was very special to us for two reasons: first of all, it's an amazing product, and second because of the owners - those girls rock! They made it very easy and fun, and it was a very successful event!
BLNDN: Do you have any special clients you have been able to try BLNDN out on?
AP: Many clients…it's a very easy product to promote, and the celebs love it! In fact, Hayden Panettiere can't get enough of it!
BLNDN: What BLNDN product are you loving right now?
AP: The TONE YOU violet toning rinse. Hands down amazing!
BLNDN: Obviously BLNDN’s purple products are a deep violet shade and really combat brass on blondes - but have you tried using them on your graying clients? What were the results?
AP: Yes, all the time! It takes all the yellow out of gray, silver, and white hair. They become addicted once they use it!
BLNDN: Do you have a favorite product to use on clients whose hair is oxidizing because of age?
AP: I love REPAIR YOU the lightweight repairing mask, because it does exactly what it says it does...Repair!
BLNDN: What is your best hair advice for BLNDN Babes in Manhattan?
AP: You don't have to be a Blonde to use it! They have a product for every hair type, male or female!
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