There is a glimmer of contentment and joy as you gaze into the mirror and feel both beautiful and refreshed, having shed more than hair in the dresser’s chair. The world stands aside and, in that moment, all of the worries of the day melt away. In this intimate place, the Private World of Mary Tripi takes a step above your standard salon, to a calming place which has been serving generations of satisfied clients in Toronto. I had a chance to sit down with Mary and learn where she began, what it takes to run one of the most well-loved salons in Toronto, and about the inspiration for her new location.
Born in 1940s Athens, Mary dreamed of becoming a pharmacist. She would watch them creatively mix concoctions that made people feel better. Although that dream never came to fruition, she never lost sight of using creativity to make people feel better.
Enamored by letters and photos of our city, she decided Toronto was where she wanted to live. In order to emigrate, she began apprenticing as a hair dresser. Then, at 17, she made her way to Canada. Her first impression of 1957 Toronto was that it was a “village” of fashion and art, far behind the styles and culture of European cities. In 1959, she set out to change that, opening her first salon at Bathurst and Lawrence. It was an instant success, booking weeks in advance.
Now at an age when many consider retirement, Mary is as determined as ever, with a new salon opening this fall at 890 Yonge Street. She describes it as a gift to her loyal clients who have been with her throughout the years. A magical blend of classic elegance, open-spaced luxury, and comfortable intimacy. Decked floor to ceiling in white as representative of a canvas upon which the client is the painted beauty, each stylist station is lampshaded in colour. Mary wants guests to walk through the door and feel the magic, the expectation of beautification, and comfort, and then ultimately, to walk out feeling confident, relaxed, refreshed, and beautiful.
As careers and technology infringe more upon free time, the moments spent sitting in the stylist chair has become an anticipated and appreciated time of peace – an escape from the hectic world, where one can sit before the mirror and put their trust in the stylist’s hands. Throughout the years, Mary has stayed true to a credence that the intimate relationship between the client and stylist allows for a flow in creativity that produces beautiful results. Accommodating the creatively extreme to the conservatively classic, the stylist can not only change one’s style, but also one’s character. By keeping clients happy, comfortable, and relaxed, and catering to the individual as opposed to relying on trends, she crafts hair to compliment the beauty within. Her successes in this pursuit have garnered multi-generational loyalty, making her revered by salons across the world and has led publications to dub her “The Queen of Beauty.”
WORDS: ELI THOMSON
PHOTOS: KATE KOLER
Check out the gallery below for some exclusive photos from the Grand Opening of The Private World of Mary Tripi shot earlier this season.
EVENT PHOTOS: MICHAEL KAHN