Historic Violet Hair Salon reopens for business – SHINE

The Violet Hair Salon, over 80 years old and once a trendsetter for local women at historic Normandie Apartments in downtown Xuhui District, reopened to the public on Monday.
With retro-style decoration and advanced equipment, the 85-year-old Violet Hair Salon, once a trendsetter for local females, reopened to the public on Monday. The salon is located at historic Normandie Apartments in downtown Xuhui District.
The hair salon sits on Wukang Road, which has been listed as a "famous historic and cultural street in China" by the Ministry of Culture and Tourism.
It first opened in 1936 as a symbol of fashion and status for celebrities and high-class people of the time.
After renaming and redecorating on several occasions throughout the decades, the salon underwent drastic repairs in 1989.
With updated equipment, air-conditioning, and the latest style of barber chairs, it led a wave of new fashion trends in Shanghai. The salon was the first in the city to use new-style hair dryers and perming tools.
Its old top-class hairdresser, Lu Maosong, has invented and designed special women's hairstyles such as large waves, lines and blocks, as well as showcased his unique hairdressing skills. All of those hairstyles were once quite popular in the city.
However, with the emergence of various new barbershops in the city, the Violet Hair Salon has slowly faded out of the limelight since 2006.
The salon, which appeared many times in the diary of the famous writer Ba Jin, was an iconic place in the hearts of many old Shanghainese, with a bit of mystery.
"At that time, this barbershop was so luxurious for us that we could only look from the outside and didn't dare to come in and have a haircut," said a 66-year-old woman, who came to see the renewed salon and reminisce upon old times.
"When I was young, people only came here to style their hair on important occasions such as wedding. I did my hair here before my wedding."
There are also some customers coming here to realize their childhood dreams.
A 53-year-old woman comes to the hair salon to have her hair cut.
"When I was young, I only looked through the window every time I passed by here, but I could not afford to go in and have a haircut at the time," said a 53-year-old woman surnamed Xia.
"Now I am retired and it is time to enjoy life," she said with a big smile.
The reopening has also attracted many old customers who were once loyal customers.
"I had my hair cut here once; I can never forget it," said a 73-year-old man, surnamed Zhu, who lives nearby.
"I was lying there, and the old hairdresser cut my hair and shaved my face, and he was surrounded by many apprentices learning nearby," Zhu recalled. "I still can't forget his exquisite haircutting skills."
Some young people also love to come here.
"We learned about the reopening of this place from the media, and we came here to try it," said a 25-year-old woman, who accompanied her boyfriend to have a haircut. "The Violet Hair Salon was very famous for its cutting and shaving skills in the past."
Since the Wukang Building has become an Internet-celebrity landmark, its owner, Shanghai New Xuhui Group, has been trying to restore the original historical appearance of its surroundings.
"This place arouses many people's nostalgic feelings," said Fan Mingzhao, managing director of the salon.
As part of the decoration process, in addition to adding historical elements, the salon also applies advanced technology to improve customer experience, Fan added.
"The hair-washing machines we use are currently the most advanced in the world," he told Shanghai Daily. "The chairs can be adjusted according to customers' needs and the movable washbasins save customers' troubles in moving around when having their hair washed."
The hair salon is decorated with retro-style furniture and decorations as well as high-tech equipment.
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