Intertwining Three Worlds at Bristle + Crème


When venturing around London, Kim Vu never imagined that she would find the inspiration for her store, Bristle + Crème, in the neighborhood of Notting Hill. When she entered 202 Restaurant, she found that there was a small clothing store attached to it. At that moment she realized that she wanted her store to offer a similar mix. That’s why when she opened her own beauty space, she integrated art, fashion, and hospitality under one roof.

The moment people pass by Bristle + Crème, they realize this isn’t your typical hair salon. The location in Kips Bay not only holds a hair salon, but this fall will also include an espresso bar and an art space. The unexpected mix at Bristle + Crème, was created by Kim Vu who believes it’s the perfect opportunity to blend together all of her interests.

Bristle + Crème recently had a soft launch in early June, opening only to a limited amount of people. On the recent opening Vu said, “We’ve definitely gone really far in a very short period of time.”

She said this is largely due to the service model, one of the things the company focuses on. Employees are handpicked and trained in what they do, a host instead of a receptionist serves clients, and the store carries high-end products such as Oribe and Bumble and Bumble.

The environment of Bristle + Crème was designed with the clients in mind and Vu said she wants it to have a very communal feel. “The design of the store is very client centric. I wanted clients to come in and just want to sit down and hang out, which is one of the reasons why we have this large table in the center,” Vu said.

Her goal is to have the salon be beautiful, yet relaxing and approachable too. Vu recalled going to many different salons and always feeling that, while they may have been beautiful, the minute they finished doing her hair, she wanted to leave because the salon was too stuffy or boring. This is why she said she wants to make sure Bristle + Crème’s space is as inviting and different as possible.

The official grand opening in September will include the installing of the artisanal espresso bar, opening of the art space and launching the atelier program. The art space will be located on the second floor, where the beauty spa is, and will serve as an art gallery for various artists. Vu said, “I feel like this will be a good opportunity for emerging artists to display their work.”

An art curator will pick new artwork to display every three months to vary the art being presented. Every time there is a new exhibition, Bristle + Crème will hold an event to showcase the work. “We’ll be displaying all types of art. We definitely don’t want to stick to just one type,” Vu said. Along with the artwork, Vu also will invite photographers and musicians to use the space and will use it for other events.

The atelier program, also known as the backstage program, will allow fashion to be integrated into the salon. It will allow clients to book appointments with in-demand editorial stylists. Stylists will be able to use the space for photo shoots and even prepare for runway shoots. Vu said, “I’m really looking forward to further incorporating the fashion world into Bristle + Crème and through this program I know stylists will be able to bring in cutting edge fashion and techniques into the store.”

“New York City is such an eclectic place so I wanted to make it [Bristle + Crème] just as interesting,” Vu said. By intertwining the three worlds of fashion, art, and hospitality, Bristle + Crème is aspiring to bring something new to Kips Bay.