Friday, December 23, 2011

Day 9: A Parisian Hair Cut by Willy Leyba, Filipino star in Paris

I had heard that you could get a really good haircut in Paris -- one of the reasons why Parisienes always look so good is that they have such well coiffed hair.
So one of the many things on my wish list was to get my hair cut in Paris.
Since I don't speak any French at all, how could I communicate with a french hairdresser?
I might end up with a horribly avant garde but inappropriate hairstyle!
Then I remembered watching a tv show a few years back about a Filipino who had a salon in one of Paris' toniest arrondissements and who, by dint of hard work and talent, was a hit with the locals.
It would be the best of both worlds -- I could have a Parisian haircut by a fellow Filipino in Paris.
Unfortunately, I couldn't remember his name!
But when I got to Paris, I knew I could ask someone who would absolutely know --
Peter Lauz who owns a Filipino store in Paris and runs a transport service knows everything and everyone -- "tsismoso ako", he loves to say and true enough, when I saw him again and asked him, he said "Willy Leyba is who you are looking for!"
Thank you Peter, my dream of getting a haircut in Paris would finally be fulfilled!

I called Willy's salon for an appointment and he answered the phone himself.
After I explained what I needed, he was able to set me up for an appointment at 2:30 pm.
His salon is in the 16th arrondissement, a very high end area of Paris.
The 16th is close by to Trocadero and is where the Auteuil and Passy areas are, home to diplomatic embassies and expensive residential buildings.
Willy gave me explicit and very easy to follow instructions to get to his salon -- just get off at the Michel Ange Auteuil metro stop and follow the road to Rue Boileau.
True enough, as I turned the corner from Rue Auteuil to Boileau, there it was!

Aside from the attractive and easily recognizable lavender facade, the shop is immaculately clean, well laid out and very stylish.
There are just two stylists -- Willy and another Filipina.
Between them, they do everything -- from acting as receptionist, to shampooing, styling, cutting, coloring -- even sweeping the floors!
When I mentioned this to Willy later, he said that since help was so expensive, you really had to do everything yourself, if you wanted to turn a profit.
I had a little while to wait as Willy was busy with another customer when I arrived.
Time enough to have a "Before" photo snapped!

When my turn finally came, we had a short discussion on what should be done to my hair.
Willy works very fast, to maximize time and turn over.
While I was there, he had a never ending stream of customers with appointments come in.
The salon is open till 8 pm everyday except Sunday and Monday -- when Willy does what he can to relax and catch up with errands.

And here is my "After" photo -- Willy very kindly agreed to pose with me.
He's a wonderful hairdresser -- he gave my hair new body and volume with a shorter layered cut. I really enjoyed my time in his salon!
Willy is a fantastic guy with a heartwarming success story -- he makes you proud to be a Filipino.
Now -- when can I come back for a trim?
Thank you Willy - a bientot!

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