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Judy Foreman: With French Flair, Patricia Noel Studio Returns to Montecito

Longtime hairstylist hosts an open house celebration at her new salon on Coast Village Road

Patricia Noel Studio owner Patricia Noel, center, with her staff, from left, Robin Bolger, Adriana Esparza, Bruce Green and Andie Brown.
Patricia Noel Studio owner Patricia Noel, center, with her staff, from left, Robin Bolger, Adriana Esparza, Bruce Green and Andie Brown.  (Patricia Noel Studio photo)

By Judy Foreman, Noozhawk Columnist | @noozhawknews |

With ambience extraordinaire, Patricia Noel held an open house celebration for her new salon at 1253 Coast Village Road in Montecito on a recent Friday evening.

Neighbors to Elite Rehab, Jeannine's, J. McLaughlin, Gathering Art Studio, Cos Bar and Dressed, Noel is no stranger to the 93108 community. She has been styling hair in Montecito for more than 20 years. Emigrating from France, she worked with the upper echelon at L’Oreal in Paris and continues to keep current on the pulse of international hair trends and fashion expertise in her American salons.

The open house kickoff party included music by DJ Fab, a wine bar, an outstanding French-inspired buffet by Tammy Kronen, and French specialty desserts by Laetitia and Lionel Legadec of Mademoiselle Madeleine.

The party was attended by more than 100 people, including most of Montecito’s hairdressers, who Noel has worked with over her tenure in town, and her loyal clients, some second and third generations. It was a party to remember.

When the building that housed her former salon in Summerland was sold, she had to find new digs — and fast.

She is happy to be back in Montecito, collaborating with interior designer and friend Jenny Hoffman of Koncept 1 in Santa Barbara. Together they transformed a prior office space into a luxurious salon. Its updated soothing wall color palate, art, hanging fixtures, diagonally laid driftwood floors and good natural light give the 1,100-square-foot salon a sophisticated yet Santa Barbara feeling.

In the conceptual phase of this new space, Noel wanted her salon to feel like being in her living room. With fashion-inspired black and white photos and a designated area with comfortable ivory leather chairs, a black wooden coffee table, an espresso machine and the latest in international and U.S. fashion magazines, you can relax while waiting for an appointment while not being in the larger part of the salon where blow dryers are going.

A gracious outside seating area with canvas draping is another spot for making a private call or soaking up the morning sun with a cup of tea.

The 10-station salon is spacious and allows for privacy as customers and hairdressers partake in the age-old tradition of sharing their lives — "only your hairdresser knows for sure.”

Patricia Noel
Patricia Noel Studio features a seating area with ivory leather chairs and the latest in fashion magazines. (Patricia Noel Studio photo)

When I asked Noel about hot hair trends, she replied in her still audible French accent, "My decision for cuts and color is made on an individual basis — what looks good for your age, face and hair texture, not what the latest celebrity is sporting on the pages of the French or American Vogue magazines — is how I base my suggestion. Every person is different, as is their lifestyle. Some need a short wash 'n' go hair-do, and some ladies want a ponytail while they are exercising.

"Color is now for everyone. I am still not a big fan of ‘going gray.' I will do my best to camouflage and stain the hair to lighten it up, but I find it aging and less luminous. While a tattoo is for life, color can be playful and can be changed out.”

She found the perfect staff to complement her own style and talents in veteran hairstylists Bruce Green, Robin Bolger, former owner of Ibiza Hair Design, Andie Brown and newcomer Adriana Esparza.

The Patricia Noel Studio is a full-service hair salon offering haircuts, color, Baleyage highlighting — something Noel brought from Paris — Brazilian straightening, and Leonor Grel conditioners and scalp treatments.

Walk-ins are welcome, but appointments are preferred.

The Patricia Noel Studio is open Monday through Saturday and can be reached at 805.969.5252.

— Judy Foreman is a Noozhawk columnist and longtime local writer and lifestyles observer. She can be contacted at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Click here for previous columns. The opinions expressed are her own.

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