Tucked away in Islington Square, neighboured by a trendy gallery and a plant shop bursting with succulents, the journey to Duck and Dry’s newly opened salon sets a tone of relaxation before you even arrive at the door. Islington seems like the perfect home for one of London’s most Instagrammable salons, which makes me wonder what took the franchise so long?
With blow-dry and nail bars dotted across Zone 1 locations such as Chelsea, Soho, Spitalfields, and Mayfair, the brand has acquired a loyal customer base that it serves well. By combining pampering with Prosecco, and boasting interiors that would make Oliver Bonas himself envious, the brand knows what a Duck and Dry client responds to and isn’t afraid to offer it to them en masse.
I step in from the rain, hair soggy and kept off my face by a broken hair bobble that I had tied back together – far from a picture of glamour but this Hagrid aesthetic would not last much longer. I’m seated in front of a domed mirror, lit up by LED lights that soften my face enough to take me from being a questionable 6 to a solid 7.
I’m then offered refreshments from a long list of drinks, including coffee and bubbles – I opt for a big pot of tea, which is naturally on brand in the signature teal colour. As I sip my visually pleasing cuppa, I glance at the intricate details around me; there are flowers descending from the ceiling and sassy neon statements occupying the walls. In the middle of the salon is an impossible to miss swing but make no mistake, this was no playground swing, sticky with residue from children’s lollipops. It’s a glorious rope swing, spanning ceiling to floor, with a deep green velvet seat that I would inevitably park my rear on later.
After a relaxing lather, rinse, repeat at the well trained hands of a professional, I was back in my seat being spritzed with heat protection spray, a step I all to often leave out of my home styling routine. As my masses of hair is blown dry by the stylist, I am joined by Yulia Rorstrom, the founder and CEO of Duck and Dry.
“It’s a very risky time time to open a new salon but we wanted to send the message that 2020 isn’t cancelled” says Yulia, who is dressed in a floaty, yellow maxi dress and heeled boots, with hair styled into perfect beach waves. She exudes a level of effortless glamour that I can only aspire to and that my mother often wishes I had.
“We’re calling it our ‘biggest, boldest & brightest’ salon yet. We have a a group table, that a group of friends can book at no extra cost, where they can have drinks and get their hair done together” she explains. If you can’t make bold choices in London, a city ‘full of excitement and creativity’ as Yulia notes, then where else can you make them?
We laugh that my thick Asian hair just might be taking a little bit longer than a few of the other clients’ but this is no new challenge for the Duck and Dry team: “We’ve had a lot of experience with Asian and Middle Eastern hair and more coarse textures since opening our Mayfair salon. We really want to make the services we provide as diverse as possible” she explains. As my hair begins to smooth from it’s natural tumbleweed texture to something a Kardashian sister would be proud of, this expertise becomes apparent.
It goes without saying that the hairdressing and beauty services industry was heavily impacted by COVID-19, salons were forced to remained closed until July and lockdown restrictions meant that even at home services were banned. With this in mind, it is heartening to see so many women around me making the most of something we once took for granted.
Speaking with Yulia, it becomes clear that the pandemic has not only affected her working life but, like many other women, it has also trickled into her home life. “I was working a full day and then going home and teaching my children and helping them with their school work”, she explains. Yulia touches on an important wider issue, many businesswomen and career-driven individuals have had to take on additional domestic duties and this has affected their ability to take on work.
“It feels like all the progress we’ve made as career women is coming undone by the pandemic”. With this anxiety in mind, the successful launch of Duck and Dry Islington is all the more laudable. So whether it is my love of pastel coloured interiors, or my desire to see a strong businesswoman thriving in a difficult economy, I’ll be back at the salon in no time at all. I even took home bottles of Duck and Dry’s Up Up and Away Feather Light Shampoo and Conditioner, to inject an added splash of luxury into my home routine.
To book your appointment or to see a full list of services provided at Duck and Dry, visit their website.