For the last three years I have possessed a growing desire to have lilac-white hair. Hair the color of the winter moon, or perhaps a recently dead fairy, as I explained it to my shrink. This is difficult to attain for many reasons, not least of which is that I have forever been coloring my hair to an almost black sheen. I suppose I thought my hair color should match my usual mood.
By the grace of good fortune and the impeccable taste of my great friend J., I was finally introduced to the hair-artist who was able to bring my moon-dead-fairy fantasy to life. Her name is Ashe Bowen, and she is absolutely amazing. In every way.
She recently opened her own salon, called Ashe Atelier.
Her space is in a rapidly developing, formerly industrial part of Denver called RiNo. The area is a beautiful mix of independent artists, small restaurants and bars, and railroad tracks. The buildings are old, made of brick and metal and have the feel of something that can’t be easily reproduced by some corporate developer. One can feel the bones of Denver’s Western history and railyards in the structures around this neighborhood, and Ashe’s new salon is no exception.
There are windows from floor to ceiling, giving a bright but not glaring light to Ashe’s lofted working area.
Ashe comes from a family of hair stylists. Working with hair and color, texture and the three dimensional canvas of the human skull runs in her blood. Her mother is a hair stylist, as is her grandmother and some cousins… and then I lost track. Working with hair, of course, is not just about the art of color and cut. To be a really fine stylist one must have as good an ear as eye: the eye for seeing what works, and the ear for hearing, and truly understanding, what one really wants. In other words, a great stylist gets the inner workings of a person as well as the outer.
Ashe does this, and I knew it from the first moment I met her.
It is quite a process going from black-brown short to white-white pixie. Ashe had me wait an agonizing several months before she would even touch my hair. “It would just come out orange,” she said. (She is nothing if not refreshingly straightforward.) So I trusted, and waited. And waited. And then we began.
I had absolutely no idea what I would look like after our adventure, I simply knew it was time to bring some bright light into my life. So last week I sat for about three hours in Ashe’s salon, while she graciously served me white wine and allowed my children to run wild until my husband hurried them away. We bleached twice, and then toned and then cut.
Then we waited another week, although the in-between color was lovely too, in a 50’s Marilyn sort of way.
I returned today, and Ashe bleached again, and toned again. Now, my hair is white, and I love it. I feel I’m showing the fallen fairy I’ve maybe always been, and Ashe helped to rescue her and bring her to the surface.
I have endless admiration for confident and creative people who not only have a vision of what their work should be, but also the energy and will to bring that vision to fruition. Ashe is this sort of person; she even sells a carefully curated clothing line that is gender-neutral and stylish in a sort of international, casual sort of way.
My husband and children love the bright new nimbus surrounding my head. I do too. But now of course I must worry that someone of Ashe’s talent will depart Denver for London or Paris or L.A. But that’s what I do: worry. Worry and fret.
Maybe my new hair will make me a bit less fretful…. and make my inner world a bit lighter too, just as the sun shines light on the moon.
Such luck and such fun, to have met Ashe.