Pret-a-Reporter

Celeb Fave Salon, Benjamin with Negin Zand, Opens Downtown L.A. Outpost

James Mountford
Benjamin Arts District opens in Downtown L.A.

The chic new hair mecca, called Benjamin Arts District, opens Tuesday.

When stars including the lusciously locked Connie Britton, Krysten Ritter, Courteney Cox and Annie Clark (aka St. Vincent) need a hair zhush or update, they head to Melrose’s Benjamin with Negin Zand. The art-laden salon has been a go-to for of-the-moment cuts and color since it opened four years ago.

But namesake Benjamin Mohapi has his finger on the pulse and recognized a need beyond the oh-so-crowded confines of Beverly Hills and West Hollywood. "The Arts District is a really exciting part of Los Angeles," he tells Pret-a-Reporter on the eve of his new salon opening there. "The area is changing quickly and we want to be a part of that movement." Benjamin Arts District opens its doors Tuesday, July 26.


BOOKED: Inside the new DTLA outpost. (Photo: James Montford)

It’s the first high-profile salon in downtown’s hot, creative ‘hood, and the location is close to other stylish destinations, including the Wittmore and Apolis men's stores, Poketo design store and Hauser Wirth & Schimmel book store.

But that, says Mohapi, was not intentional. "We wanted to be there regardless. The area has great designers and galleries already. It is definitely ready for a high-end salon." As for the nitty gritty, the 1,620-square-foot space will hold 11 stations for mostly new stylists joining the family, with a few West Hollywood names making the move to the Arts District (stylist Candice Birns, for one).

The space is styled in the same vein as the original WeHo salon, which is filled with a curated art collection by Poster Child Prints that is available for purchase. "The salon decor is recognizable as Benjamin, but different from the Melrose salon," says Mohapi. "We were conscious of the area and building. We wanted to produce something that sits comfortably in the location." Thus it’s a bit edgier, but still has a classical aesthetic. And, like its sister space, Benjamin Arts District will feature a tightly curated retail component by Selects Beauty, the apothecary that carries such cult favorite brands as R+Co, Earth Tu Face, Mason Pearson and Rodin.


THE HAIR CHAIR: Inside the new DTLA outpost. (Photo: James Montford)

While popular colorist Zand will not be working downtown, Mohapi himself, along with art director Pamela Neal, will make some appearances by appointment. And the prices at the new salon reflect the up-and-coming nature of its neighborhood. Blowouts start at $55 versus $80 in WeHo, while women’s cuts begin at $110 (as opposed to $150) and partial highlights begin at $170 (or $230 in WeHo). Says Mohapi of trailblazing in DTLA: “Twenty years ago downtown NYC was much different from what it is now. I think something similar will happen in Downtown L.A. while keeping its strong identity. As the area changes there’s a need for different brands.”

300 S. Santa Fe Ave., L.A.; 424-249-3296; benjaminsalon.com

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