Tracey Cunningham: Colorist To The Stars

The Insider: Who is Hollywood’s Most Sought After Colorist?
by Rachel Marlowe
Sept 26, 2012

Tracey Cunningham, colorist to the stars, is nervous. She has just come from a full day styling Kate Beckinsale’s hair for a press junket, and she is wearing a bohemian Indian smock dress with a rather large hole in it, albeit with a pair of Isabel Marant ankle boots. “I didn’t have time to go home and change, so we decided to say this dress once belonged to Janis Joplin,” she jokes.

Not that this would be especially far-­fetched. After all, this is the woman whom Bette Midler put through beauty school, whom L’Wren Scott dressed for her first day on the floor at the Art Luna Salon in Santa Monica, and who has the likes of Jennifer Lopez e-­mailing me to declare Tracey her “go-­to,” while Charlize Theron confides that she trusts her “completely.”

Since landing in Los Angeles 20-­odd years ago, the Seattle native has managed to rack up a client list that includes Hollywood heavyweights Gwyneth Paltrow (yes, she’s responsible for that blonde), Drew Barrymore, Emma Stone (whom she turned into a redhead), brunettes Jessica Biel and Emily Blunt, plus a new generation of models (Lily Aldridge’s ombré has sparked a Jennifer Aniston circa Friends”“­scale obsession).

Therefore, the news that Cunningham was leaving the Byron & Tracey salon she helped found to open a 3,000-­square-­foot space in Beverly Hills this fall with Neil Weisberg (of the similarly buzzy Neil George Salon) has been causing angst akin to the news that one’s best friends are getting a divorce: Who will get the Olsen twins? Where will Reese Witherspoon be going now?

At Mèche–­French for “highlight”–­the pair is aiming to create something very different from their previous ventures. “I want the place to be eclectic, to have a neighborhood feel and be a hothouse for up-­and-­coming talent,” says Cunningham. And while they plan to have the obligatory in-­house makeup artist for red-­carpet prep, brow-­shaping guru, and manicurist, expect to see Cunningham’s bohemian footprint, too. “I am going to bring in a great foot masseuse,” she says, “maybe a baby grand for some mood music–”¨and I’m pushing for a salon cat.”

M̬che Salon. Color with Cunningham, from $175; 8822 Burton Way, Beverly Hills. ӬOpening late fall.

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