Michael Christopher Salon Blog
Michael Christopher Speaks is the blog for Michael Christopher Salon located in Wilmington, DE. Learn helpful hints, watch how to videos, be the first to see new products, and upcoming events at the salon.
The cutting edge
The Knot Dream Wedding Makeup Artist Talks Bridal Beauty—Get the Details Here
Kristina Ruggerio, of Kristina Ruggerio Cosmetics, isn't just lined up to do The Knot Dream Wedding Couple Elena Delle Donne and Amanda Clifton's day-of wedding makeup—she's also an old friend of Elena's from high school and has done the WNBA star's makeup in the past (and can't wait to do it again for her wedding day). How cool is that? We caught up with the Wilmington, Delaware–based stylist to hear about her plans to beautify the naturally gorgeous brides-to-be.
What can we expect from Elena and Amanda's day-of wedding makeup?
"I’m planning on enhancing both Elena and Amanda's natural beauty. Of course, we’ll play up Amanda's beautiful, bright eyes just enough to make them sparkle even more than they already do, along with a pale bridal pink mixed with a pale peach to bring out the blue in her eyes. Elena has such a beautiful smile, so we'll want to keep her lip color pretty natural—most likely a blush or mauve tone to compliment her green eyes, with a pop of gloss in the middle to brighten. I want them to look like the best version of themselves."
How did they land on each of their looks?
"We’ve played around with different looks over the years. They're both naturally gorgeous and they [glam] up beautifully as well. I know the look we'll go with for their day will be simple elegance, something they'll feel extra beautiful in. I just want their natural and stunning features to shine on this special day."
What are your top wedding makeup tips for brides?
"Whenever you're doing makeup for a long day, or in photographs, you want to make sure you apply enough color to your cheeks, lips and eyes—specifically eyeliner, especially in between your lashes, to make the lashes appear thicker and darker. This will make everything pop in photos. Be sure to apply a translucent powder, mainly in the T-zone, to avoid any shine in pictures. Prep your face with makeup primer first, and set your makeup with translucent powder at the end to ensure longevity all day and all night. Lips should be freshened up every couple hours."
What has it been like to work with Elena and Amanda?
"Elena and Amanda are dreams to work with. They're so laid back and so funny, to the point where I'm afraid all of our makeup will run whenever I'm around them—they bring me to tears of laughter every time! Waterproof mascara is a must any time I see them—especially for the wedding day."
Do the brides know what each other's makeup will look like, or will it be a surprise?
"I know both women are very in tune with each other—they're so close—I’m sure each will assume the other will go somewhat natural, but with an elegant twist. It’s going to be a stunning wedding, and when they both get to see each other completely done, I truly believe they'll both be blown away. I can’t wait to see their faces—I'm getting chills already!"
With Kristina in Delaware until Elena and Amanda's November 3 nuptials, Brittany Lo of New York City–based Beautini stepped in to give the brides a preview of their wedding day looks. Watch their full makeup trial on TheKnot.com/dream-wedding for serious beauty inspo.
Michael Hemphill, hairstylist to Delaware notables such as Jill Biden, Carla Markell and Elise and Pete du Pont, is moving his Michael Christopher Salon to Greenville after 35 years at the Galleria Shops in Wilmington.
Other Galleria tenants must move too, at least temporarily, because Newark developer Angela Tsionas plans to tear down the shops at 2000 Pennsylvania Ave. to construct a $40 million, five-story mixed-use building by 2018.
Hemphill, who has styled the hair of many Playhouse actors, including Debbie Reynolds, is known for reinventing his current space several times with a waterfall feature, a white grand piano at Christmastime, and a serene black shampoo chamber with a lighted ceiling. After years in a busy downtown location with difficult parking, he said he plans to create “a sanctuary.”
“I call it the-gates-of-hell-close-behind-you,” Hemphill said. “The reason I chose the space is because I think it’s like a sanctuary. We’re all connected so much to our phones and our computers.”
“We want to be in there by the first week of April,” he added. “That’s the plan, if everything goes smoothly. You know how construction goes.”
The current salon is 6,000 square feet, but part of it is subleted to Morgan’s of Delaware, the dress shop. The new space will be closer to 3,000 square feet. “We want to be green in what we’re doing,” Hemphill said. “We don’t want to burn up more space than necessary. But we’re actually going to supersize some services.”
He said more space will be devoted to permanent makeup trends, eyebrow trends, day spa services and new hair techniques.
The salon took over a four-bay garage, so there will be large windows to the outside. Hemphill said he tried to create a Carmel, California look.
A new outdoor garden will allow customers to take their complimentary coffee or wine outside in nice weather.
‘This new salon’s all about relaxing. You feel it the minute you drive in. It’s just a beautiful property. It feels like a sanctuary or a country club,” Hemphill said. “When I drove in there, all of a sudden I felt relaxed and you usually don’t have that experience when you’re in a shopping center.”
Hemphill said he did a ZIP Code study to determine the spot most convenient for his clients. He found they come from Greenville, West Chester, Wilmington, Unionville, Kennett and Newark, so he looked for a central location within a two-mile radius of his current shop with good road accessibility.
Greg Pettinaro, CEO of Pettinaro, said Empowered Yoga and Michael Christopher will be the only retail clients in a center that includes offices of companies such as Bryn Mawr Bank, Citigroup and Brandywine Center for Integrative Services.
Pettinaro said current county code allows up to 10 percent of tracts zoned office regional to be retail locations, but his company will go before County Council this month because a previous owner signed a deed restriction stipulating there would be no retail.
Before leasing the location, Pettinaro said his company met with representatives of Hagley Museum, Kennett Pike Association, Beck’s Lane Homeowner’s Association and surrounding neighbors and they were all supportive of the change.
Delaware business pioneer rethinks salon
By LULADEY B. TADESSE, The News Journal
Posted Thursday, September 14, 2006
Michael Christopher Designs Salon & Day Spa is accustomed to giving people a new look, but on the eve of its 31st anniversary, the Wilmington salon is getting a new look of its own.
Michael Christopher Hemphill, the salon's owner and creative force behind the improvements, has invested more than $300,000 to modernize the 6,000-square-foot salon and better equip it to meet the needs of his clients and 80 employees.
"It was beautiful before," said Alexis Tweddell, 40, of Middletown, who has been going to Michael Christopher for nearly eight years. "The fact that he wanted to remodel and update and make it cutting edge is always Michael."
At the salon's grand reopening Friday, the clients will notice a "salon of the future" featuring different chambers, each with its own atmosphere, music and furniture.
Flat-screen computer terminals sprinkled in the waiting area near the entrance and the "hair coloring theatre" give the salon a high-tech feel.
There are 25 pod stations accented by shimmering screens hanging from the mirrored ceiling. The electric plugs and hair equipment that previously rested on a shelf in front of each station have been shifted to shelves behind each station, taking away the clutter in front of clients.
And then there is the shampoo chamber. The warm, dimly lit room has a blue sky ceiling panel, a yellow hologram projected on a deep blue wall and barely visible black sinks. Meditative music plays in the background and the sounds of the water from the tap sound more like small springs. "People come here not to relax, but for a relaxing experience," said Hemphill, who caters to about 300 clients a day. "Why not make it an experience that people want?"
More salons are focusing on the convenience of clients, offering wireless Internet service for business executives who want to work all the time and a relaxing atmosphere for those who want to escape for a few hours, industry experts said.
"He is more on the cutting edge," said Christine Kauffman, executive vice president of Veeco Manufacturing Inc. in Chicago, which designs and manufactures salons and spas. "We are not doing a lot of that kind of work."
Ann Tasker, a former employee at Michael Christopher who recently opened Pasca Salon in Wilmington, said she expects the industry to follow Michael Christopher's lead.
"It's modern, it's upbeat," Tasker said. "It's what the industry is doing today."
When Hemphill opened his business in Wilmington in 1975, the city hardly had any trendy hair salons. There were mostly mom-and-pop beauty shops. Hemphill made a name for himself by winning dozens of national and international awards, including North American Hairstylist of the Year for Creative Excellence in 1997. He also has worked with stars ranging from Bruce Willis to Elizabeth Taylor.
An average haircut by Hemphill costs $100, or $45 to $65 from one of his stylists.
Michael Christopher has managed to establish not just a salon, but a recognizable brand beyond Delaware. The salon has its own line of hair products.
Over the years, there have been many new salons that have opened in Wilmington -- mostly by former Michael Christopher stylists.
"I consider Michael still the leader," said George Ritzel, a former Michael Christopher employee who now owns George Marcus Salon in Talleyville.
Ritzel said Michael Christopher's redesign makes sense.
"You need to make changes continuously to make your clients interested," he said. "When Michael makes a change -- he makes a major change. You should be doing that every few years because styles change, fashion changes, looks change."
Besides revamping the interior of the salon, Hemphill plans to expand his product line. In January, he expects to be featured on QVC, the television shopping channel, where he will introduce a new hair cleansing product that can be mixed with shampoo called Erase. QVC requires vendors to sell as much as 5,000 products in a minute.
In addition to expanding his $3 million business, Hemphill plans to work on a few new projects including an e-commerce site that will sell jewelry, handbags and other accessories manufactured in China. He also plans to work on home interior decorating projects for some of his clients.
The killer cool re-emergence of a salon
After an extensive renovation, Michael Christopher Designs begins a new phase of bringing the cutting edge to fashion
By Richard L. Gaw Special Sections Editor
Greenville Community News, November 7, 2006
Invent something that's never been done before and you are a genius. Re-invent what you have invented all over again and turn it into something altogether new and you are practically knighted. Though Michael Hemphill of Michael Christopher owns no crowns, his Michael Christopher Designs has, for the last thirty years, served as the one salon in our community that takes the gold standard of what it means to be bold and cutting edge and moves it here, there and everywhere.
Over the course of a two-week span that began in late June and ended in early July, Hemphill took his studio on Pennsylvania Avenue and had it gutted practically to its core. The nail, mortar and plywood evidence of the work going on inside the salon had, in fact, been conceived one year ago, when Hemphill began studying the effect that a new splash of light and sound could have on the space. He also began asking his clientele what they wanted from his salon.
"It was quite natural that our clients would have a huge impact on where we were going to take this," Hemphill says. "People should come to a salon and have an outstanding experience that will last for the next six weeks of their life."
The finished product - 6,000 square-feet of re-designed space at a cost of $300,000 - is the combined result of Hemphill's creativity and the needs of his clientele. Six rooms were re-created, infusing a kaleidescope of new lighting, leather chairs imported from Italy, cloudand-sky ceilings from Los Angeles, and over 20 individual work station pods to promote privacy. In addition, clients now have the ability to access the internet or communicate with their office through the use of laptop computers stationed throughout the salon.
"I wanted to sew a common thread through the whole experience of being at Michael Christopher Designs," Hemphill says. "When you're ripe, you're rotten, but when you're green, you grow."
- The Reinvention of Michael Christopher—Again
- The cutting edge
- The Knot Dream Wedding Makeup Artist Talks Bridal Beauty
- Sanctuary in Greenville
- STYLE MAVEN GETS NEW LOOK OF HIS OWN
- THE KILLER COOL RE-EMERGENCE OF A SALON
- When and how to let go and go for the gray
- Relaxers-Straighteners-Keratin Treatments "Oh My"
- Two types of Hair loss - Internal and External
- Michael Christopher Hemphill, salon pioneer