In the Heart of the West Village, Larry Raspanti and Victoria Hunter Bring Hair to its Cutting Edge


When Larry met Victoria, the two were working side-by-side as color directors at New York’s Bumble & Bumble— Raspanti, a born-and-raised New Yorker and Hunter, a now-downtowner-by-way-of-Australia. “I messed around with hair in my early teens so my mom was very insistent on me pursuing it as I got older,” Raspanti says of his beauty biz beginnings. Hunter’s foray was familial too (her sister was a hairdresser), though it was a life-changing stint in Hong Kong that finally brought her to the States: “I was headhunted for a salon in Hong Kong where I stayed for 14 months, learning the nuances of Asian hair,” she explains. “I decided to read the book The Alchemist and realized I wasn’t living my dream which was always to live and work in New York, at Bumble & Bumble.” Ultimately, Hunter’s move would become the first of many dreams come true— bonding with Raspanti over a desire to revolutionize haircare, the duo opened their own salon, Whittemore House in 2009 and since, have collaborated with photo legends like Steven Meisel and Ellen von Unwerth, styled a myriad of editorials for Vogue, Numero and ELLE, and colored the big-ticket runways of names like Marc Jacobs and Alexander Wang season after season. Hosting monthly seminars for rising beauty students out of their downtown salon, the pair are notorious leaders in the modern art of hair painting (they’ve toured throughout the country too). Between their illustrious reps and several CITIPHILE contribs’ recommendations (the Goldworm sisters and Lucy Wallace Eustice are clients), we knew we had to sit down with the mane masters ourselves. With Hunter in charge of color and Raspanti, cut, Editorial Director Alexandria Geisler’s hair got “whittemored.” Take a look at our behind-the-scenes photos below, plus can’t-miss beauty advice from the Whittemore House founders.

BEST BEAUTY ADVICE YOU’VE RECEIVED: L: You can always read a person by the shoes they wear. Always have great shoes.
V: Keep it simple. Stick to what works for you.

BEST BEAUTY ADVICE FROM YOU TO US: L: Suitability. And by that I mean: a) Not following what is popular at the moment as it doesn’t mean it will work on you; b) Photos are always good to show your colorist. There are many different shades of blonde, red, brown, etc. When a client says “caramel,” it’s important to make sure you’re both seeing the same color.
V: Agreed— trends don’t work for everybody and images eliminate confusion!

HAIR LOOK OF S/S ’16: V: Short cuts and bold colors.

BEAUTY ESSENTIALS: L: I can’t live without the dry texturizing spray by Oribe or hair paste by Sachajuan— both of these products give body and texture, a lived-in look for all hair types. I like Klorane dry shampoo to give fresh volume to dirty hair too.
V: And silver conditioner from Davines (it prevents unwanted yellows and mineral build-up)!

Raspanti and Hunter’s Little Black Book

NEIGHBORHOOD STANDBY: L: Perla (MAP IT)— I love the atmosphere and the wine selection. I always order the special. V: Uncle Boons (MAP ITBOOK IT). My favorite dish is the crab fried rice and lamb larb. I love sitting at the bar, the drinks and the kooky Thai music.

ALL-TIME FAVORITE RESTAURANTS: L: That’s a very difficult question; NYC has the best restaurants in the world. At the moment, it’s Locanda Verde. The tripe is my favorite dish.   V: Eleven Madison Park (MAP ITBOOK IT) (an amazing experience, from the staff to the wine), Sushi Seki (MAP IT) in Chelsea (Chef Hojo’s omakase is the best I’ve ever had), Indochine (MAP ITBOOK IT), Raoul’s (MAP ITBOOK IT), Le Turtle (MAP ITBOOK IT) and Lupulo (MAP IT).

COCKTAIL DE LA NUIT: L: A spicy margarita at Bobo (MAP ITBOOK IT) or any cocktail at The Waverly Inn (MAP ITBOOK IT).

HEALTHY STAPLE: L: by CHLOE (MAP IT). V: Juice Press (MAP IT) for soups, juices and their “kelp-me” noodles and by CHLOE for the beetroot burger and artichoke dip.

GUILTY PLEASURE: L: Five Guys (MAP IT). V: Shake Shack (MAP IT), hands-down.

BEAUTY BLACK BLOOK: L: Aire Ancient Baths (MAP IT) and my acupuncturist, Carla at Balance by Acupuncture (MAP IT). V: My acupuncturist, Abdi Aesadi (MAP IT).

CLOSET CHECK: L: The best place for clothes is Hotoveli (MAP IT) in the West Village.

ULTIMATE NY MOMENT: We were invited to a U2 party for the launch of one of their albums. When we arrived, we entered an apartment building on Clinton Street that looked old and shady. We went up a lot of stairs, through a laundromat and into another hallway, then came through a door that led into an old amphitheater that is never used. It was where Charlie Chaplin used to perform. They had it set up like a David Lynch movie with bizarre glass structures with fish swimming in them. It was so cool and so surreal. Only in NYC! CP

By: Alexandria Geisler

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