Vain Glorious | Whittemore House


T Magazine

Who: Victoria Hunter and Larry Raspanti
What: Whittemore House, their West Village salon.
Where: 45 Grove Street; (212) 242-8880

Spring Beauty
Why bother: Last year, Hunter and Raspanti, the former Bumble and bumble creative directors, set up shop at 45 Grove Street — the ignominious location where John Wilkes Booth tried to persuade the actor Samuel K. Chester to help overthrow the government and kidnap President Abraham Lincoln. (Chester declined and later testified to this interaction in The Times.) Now, the only conspiring that goes on involves how many inches the stylist Michelle Fiona (another Bumble ex-pat) ought to skim off the coifs of downtown types like Zooey Deschanel, Parker Posey and Karen Elson as they sip their cucumber water. (Or a single-malt Scotch from the well-stocked bar.) Also on offer: a carefully edited selection of products from Sasha Juan, Oribe and Davines.

Watch out for: Lots of details from the original Whittemore House (it was also a stop on the Underground Railroad) are still intact, including two large fireplaces. "Larry and I wanted it to feel like a home rather than a salon," Hunter says. To that end, most of the furniture is from an antiques store upstate, and touches like the pink flowers stenciled on the walls contribute to Hunter and Raspanti's vision of "mansion-y decay."

Coming soon: Whittemore House is in the process of adding three more chairs, which will make 14 seats total in the 1,850-square-foot space. The back room, where facials and waxing were performed, will be converted into a space for Whittemore clients who want a bit of privacy. "There have been a couple of times when the paparazzi have been outside, so celebrities — or anyone who wants some privacy — can sit there," says Hunter. Perhaps 45 Grove will once again be the site of some serious scheming.

By: Holly Siegel

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