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 the cost of $300,000 – is the combined result of Hemphill’s creativity and the needs of his clientele. The Six rooms were re-created to infuse a kaleidoscope of new lighting, leather chairs imported from Italy, cloud and sky ceilings from Los Angeles, and over 20 individual workstation 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.”