Melbourne's stylist to the stars opens her own one-stop salon
If you used to wake up to Bert Newton's smiling face on Good Morning Australia; if you knew all the catchphrases by heart on Rove Live or if you gleaned all your life wisdom from the Circle, then you’ve witnessed the work of Antoinette Bekos.
For almost two decades, Bekos was the head of hair and makeup at the Ten Network. Less than two months ago, she opened her own hair and makeup salon. Now open for business, she aims to treat each of her clients to the celebrity treatment.
Walking into AB Pro Salon, you might need a moment or two to adjust. In place of surgery-white lights and stiff waiting chairs, the room is lit like a warm lounge room, and is filled with elegant furniture set to a pallet of cream and dark brown.
“I didn’t want it to be sterile,” says Bekos. “And I love New York, so it has that New York deco feel to it.” The space, designed by Vanessa Lekkas from Design Advocate, features an inviting centre table filled with makeup products. The hair station and mirrors sit at the back wall. If you walk in just for a haircut, immediately you’re thinking about the joy of getting your makeup done, too.
Offering the full hair and makeup package is Bekos’s specialty. “I found that a lot of people want their hair and makeup done just to go out,” she explains. “Here, everything is in one place.”
Like any expert, Bekos loves sharing her knowledge. In fact, she runs makeup lessons to people of all skill levels and ages. She invites clients to bring in their makeup bags, and will advise on how best to make use of what they’ve already got. Sounds unusual? That’s because it is.
“I’m not the type of person to say, ‘you should be using that’. I’ve got my own brand, but it doesn’t suit everybody,” she explains. While department store makeup counters may redeem their products for the cost of the makeover, Bekos offers a place where clients won’t feel like they’re being convinced to buy anything. “My salon is about my art and what I’ve done for 20 years. I’m here for the experience.”
If you’re lucky, part of the AB Pro experience might be hearing a story of two about her days as a stylist to the stars. “I used to look after Hugh Jackman, before he was ‘Hugh Jackman’,” she says, laughing. “But one day he came in with John Travolta! I was sitting at the table having lunch, and Hugh was just kicking me under the table, saying ‘close your mouth’!”
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