A self-described blowout, manicure and pedicure buff, Sykes Rellie's interest had been piqued before the salon was finished. She remembered that when she met Blow's co-founders, Jennifer Denton and Vigdis Boulton, "They said, 'We know who you are,' and I said, 'Well, I know who you are.'"
Then the idea eventually came up that the three might work together. Sykes Rellie and Denton were already (and still are) neighbors in the West Village. And tapping into the social network of a woman-about-town could only help Denton's fledgling business.
Now, Sykes Rellie is on Blow Styling Salon's advisory board.
"I'm strategically involved with the girls," she said, from "what color the walls should be" to "where they should be next — L.A.? Downtown? My job is really being a sounding board."
Said Denton: "From the beginning, we've had a tremendous amount of support from Lucy. She sends people in from the fashion and beauty industries. She credits us prior to getting photographed. She references us in interviews."
Relationships such as these illustrate a point luxury beauty brands have come to recognize: It's hard to beat word-of-mouth endorsements by the socially prominent. As a result, beauty's flirtation with high society has turned into an affair.
While brands such as Darphin, La Mer, Lancôme and Chanel have had informal ties to the social set — "devotees" who frequent lunches, teas, dinners and parties held by the brands — others have taken the relationship a step further.
For instance, Dior Beauty hired Tinsley Mortimer as its U.S. beauty ambassador in the spring (see story, this page). In September, Natura Bissé signed Cristina Cuomo as its U.S. ambassador. And Orlane expects to sign ambassadors in the U.S. and Europe in the near future.
Not to be forgotten is Olivia Chantecaille, whose omnipresence certainly hasn't hurt her mother Sylvie's 10-year-old beauty brand, which has developed a healthy business with Neiman Marcus, Barneys New York and Bergdorf Goodman.