Vu Salon

Perched high above Manhattan’s posh Fifth Avenue, Vu Nguyen shapes his customers’ hair to “enhance their inner beauty,” he said. Nguyen, the owner and founder of his namesake salon, entered the world of high-end coiffeur when he was chosen to be an assistant for the legendary hair stylist Frédéric Fekkai in 2002. Nguyen worked side-by-side with Fekkai for six years, learning to perfect everything from the super sleek blow-out to chic updos, and the flattering cuts that women love. Since then, Nguyen has distinguished himself with his own celebrity clients that include TV hosts, artists, Wall Street moguls, and a bevy of Park Avenue beauties. More than nine years after opening the salon, Nguyen talked to us about how he got started in the business and what sexy hair is.

Please tell us when you decided to become a hairstylist?

I grew up in Philadelphia and started my career in 1999. At that time, I used to cut my friends’ hair for fun. I was in school for physical therapy. My then-girlfriend went to beauty school, so I switched to join her. That’s when I pursued this career.

Where did you work after graduation?

In April 2002, I moved to New York City to further my education. I was very lucky, I immediately started working with Frédéric Fekkai, the hair maestro at his flagship salon on Fifth Avenue for six years. I worked side-by-side with him as his assistant at the salon, and on locations at photo shoots, special events, and fashion shows. I traveled with him to all the top fashion shows in the world. We worked with models, celebrities, and everyone in between. It was a great learning experience. I did most of the work, then he would step in and put his final touch.

How did you arrive at having a beautiful salon inside the Peninsula Hotel?

From 2007 to 2009, I worked at a couple of top salons in the city to get more experience and to see what’s out there. In 2010, Elizabeth Arden Red Door asked me to be a trainer. They opened a training studio for me to teach staff on cutting and styling hair. In 2013, someone from the Peninsula Hotel contacted me. They said, “Have you thought about having your own salon?” I was in shock. A luxury brand like the Peninsula reached out to me! I was also excited. I knew they had very high expectations. I said, “Yes!” I wanted to go for it and I went to meet with the director of finance. I gave them my business plans, and the rest is history. The salon opened in 2013. The Peninsula chose me, and I chose the Peninsula. It worked out perfectly.

Did you design the salon?

Everything in the salon I hand-picked myself. The materials, lighting, the mirrors, everything. It was a process as we went along. It’s very urban, organic, and down-to-earth. There’s a very peaceful, earthy, happy vibe once you step inside. There’s no chandelier. No bling-bling. It’s a relaxing home away from home.

How would you describe your haircut style? Do you have a “trademark” look?

I don’t have a trademark look. I tend to follow my clients’ lifestyle. It can be very dramatic. Very chic. Very punk if you want. In my eyes, it’s all about them.

What do you think is the best haircut?

The best haircut is the one that a client can easily style at home. If you give a good cut and they know how to style it on their own, it’s priceless.

What’s your definition of sexy hair?

I always love long hair with a nice and blow out. I also love short and sleek hair, like a chic bob. For me, sexy hair is soft and natural. It’s hair that’s bouncy with movement. Anything that is too artificial or stiff is not sexy.