Edris Nicholls was born on the island of St. Vincent in the West Indies, and she arrived in New York in 1979. She got her start in the hair business as a teenager, learning her first tricks of the trade in a Koch-era after-school program. After paying her dues at uptown salons like Warren Tricomi, this amazing stylist set out on her own in 2003, opening Edris Salon on one of the last deserted strips of the Meatpacking District.
As I was seated comfortably on a couch watching hair designer Edris cut her customer’s hair at her own salon, now located in Midtown, I started to think about all the times I encountered her at social events throughout New York City. What comes to my mind first is how beautifully aggressive Edris’ elegance stands out, her dancer’s physique and posture is so strong and gracious that it naturally embraces her exterior appearance. You can for sure notice what I am talking about in the beautiful photos taken of Edris by photographer Liz Brown. She is beautiful indeed, and because when you talk to her, you feel this sense of relaxed perfection allied to a great personal style, Edris Nicholls is our April Style Master.
Gazelle Paulo: Please describe your style with your own words.
Edris Nicholls: Style should be personal, and it should have a personalized touch. I’m not a “from the rack to the body” consumer. I’m a tad eccentric, so my style tilts eclectic, though architecturally structured but very deliberately balanced and deconstructed. A mix of modern and vintage.
Do you have any peculiar fashion habits?
I adorn myself daily with a purple Issey Miyake scarf no matter the season, accompanying accessories or color of the day. Sexy underwear under every garment is a must.
How important has fashion and style been to you?
Style and fashion is very important to my lifestyle. The clothing I wear and how I curate it tells my story to the world. Fashion is the palette that I use to illustrate the storyboard of my style. Without it, I’m nude — although I do not mind nudity!
What was the defining fashion moment of your life/career?
My greatest life experience was the birth of my son! The greatest experiences of my career have been participating in the 20th anniversary of “Thierry Mugler at Le Cirque 1996,” the Rocawear campaign with Naomi Campbell and seeing my work on an enormous billboard in Time Square, designing a haircut in 2010 for Shu Uemura Atelier Art of Hair in Paris — at the L’Oréal headquarters — cemented me as one of the players.
Who are the most elegant women and men of all time?
Elegance is innate; it’s wisdom, grace and humanity: my grandmother, Diana Vreeland and Diahann Carroll. Dapper, political, suave humanitarians are the words that come to mind for Sidney Poitier and Harry Belafonte, my Caribbean men. I couldn’t pick one without the other. Both men are octogenarians and are as elegant and handsome now as they were in their youth. Classic!
Fashionably speaking, if you could have a second chance to give another first impression, when and why?
Fashionably speaking, you should never have to second-guess yourself. Second-guessing means there is a right and wrong way to wear clothing. There is no right and wrong in fashion.
What is your favorite store in the world an your favorite one in New York City?
Colette in Paris has magnificently curated merchandise; it’s a touchable museum for shoppers. I travel to Australia once a year, and I love discovering designers. IF Boutique or any vintage store in New York.
What was the most spectacular party you attended?
I adore a great party! Susanne Bartsch at the original Copacabana … It was total debauchery!
If you could style one person, who would be the lucky one?
Any beautiful black woman wearing a hair weave like it’s a veil!
What is the perfect attire for the eternal sleep?
I will be cremated. I dislike the idea of clothing being wasted!