The need for a new haircut tends to present itself urgently and discourteously, with no fair warning whatsoever: a darkened silhouette glimpsed in a store window, a sidelong glance from a friend of a friend, an unrecognizable blur in the mirror. But if you happen to be walking down a particular stretch of Sunset Boulevard in the Silver Lake neighborhood of Los Angeles when the moment strikes, you're in luck. Just walk toward the neon light you see glowing ever so faintly from the mouth of an alley. And there—as long as you're in the right alley and have followed the right light (if not, you're on your own)—you will find Lost Hills.
"It's kind of a bedroom vibe," says the salon's co-owner Sera Sloane. "Just hanging out with your friends." Yes, exactly what one looks for in a time of need—and it certainly doesn't hurt that co-owner Kate Schlichter keeps a rotation of her high-school mixtapes playing on the boombox.
Sloane grew up in L.A., as did Katherine Cali, the newest member of the Lost Hills gang, while Schlichter grew up in Olympia, WA. Sloane and Hill cut their teeth at legendary New York City salon Bumble and bumble, where Schlichter worked—she functioned as a mentor to them both. Sloane ventured out on her own first, operating an anti-salon of sorts from a space in the East Village. Schlichter began moonlighting with her there, and they found they really enjoyed working in "a different kind of space that wasn't about a front desk, and a receptionist, and all those things that kind of take away from the appointment."
So when the two decided to move to L.A., they landed with a blueprint for their dream salon: "a clubhouse where my friends could hang out and do hair," as Sloane describes it. And they found it in a warehouse off Sunset with a unique address: 2512 ¾ Sunset. "It's a super Harry Potter vibe," says Sloane, giggling. But, according to her, the address has other benefits: "It keeps away people who won't understand what we're doing. We cater to people who will just know they need to go down the alley to find us."
In addition to their work at Lost Hills, both Schlichter and Sloane continue to teach for brands (Bumble and bumble and R+Co, respectively), and return to New York regularly to see clients, as does Hill. Schlichter cuts at Bumble and bumble; Sloane sets up shop at Orchard St. boutique Coming Soon and East Village salon White Rose Collective; and Cali sees clients at Heartbreakers in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. All three still feel very connected to the city they're unwilling to fully leave behind. "L.A. is beautiful, when you have New York on the side," says Sloane. "It's kind of like being married and having a hot mistress—sometimes you have to have both."
Sloane has found that one of the biggest complaints fellow New Yorkers express about L.A. is that they miss running into people, a phenomenon all too common in New York. For this reason, the ladies of Lost Hills purposely structure their schedule so client appointments will overlap. "We'll set people back to back," says Sloane, "if we feel like they'll get along."
The space also serves as home to both rock concerts and art shows, most recently hosting an exhibition of artist Nate Turbow's sculptures this past October. Having just rung in their first anniversary (they opened doors on New Year's Day 2015), they'll be celebrating the occasion with an event called "Lost Hearts" on February 6, a daytime party that will double as a Valentine's Day-themed sale, featuring vintage gear by Worship and Coast to Coast, and bolo ties by Mel Shimkovitz, alongside wares by other friends.
While they've managed to bring a distinctly New York feel to the west coast, they're sure to wear their bicoastal identity on their sleeve. "I've just made these buttons that say 'New York Is My Baby, L.A. Is My Boo,'' explains Sloane. "We love both, we need both, we're inspired by both—there's no choice between the two."
For more, see losthillsla.com. To hear a playlist the ladies of Lost Hills made just for us, check out our page on Spotify by searching "WeAreSweet."