• Mario Russo, Fan Pier
  • Mario Russo, Newbury
  • Mario Russo, Newbury
  • Mario Russo, Newbury
  • Mario Russo, Newbury
  • Mario Russo, Newbury
  • Mario Russo, Newbury

Mario Russo

Mario Russo has been a prominent name in the Boston beauty world for more than 20 years, and his salons have won numerous awards along the way. Russo opened his first salon on the city’s fashionable Newbury Street in June 1990, adding a modern touch to the historic neighborhood. In 2010, a second Salon Mario Russo opened on the Boston waterfront in the up-and-coming—and environmentally friendly—Fan Pier area. We talked to Russo about his original location and how it’s influenced by his love of art.

How would you describe your salon’s design?

I would describe the design of my salons much in the same way one would describe the quality work that comes out of them: clean with strong lines, modern sophistication (but not avant garde) and a slightly quirky artistic edge.

How did you come up with your vision?

It is the way I live my life. My life has been influenced by architecture and design and my collection of art. As a board member of Boston's Institute of Contemporary Art and an avid collector, I have always designed my salons to make great backdrops for showing contemporary art. Over the years, I have collaborated with several different galleries and artists on countless installations. I love the idea of exposing my clients to new and exciting artists, and I love giving these artists a venue to showcase their work.

What feeling/mood are you trying to convey to your clients?

I want the mood and atmosphere of the salon to be modern and luxurious, but also inviting and without any pretense. We have a very eclectic clientele, and I want every client to feel pampered and comfortable.

How does the design reflect and/or contradict the city/neighborhood you’re in?

Our original salon is located in Boston’s historic Back Bay, one of the oldest neighborhoods in the country (think Paul Revere's infamous ride!), with views of the Boston Public Garden. Back Bay is filled with tree-lined streets and traditional brownstone architecture. Despite our surroundings, though, our salon is all about modern day living. It’s a modern surprise wrapped up in a much more traditional exterior.

How does the design reflect YOU?

The salon reflects my sensibilities in its modern simplicity. It's luxurious without being too fussy or contrived. It's the perfect marriage of form and function. I believe that’s what great design is all about.

What’s your favorite part of the salon?

Architecturally, my favorite part of the salon is the black Murano glass chandelier that hangs over a section of the free-form color table where clients are seated while their color is processing. I was born in Italy, where I lived until moving to the US when I was 12 years old. I try to get back as often as I can to travel and visit family. That lighting fixture is a constant reminder of my Italian heritage. Ultimately, however, my favorite part of the salon is the staff. I have a great team right now, five of whom have been with me since the salon opened over 22 years ago.

What’s the most unique aspect of your salon (design or services)?

I think the most unexpected and unique part of the salon for a new client is obvious lack of pretension and relaxed professional atmosphere. Our salon design conveys a serene, clean atmosphere. The press has been very generous with their assessment of the salon. I believe some clients may be intimidated by all the celebrities and high-profile clients that have come through the salon and all of the awards we have received over the years. New clients often are surprised by how comfortable they feel in the environment once they are actually there.

How often do you change up the space?

I believe strongly in making cosmetics changes every two to three years to keep things fresh and interesting for our clients! Styles change, and so should our environment.
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