It seems lately that any salon or spa you visit in the Los Angeles area has some sort of celebrity roster. Most salon owners or techs discreetly reveal that this movie star or that rock star occasionally comes in for services. But at my most recent salon visit to Chinoiserie, I discovered there’s nothing discreet about its celebrity clientele. In fact, the bustling salon on Ventura Boulevard proudly displays framed headshots of about 100 stars on its walls, all personally signed. Owner Tamie Ly is so in demand that she often makes house calls for those celebrities who can afford it. And more recently she’s been working on movie sets as a personal manicurist. Ly has owned Chinoiserie for four years, has been a nail tech for 16, and has always worked in the star-studded area, where she garnered her reputation as a top- notch nail technician.
Ventura Boulevard is home to Valley girls, ladies who lunch, wannabe actors and actresses, and everything else in-between. Surrounding businesses on either side of the salon span two miles and include everything from clothing boutiques to full-service salons to juice bars. Chinoiserie services all types, including an impressive teen and male clientele. The salon specializes in blended French tips, but I opted for a manicure and pedicure, performed by two of the salon’s seven nail techs. The 1,500 sq.-ft. salon is styled in Asian decor, including pink matte walls with orchid flowers hand painted throughout, while the techs wear uniform beige-embroidered kimonos.
Ly borrowed her salon’s name from the French term “chinoiserie,” a style of decoration influenced by the exoticism of the East. Its origin dates back to 17th century adventurers importing luxurious goods from China to the extravagant salons of Europe. Elements of chinoiserie are prevalent in fashion, decor, and design. Ly couldn’t have picked a better word.