The Art of Beauty


Julie Dickson photographed by Jocelyn Jeffery

Words by Jocelyn Jeffery

Julie Dickson, owner of Fox & Boy salon in New York City, shares her style inspiration and beauty secrets with us.

What inspired you to open Fox & Boy?

In New York there is a great divide between uptown and downtown salons. Typically uptown salons provide great service but tend to be a bit uptight. Smaller downtown salons tend to be more relaxed but the quality of the work can be questionable. I wanted to create a place that not only did great work but provided a cozy, comfortable, inviting environment. A salon has to have sinks, chairs and mirrors but the rest can be more exciting. We have a mid-century modern cocktail cart that we use as a magazine stand and antique music cabinets that we use as stylist stations.

How did you come up with the name?

Names are so difficult. I wanted something simple and personal but I didn’t want to put my name on the door. Fox & Boy is a game that my kids played. The little one would pretend she was a Fox and the older one (boy) would chase her around.

How would you describe the Fox & Boy concept?

It’s my goal to provide people with what they want. I concentrate on giving cuts and promoting hairstyles that work with people’s face shapes in addition to working with their natural hair texture. A perfectly cut accent piece can beautifully give the illusion of opening someone’s eye or lifting a cheekbone. For color, I always look at the eyes, skin tone, etc. For example, if someone has cool blue eyes and a warm pink skin tone, it’s an indication that they need both warm and cool tones in their hair color.

How would you describe your personal style?

I like discord. Classic and elegant mixed with a bit of counterculture. I’m tall so I have a lot of my dresses made, which I think can come off as a little stuffy so I always keep something amiss; a homemade up-do, a bra strap showing, or scuffed flats. My favorite flats are 5-year-old Pradas that are scuffed up beyond belief. I also love tomboy style but I’m curvy so I have to be careful. There’s nothing better than a good pair of trousers with a perfect crew neck or button up. When I wear labels I don’t like them to be immediately identifiable. For example, one of my favorite day bags is Celine but most people wouldn’t know it because it’s not one of their classic bucket bags.

How, in your opinion, do art, design, fashion and beauty play off of each other?

I think that design follows fine art, fashion follows design, and hair follows fashion with some obvious political and musical variables factored in. For example, the minimalist art movement in the 1960’s and 1970’s, the era of Frank Stella, co-existed with minimalist furniture and design. When post-minimalism came onto the scene, fashion really started to follow suit with the high fashion public embracing Halston and Calvin Klein in the early 1970’s. With wash and go fabrics so popular in high fashion, hair was soon to follow. Women no longer wanted to get a weekly wash and set, they wanted to be able to shampoo and style their hair at home, therefore more natural hairstyles became popular. The same thing happened in the 1980’s. Artists like Basquiat were using bright colors and textures, which inspired a mish mash of over the top furniture design, then crazy cartoony clothes followed with over accessorizing, which were finally followed with the big 1980’s hair. Especially in New York city, I feel like I’d really have to have my head in the sand not to know what was going to happen next.

Are there any artists that you particularly admire?

I love Cecily Brown because she’s a smart and complex woman. She’s not afraid of sex, darkness, light, or showing the sweetness of being a mother in her work. I have a wonderful signed lithograph of hers and every time I look at it I see something new. I’m also into David Shrigley. We have a lot of examples of his art in the salon in addition to a few of his books lying around. He’s simultaneously dark and hilarious. I could picture us being friends. He’d be the kind of friend I’d lie around with eating cereal all day.

Tell us about a few of your favourite things.

Mason Pearson brushes, brussels sprouts, Bill Beauford’s book – Among The Thugs, Pellegrino by the case, my daughter’s face drawings, my BLK DNM motorcycle jacket, eyeglasses, Cartier, discord, scuffed shoes, beautiful coats, Ike and Tina, good umbrellas and people who are unapologetically honest.

Do you consider yourself a collector? If so, what do you collect?

I collect glasses and sunglasses. I love that everyday I can convey a completely different look.

Where do you find your beauty inspiration?

I look at the classics. Patti Boyd, Brit Eckland, Catherine Deneuve and Lauren Bacall. I also love wonderful rock and roll girls like Joan Jett, anything Grace Coddington, girls from the folk music era with their simple skirts and loafers, red headed children, city parks, old ladies hanging out on the stoops on Mulberry Street in their housecoats, and those wonderful foggy greenish mornings in brownstone Brooklyn after the rain.

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