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The Paris salon behind Deneuve’s blonde, reborn

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“There are no ugly women, just women who look dull,” Maria and Rosy Carita once said casually. In 1945, the two hairdresser sisters launched their beauty brand Carita, presented themselves as architects of “metamorphosis” and brought indulgence back to post-war Paris by opening a house on rue du Faubourg-Saint-Honoré in 1952. Royalty and film stars flocked to the address for a head-to-toe beauty service – the Duchess of Windsor even had a private salon. Their most famous legacies? Jean Seberg’s boy made for Jeanne D’Arcthis nuanced “Deneuve” blond, and the bangs of Françoise Hardy.

Grace Kelly leaves the Maison de Beauté in the late 1950s

Grace Kelly left the Maison de Beauté in the late 1950s © DR/Patrimonie Carita

“These are legendary founders,” says Elisabeth Sandager, global president of the Carita brand, responsible for relaunching Carita, acquired by L’Oréal in 2014. In addition to the overhaul of the visual identity and the release of 19 new formulas, Sandager has prioritized the resurrection of the Faubourg temple of beauty. “That’s where it all started, and although this sense of belonging was new to L’Oréal, I insisted,” she says. Overall, this investment positions Carita at the pinnacle of L’Oréal luxury care.

The Carita sisters plan their salon at the Hilton Hotel, 1966

The Carita sisters set up their living room at the Hilton hotel, 1966 © Roger-Viollet/DR/Patrimonie Carita

A model has a body treatment with Renovateur, c1970

A model has her body treated with Renovateur, around 1970 © DR/Patrimoine Carita

The new Carita ‘house’ opened in September after a two-year overhaul by Cristiano Benzoni and Sophie Thuillier of Rev/Studio. The design revolves around a dramatic colonnade at the entrance to the store that leads to a stark white atrium revealing an 1,800 m² six-storey beauty center. On the ground floor, the offer is surprisingly uncluttered and there are vast lounges equipped with Pierre Paulin sofas. Upstairs, 11 beauty suites offer a treatment menu that reflects the treatment protocol established by the sisters.

The new Carita House rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré

The new Carita Maison rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré © Benoit Linero

Exfoliating lotion Carita Renovator

Exfoliating lotion Carita Renovator

Carita Lagoon Hypertonic Cream

Carita Lagoon Hypertonic Cream

Carita Cristal Morphological Serum

Carita Cristal Morphological Serum

Carita Pearly Oil

Carita Pearly Oil

“They invented a three-step process, but also beauty technology and a choreographed facial massage,” says Sandager. L’Oreal is betting on micro-current technology as its tool of the day and has sourced a gadget called the Promorphose RF for the brand.

On the second floor, a café and an 85 m² hairdressing salon presided over by the French hairdresser John Nollet, a superstar in the line of the founders who takes care of the hair of Vanessa Paradis and Monica Bellucci. For those A-listers, the third floor houses a private apartment with living room, dining room, hair salon, and double treatment room. “You can spend the day here, or longer if you want,” says Sandager.

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