Clients of stylist Michelle Lytle’s new boutique, Salon Elle, on the second story above Bernini’s Bistro on Fay Avenue, rave about her shop and the quality of her work.
“Michelle is awesome, great to work with, very professional,” said Denise Adler. “She’s just the best.”
Amie Baldwin agreed. “She has literally taken the best setup from her experience. ... You feel very pampered.”
Before opening Salon Elle, Lytle worked for 10 years at Model Call Salon in La Jolla. Before that, the Los Angeles native who started beauty college at age 16 was a hairdresser for several 1980s glam rock bands.
A hair extension specialist, Baldwin learned her trade matching hair extensions to the hair of high-profile rockers. At age 23, she opened her first salon, Rapunzel’s, and perfected her hair-coloring techniques. She became a color educator, traveling to Europe to work with colorists from around the globe.
Her credits also include feature appearances on E Entertainment’s “Fashion Emergency,” MTV’s “Sweet 16" and JACK Radio’s “Jef & Jer Show.” Her celebrity clients include several San Diego Charger girls, international models and clothes designers. She also gives makeovers to abused women from local shelters.
Lytle claims to have the best clients. They’re a varied group, all ages, mostly women, everyone from housewives to professionals.
“I’ve been very lucky to attract the best people,” she said.
The name of Lytle’s salon derives from the last four letters of her fist name.
“It’s French for ‘her,’ ” she said.
Salon Elle’s busy staff includes four hairstylists, an assistant and three receptionists.
“Everyone’s dedicated,” Lytle said. “It makes for a really nice atmosphere.”
Lytle considers the ambiance of her salon to be one of its hallmarks. Offering a view of the Village, the newly remodeled office has been designed with silver leaf walls, custom furniture and draperies with chandelier lighting. The salon also features a private outdoor terraced patio for clients to relax before and after services. There’s even a nail salon next door.
Stylists at Salon Elle use Kerastase, Loma and Sexy Hair Concepts.
Lytle and her stylists place a high value on education. They stay current through training in color techniques, keeping in step with the latest cutting and styling trends.
Lytle always has had an interest in the makeup field.
“Fashion and hair, that’s what I wanted to do from a young age,” she said. “I was very focused and I worked very hard.”
In 1995, Lytle met her husband. He had been involved in the sales end of the beauty industry for 13 years.
“He does the bookkeeping and runs the computers,” she said.
One of the many things Salon Elle client Baldwin likes about the boutique is the relaxed atmosphere.
“Lots of times salons are kind of edgy,” she said, “too cool. You have to have the right clothes, everybody’s staring at you. Salon Elle is very laid back, relaxing. You don’t feel like you’re on a stage.”
As a hairstylist, Lytle works