Marie Louise Salon

There may be a reoccurring theme on my blog, hair salons. I certainly do like a good hair style, the bigger the better.

Growing up in Newtown there was one place I loved walking past each day on the way to school in the 80s and 90s, one place you could be assured that the hair was big, curled, set and teased within an inch of its life: Marie Louise Salon. The mecca of  perms, hot rollers, hairspray and blue rinse. The fragrant aroma of perm solution and hot hair from the dryers wafted on to Enmore Rd creating an exotic bouquet that grabbed your attention, if the distinctive shop front hadn’t already.

It was a little hard to ignore the bright pink and purple pressed metal shop front, with window displays adorned with a set of large-lashed eyes, plastic flowers, gaudy vases and client photos. In fact, it still is hard to pass by without admiring the intact signage and its flowery 50s script typography.

Set up in the 40s and run by brother and sister Nola and George Mezher, they also founded a soup kitchen ‘Our Lady of Snows’ in the city when they won the lottery in the 80s.

Sadly Nola passed on a few years ago and the shop was shut up, with the contents untouched until it was purchased recently. With the neighbourhood nervous about its future speculation was rife: would the new owners be philistines and rip out the features that made this a local icon? More importantly could we have a look inside? Is it still untouched?

This past weekend the doors were thrown open by the gorgeous weekend caretaker and everyone was invited to have a sticky-beak inside, the entire contents of the shop were for sale so people could own their own piece of local history.

It was amazing to wander through the shop and even the living quarters upstairs. Stock was still lining the shelves, rollers stacked in trays waiting for the next customer, capes draped over chairs and plastic flowers every where. It was both fabulous and very eery.

I remember being disappointed that I wasn’t able to visit the salon for my year 12 formal hair, as Nola had started only opening sporadically then (back in the mid-90s cough) so I am happy that I could walk through the store I remembered as a child, as an adult and appreciate it a little more.

Thanks to the new owners and the lovely caretaker for allowing the public one last viewing of this much treasured icon.

 

  • Oh, I SO wish I could have gone last weekend. I’ve only been living in the inner west for a few years, but everytime I’m on Enmore Road I look at it fondly and think about what it was like inside!
    So happy to hear the new owner is going to keep the front intact. Love the story.
    x

  • What a sensational place, I remember walking past the Marie-Louise almost daily when I lived in Newtown, but never once ventured in. Now I regret so much that I didn’t!! I bet the new owners turn it into a cafe. Sigh x

  • It looks like it belongs on the set of Steel Magnolias or something! A real blast from the past. Thanks for sharing xxx

  • I was unable to make the opening of the store but you’ve done a wonderful job of filling me on the background of the store and sharing your gorgeous pictures. It’s stories and events like these that make me love the inner-west.

  • Money Mummy

    Dropping in from Maxabella’s rewind – thanks so much for posting this! I moved to the inner west 6 years ago and am obsessed with that shop. I missed the opening so I am so glad you blogged about it!