Glitz, glamour for Paul Mitchell opening
Schenectady has seen its fair share of blah ribbon-cuttings through the years, but Thursday night’s for the Paul Mitchell School on State Street was anything but.
To many onlookers, the ceremony had the feel of a Hollywood premiere. It was a glitzy affair complete with a stretch limousine, a red carpet, faux champagne and the appearance of a billionaire.
“Wow,” said Susan Savage, chairwoman of the Schenectady County Legislature, a keynote speaker at the grand opening.
“we have not had a day like this in Schenectady before.”
The school at 411 State Street is the first Paul Mitchell franchise to open in upstate and the 10th to open under the ownership of Giulio Veglio, a Schenectady native. The school is state-approved to offer a 1,000 hour program leading to a license in cosmetology.
The school went all out for the event, according to Tracy Chesebrough, the school’s financial offer and event coordinator. “We went a little over the top.”
Chesebrough said the grand opening marked Veglio’s homecoming and the gathering of his family, including his mother and brother, Dr. Giuseppe Veglio, who is the dean of the school.
The guest of honor was John Paul DeJoria, CEO and chairman of Jean Paul Mitchell Systems, of which the school is part. DeJoria is ranked 212th on the Forbes’ list of world billionaires, with a net worth of $4 billion.
DeJoria arrived in a stretch limousine to the applause of more than 50 onlookers, most of them students of four different Paul Mitchell schools, including the State Street school.
DeJoria is friends with the Veglio family and fully supports sitting the first upstate Paul Mitchell School in Schenectady. “What makes it work is you have a community that has rebuilt itself,” he said. “The schools add youth, excitement, vigor and creates the best hairdressers in the world.”
According to his biography, DeJoria, 66, started Jean Paul Mitchell Systems, along with Paul Mitchell, in 1980 with $700 and a high school education. The company currently generates $900 million annually. DeJoria also created tequila distiller, Patron Spirits, in 1989.
With DeJoria was Robert Cromeans, the company’s “global artistic director.” He was dressed in snakeskin and sported a feather in his cowboy hat and wore a Scottish fur-lined pouch. Cromeans has received the behindthechair.com’s Stylist Choice Awards Platform Artist of the Year six times in a row.
Jack Horgan of Scotia, whose daughter, Mollie, works at the school as a teacher, said he was impressed by the display. “For Schenectady, it is top shelf,” he said. Donald Ackerman said the ceremony, with its glitz, reminded him of visits to the Tribeca Film Festival in New York City.
Josy Goncalves, a fashion journalist from Brazil, currently studying English at Schenectady County Community College, said the Paul Mitchell School is all about glitz and glamour. “This one is more in vogue” than other cosmetology schools in the area, she said.
Indeed, students, the majority of them in the 20s, did their best to be vogue Thursday. Many dressed in their tightest black or white outfits and exposed as many tattoos and piercings as possible. Some sported leather, studs, and different color hair.
One future student, Beth Kempter, said she is more interested in the school’s reputation than its cultural cache. Kempter, 54, is losing her job at the state after 25 years and plans to become a hairdresser as a second career.
“I have always been interested in hair and when I asked about the best school to attend, my friend said this one,” Kempter said. She is confident she will find a job in the industry once she graduates because of the school’s credentials.
Kempter’s friend, Barb Mento, a hairdresser for 22 years, said she was excited to see the school open. “It is great to have an academy of this caliber come to this area.”