When people ask Antonio Solimeno what the latest must-have cut is, he tells them simply that there isn't one. That there hasn't been a must-have cut since the whole Jennifer Aniston thing. If you know Solimeno, you know that the Rick Owens- and Dries Van Noten-loving Italian-born, Brit-bred 30-year hair veteran would just assume give up the color black forever as cut some bland celebrity shape that isn't right for his client's face. But his easy, open, cheeky but charmingly polite way would never allow him to make that question seem as outmoded as it is.

A model at the opening party for Antonio, new in Belltown.

What I'm trying to say is, drop in on Antonio, the chic new Belltown spot between Baby and Co and the Moore Theatre, and proceed with confidence. Whether you see Solimeno or one of his team members, the emphasis is your hair, your cut, your lifestyle. And there's no attitude.

Focusing on individual style rather than trend means that haircuts are tailored to clients' personality and sensibility. There's no pressure to overstyle, no guilt trip for wash-and-wear types.

I know because I'm a wash-and-wear type, and I've been under Natasha's scissors and coloring tools, as Antonio and a few others chatted and observed while they went about their business. Inside the white-walled, high-ceilinged historic space, amid little succulent gardens and bright, poppy, future-modern decor accents, the vibe is refreshingly low-key. There are no giant, looming photographs of hair models. You won't have to wonder if their's is the hair you're supposed to have. You'll just get the hair you're supposed to have. 

A model at the opening party for Antonio, new in Belltown.

As much importance is placed on your individual style and lifestyle, there's an emphasis on the team's style and lifestyle, too.

"I didn't want to hire hairstylists. I wanted to hire people," Solimeno told me. He sees Seattle as a place that's been becoming more and more adventurous, creative, experimental, and real since 2001 when he moved here. He told me a story about returning to the UK to celebrate his wedding anniversary and eating in a celebrated restaurant there. The food was horrible—at least in comparison to what he and his wife have come to love about Northwest cuisine.

While you can still find people around town who want to talk about what Seattle isn't, these days there are more and more people who believe that it's something pretty amazing and are working hard to make it even more so. The people at Antonio are those kinds of people.

A model at the opening party for Antonio, new in Belltown.

Antonio Solimeno at the opening of his salon in Belltown.


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