Former Oprah show stylist opens blow-dry bar in Highland Park
BY CYNTHIA WOLF | Contributor March 1, 2013 3:02PM
After leaving the Oprah show, Glenview resident Vivian Arpino entered a new phase in her career by opening a blow-dry bar in Highland Park. Last week, she styled Highland Park resident Carmella LaValle's hair. | Michael Schmidt~Sun-Times Media
A blow-dry bar
ADDRESS: 1872 Sheridan Road, Highland Park
HOURS: Open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday; 9 a.m. to noon Sundays
CONTACT: (847) 681-9180; www.bloouts.com
Updated: March 27, 2013 1:51PM
HIGHLAND PARK — The Duchess of York. Maria Shriver. Al Gore.
These are just a few of the notables whose pre-Oprah-appearance coiffures were tended by Vivian Arpino, a stylist trained by Chicago salon legend Charles Ifergan. For 22 years, Arpino was a celebrity guest stylist for “The Oprah Winfrey Show” — taking the lead in that role starting in 1995.
It was a dream gig, the 46-year-old Glenview resident said, but as the Oprah finale approached last May, it became clear the job was one that wouldn’t last forever.
So what’s a girl to do next?
“I never imagined I’d go out on my own,” Arpino said. “But everyone said ‘Oh, you should open up your own salon. You’d do great.’”
Arpino eventually agreed, and recently opened a blow-dry bar at 1872 Sheridan Road in Highland Park.
At BloOuts, clients can have a wash and dry for $35, an updo with wash and dry for $55, and more. A full menu of services and prices is available at www.bloouts.com.
The concept of a blow-dry bar, where scissors and color are not part of the scene, is new to the Chicago area, Arpino said, adding that it is popular on the coasts. It was appealing to Arpino because the work mirrors that which she’d been doing for the past couple of decades.
After a complete makeover of her 780-square-foot space, fully stocked with Oribe styling products, Arpino opened for business Feb. 17. As of late February, she had five employees, including her receptionist and four stylists, with plans to hire one or two more.
The receptionist, Arpino’s nephew Robert Noia, called his new job atmosphere “perfection,” and clients are claiming a great value.
“I’m watching people come in and out and look completely different,” he said.
“It is exciting,” agreed Arpino. “Highland Park has been very nice to us so far.”
Part of the excitement for clients might be perusing the famous framed manes.
Thoughtfully arranged on accent walls in the urban chic space are numerous photos of Arpino with celebs whose hair she teased, tousled and tucked to perfection.
There’s Robert Pattinson, Sandra Bernhard, George W. Bush — the list goes on.
“When I first started, I was a little intimidated to meet the celebrities. But I thought, you know what, it’s just hair,” she said. “Just because it’s on Tom Cruise, I shouldn’t be intimidated.”
If anyone’s hair was difficult, Arpino isn’t saying. Of one actor with famously “swoopy” hair, though, she did relate an anecdote.
“(Robert Pattinson) has got great hair,” she said. “He doesn’t want it to be touched, but I had to get my hands in there.”
Anyone visiting BloOuts will get equal star treatment, Arpino said.
“We will always have continuing education to make sure we’re on top of the latest trends,” she said, “and that each and every person who leaves here is chic and happy.”