My Dinner with Martial

New York—The other evening my friend Martial and I had dinner with our spouses at the new Alain Ducasse restaurant, Adour, in the St. Regis Hotel and decorated by übertalent David Rockwell. But we didn’t talk food at first. We talked… cosmetics. What can I say? These are modern times and Martial Vivot is one of the best haircutters in the city. He is, in fact, the first barber I’ve ever truly looked forward to seeing on Saturday mornings. Now at Townhouse Spa (his temporary digs until his eponymous salon on West 54th Street opens this summer), Martial, you see, is no ordinary barber—he’s French, grew up in East Africa, and knows as much about haute and other cuisine as does his wife, Caroline (an event planner who’s worked for Boulud and Zakarian and is now at the superflorist atelier L’Olivier). Martial also plays in a weekend band, wears Dior Homme suits while snipping, and prefers kickboxing to weight training. “What products do you use?” he asked me over the hamachi. “Cosmetics?” I asked. “You know, like facial products—soaps, masks, moisturizers. That sort of thing.” I embarrassedly looked around. Products for moi, a fiftysomething bourgeois burgher? Alas, like for just about every guy I know, the days of Ivory soap and Herbal Essences shampoo are long gone. “I want to get some really cool products into my new salon,” said Martial. “Well,” I began, “I used to always swear by Mario Badescu, but recently I’ve switched over to Lab Series.” The secret was out. “Now, I don’t use eye creams,” I stated emphatically. But then (and I seriously don’t know what came over me; perhaps it was from watching the Oscars’ red carpet the night before): “I swear by the Multi-Action face wash, the Instant Moisture gel, and the Age Rescue face lotion.” Martial seemed pleased. Both he and Caroline looked at me closely. Was it with pharmacological curiosity or just new respect? Couldn’t tell.

Lab Series Skincare For Men can be ordered through and Martial can currently be reached at Townhouse Spa (212-245-8006).