Kim Du Salon Yorkville
TORONTO - If you blink, you’ll miss it. Not because it isn’t memorable, but because in Yorkville, things are tight. Stores are squeezed together and stacked one on top of the other and the bustle of its streets and the multi coloured store fronts always steal your attention. When I went to meet Kim Du, owner of and head stylist at Kim Du Salon in Yorkville, I did just that, walked right passed it.
Quietly nestled on the second story of an old building on Yorkville avenue, Kim Du Salon cannot be more than twenty steps long and five steps wide. But where it lacks in space it makes up for in presence.
One early evening, I sat down with Kim and talked about his salon, his career and why Yorkville is home for him. Conversation continued when I went back for a hair cut which gave me an uninterrupted hour with the Chinese Vietnamese stylist. Conversation with him was everything you would get from a friend. We talked about our favourite restaurants, deals I got on Christmas shopping, where and who family was, the holidays, and most obviously, hair.
Kim first came to Canada with his brother in the 90‘s. He didn’t know any English but he came with the one thing that really mattered: a dream. He first dabbled in hair at the age of sixteen giving his brother hair cuts. Then, his friends. Then, they paid. Even if payment was a coffee, it was payment. Then, he made the bold move to uproot his life to Canada at the impressionable age of eighteen. When I asked him how he managed without the language he said “I just smiled all the time. It’s a universal language” (That same smile is genuinely displayed often when you see him).
Then, through the power of observation, he built up his language, built up his career - worked Toronto Fashion Week, Startup Fashion Week and the Oscar de la Renta show at The Carlu - and solidified it with a name sake salon in a coveted spot in one of Toronto’s most upscale neighbourhoods.
Kim Du Salon is as welcoming as is Kim Du himself. When you walk in you’re immediately noticed, not because of the little square footage but because that is their approach. In a Yorkville minute, your jacket is hung up and a coffee or tea is on its way to your table side.
He chose Yorkville not because it’s Yorkville and Yorkville is pretty but because that is where his clients are: “I didn’t have a say. I’ve always worked in this area and my clients know me here. This salon is not for me. It’s for them”. In his twenty plus years in the profession, Kim Du has amassed quite the loyal clientele. And that’s never been more apparent than in the three years his salon has been open. His allegiance is to his clients and theirs to him.
With the holiday season now at our door step, Kim offered up some suggestions for easy, do it yourself looks (this comes in handy for hairstyle challenged individuals like myself). If you don’t have ready-time between work and party, Kim suggests a simple side loose bun. You can also scoop side strands and pin then up for a half up, half down look. If you are able to, do the same with curled hair; this look can easily transform into a full up do if you so choose.
Crucial to any look are the products and he recommends Pureology, the line he carries in his salon. For fine hair he recommends Paul Mitchell’s lemon sage thickening spray. This was used on me and I can attest that it lifts very fine hair without leaving it product heavy.
And for those products to really make a difference, he highly recommends investing in a salon quality hair dryer, a curling iron, a straightener, and bobby pins. With these four things, everything is possible.
On the one unoccupied wall in the salon, there illustrated is a maple bonsai tree, a symbol of balance, calm and rest. Painted by an 18 year old client, the tree is the center of the salon’s attention. It’s eye catching. It’s beautiful. But in a couple of months, it will no longer be there. He commissions her to paint something new every three months. With every new season comes a new painting. And just like with every new painting comes a new salon, with every hair cut comes a new woman.
102 Yorkville Ave, Upper level
Toronto, ON, M5R 1B9
Call or SMS: 647-388-8713