We Know You’ll Want to Shop at Alison Lou’s New Salon. You May Also Want to Move In

Ingrid Abramovitch
·3-min read
Photo credit: Patrick Cline
Photo credit: Patrick Cline

From ELLE Decor

If it was up to Alison Chemla, the new salon for her jewelry brand Alison Lou, on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, would have had minimalist white walls with furniture to match—the better to show off her whimsical, colorful gems. But when the maximalist interior designer Sasha Bikoff is your best friend, quiet understatement is not an option.

“Sasha loves jewelry, and she is very extra,” says Chemla (above at right), who met the ELLE Decor A-List designer when they were teenagers growing up in New York. “When she said, ‘Let’s do gold wallpaper,’ I told her she was insane and I wouldn’t do it. But she slowly pushed me. Now I have gold walls and her Disco Dots rug."

Photo credit: Patrick Cline
Photo credit: Patrick Cline

For Bikoff, there was no question that her friend’s best-selling jewelry deserved a fabulous backdrop. The label has become a hit both for its quirky sensibility—think studs in the shape of croissants and ice cream cones; Mini Lip By the Yard bracelets; cocktail rings with gems encased in enamel—and its star-studded clientele. Alison Lou’s Loucite Jelly Hoops (in colors like Creamiscle and Flamingo) have been spotted on celebs such as Tracee Ellis Ross, Selena Gomez, and Gigi Hadid. And Chemla is increasingly the jeweler of choice for millennial brides, who covet the engagement rings she created for stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Emily Ratajkowski.

Photo credit: Patrick Cline
Photo credit: Patrick Cline

“Every girl I know is obsessed with Alison Lou,” Bikoff says. “We wanted a space where she could come in, have an espresso or Champagne, take a picture on the Lips sofa, and try on jewelry.”

For inspiration, Bikoff looked to atmospheric jewelry salons like JAR, the legendary all-purple Parisian jewelry shop, and Solange Azagury-Partridge’s red velvet London flagship. “What we created is unique to Alison,” Bikoff notes. “We used her enamel jewelry colors and gave it a millennial edge.”

Photo credit: Patrick Cline
Photo credit: Patrick Cline

To create the feeling of being inside of a jewel box, Bikoff knew that the gold-leaf wallpaper was a must. She designed lacquered jewelry cases in colors based on four of Alison Lou’s signature enamel hues: tomato red, light blue, mint, and violet. The main salon is furnished with a vintage sofa shaped like lips, a pair of Milo Baughman swivel chairs in a Fabricut velvet, and amethyst side tables by Matthew Studios. The rug is from Bikoff’s Disco Dots collection. And the vending machine dispenses Loucite Jelly hoops encased in plastic bubbles.

The cozy atmosphere is designed to make customers feel relaxed. “It shouldn’t be a rushed experience,” Chemla says. “Having a space where people feel comfortable is really important.”

One of the most striking spaces is the powder room, with its bright red walls and heart-patterned tile floor, as well as graphic art that Bikoff found on Etsy.

Photo credit: Patrick Cline
Photo credit: Patrick Cline

A back room leads to Alison Lou’s office and a conference room where the walls are wrapped in another of Bikoff’s signature designs, her Favorite Things wallpaper for Vervain, where the iconography—from croissants to lips—echoes her friend’s jewelry designs. It’s the perfect space for dreaming up custom pieces, like an enamel ring and bracelet set that Chemla designed for her friend based on Bikoff’s pastel furniture designs for Versace.

Photo credit: Patrick Cline
Photo credit: Patrick Cline

Despite her initial resistance, Chemla is thrilled with how her new showroom turned out. And Bikoff wouldn’t have it any other way. “I attribute my career to Alison,” she says. “When I was working at an art gallery and decorating my apartment and helping others with their places, she would say, ‘Why don’t you become a decorator?’ I finally did it. That time, she was the one who pushed me.”

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