Viva la VT Salon and Spa!

There are people that flounder for years trying to figure out what their true calling is, hopping from one career to another from one year to the next – never feeling deeply called to any one profession. Then there are those that know exactly what they’re supposed to do from their earliest imaginings; the ones that hit the ground running in the direction of their dreams and let neither trial nor tribulation stop them…and that’s Violette Tonuzi.

One of five sisters, Violette grew up with a built-in clientele on whose heads she’d experiment and teach herself – through trial and error – the basics of hair styling. At just 15 years old she enrolled in Beauty School and began to pave the way to her destiny. She honed her craft and worked hard to open Cavale Tonuzi Salon with then-partner Robert Cavale, which debuted on 78th street in 1982. Almost two thriving, decadent, decades later, she found that her business had outgrown its space. So, they kept the name and relocated five blocks south to 83rd Street and Third Avenue in 2000, adding a full service Spa to their offerings.

In the years that would follow, Cavale Tonuzi flourished and cultivated a wonderful roster of loyal clients. All ages, walks of life, men and women, equally drawn to the warm, easygoing, all-are-welcome feeling and exceptionally talented staff. In an unanticipated turn of events, after about a 10 successful years at their second location, the winds of change would unexpectedly dictate another move and Violette suddenly found herself looking for a new address to house her beloved Salon for the third time in as many decades.

Operating under the idea that the third abode will, indeed, be the charm, Violette joined forces with long-time friend and employee Mindy Felice and as newly formed business partners opened the doors to the VT Salon and Spa at 9718 Third avenue in July, 2014 (already expanding just last month into the space what was once “Dominick The Barber” next door).

Violette’s aesthetics and energy are immediately evident in the decor and ambiance – yin and yang in perfect harmony. The Salon side looks like an industrial modern loft, incorporating a concrete floor and exposed brick and mortar which, to Violette, represent a solid foundation and are symbolic of hard work and strength (key words by which she has lived and built her business). The Spa side is beyond a billowing gossamer curtain, where you’re soon ensconced in soft light and a quiet, minimalist, Zen-calm. Those traits have also woven themselves into the rich history of this Brooklyn institution.

Through each address and incarnation – every high and low – that serene focus has made for resilience and flexibility even in the throes of metamorphosis. She’s intentionally left the dividing wall between. Salon and Spa stark white- a large space upon which she intends to exhibit an ever changing “gallery” of pieces by local artists- adding to the atmosphere of wonderful creative flux.

Asked what she loves best about her job, Violette quickly answers that it’s the reinvention, transformation and the instant gratification in revamping someone’s whole look (and often their perspective) in just one hour. She genuinely enjoys the cathartic power of physical change even through her own style (long straight beachy blonde hair that falls casually over her shoulders, natural glowing skin, neutral- toned clothes, etc…) has always remained unwaveringly classic. As yet another reflection of its co-proprietress, VT Salon is a proud user and retailer of Davines Hair Products, an Italian natural haircare line that strives to balance clean, simple, beauty and sustainability. She confesses to living the ontrend, wild, looks vicariously through some of her more daring clients and employees.

When asked what she envisions for 2015, she happily declares it “THE YEAR OF TAKING CARE OF YOU! Healthy hair, healthy skin, healthy body- from the inside out!”

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