IT’S WELL KNOWN that in Palm Beach, Florida, there is a town edict on Perfect Hair. It’s not permissible, actually, to not have hair that is glossy, smooth and bouncy, which is how Maurice Tannenbaum found himself sailing over the Royal Palm Boulevard causeway in a convertible last January. Tannenbaum owns the salon OMG in Gladwyne, and he was in Palm Beach on business, making sure that his Gladwyne clients who winter in Florida don’t violate the hair directive. All around him, palms were elegantly aimed skyward, bougainvillea bloomed, and Rolls-Royces tooled by on the way to the Palm Beach Publix, with its convenient valet parking.
“Palm Beach is sort of like Gladwyne,” says Tannenbaum, who is fit and has big, kind brown eyes, and a ready smile. “It’s very unique and beautiful.” Truer words have never been spoken, and Tannenbaum knows of what he speaks, because he’s been traveling to Florida, his suitcase packed with ionic 1,400-watt dryers, soothing serums and highlight formulas, since the 1980s. Even in this winter’s gloomy economy, Maurice will jet south for a few days each month to tend to the heads of some of his favorite clients, such as Main Liners Sarah Ingle, Terry Frank and Helen Kaye. These clients, whom Maurice terms his “snowbirds,” are the ones who spend the months between Thanksgiving and Easter/Passover in Florida, and are firmly ensconced in the Perfect Hair crowd.
“I would never go to anyone else. I love Maurice to death,” says Frank, who recently moved from Philadelphia to Jupiter, 30 minutes north of Palm Beach. Tannenbaum charges more when he’s in Florida, and Frank gladly pays it. “I tried three different stylists in Florida, but I finally went back to Maurice. It’s one thing I never have to stress over.”
We know, of course, that Philadelphia’s most fabulous and recession-proof rich — Bruce and Robbi Toll, Jay and Carole Weitzman, Marguerite and Gerry Lenfest — pack up for Palm Beach every winter. But these days, the people who toil for the wealthy are often in coach class right behind them, commuting in the name of Perfect Hair, Pilates and party-planning, all of which are important skills in Palm Beach.
Actually, commuting to a job in Florida doesn’t sound all that bad in the miserable months from January through April. In fact, when all of Philadelphia is schlepping to work on frozen SEPTA tracks, packing up an overnight bag and your fabric samples and taking an easy two-and-a-half-hour flight to sunny West Palm sounds very appealing. And if you’re lucky, you may not be riding in coach after all.
“I’ve had clients send their plane,” says Alan Gold of Haig & Co. Salon, in Bala Cynwyd. “I go down and cut and color and lunch poolside, and then I go back the same day.”