17 Sep Event Recap: Salon Opening of Karma by Erwin Gomez
by ATFDC Contributor Sasha Triella
Unfurrow your brow, for the brow king Erwin Gomez is back with his new tony salon, Karma, in the ever more haute West End at 24th and L.
“I’m so glad that it’s finally put together,” said a revved looking Gomez—the dapper horn-rimmed, three-pieced gent having his snaps taken with clients, colleagues, and other pals at the beauty lounge’s open house Thursday night. “It’s a blessing,” he said looking upon the glammed spillover crowd of more than 400. Thanks to the support of his admiring friends, “I’ve done it before,” he said, but “this is the new look of Erwin Gomez.”
The makeup whisperer to the stars (Eva Longoria, Stevie Wonder, Maria Shriver, Jennifer Garner, Barbra Streisand, Rosario Dawson …) has done it before—at his eponymously named Georgetown spa. That was, of course, before his personal and business relationship with James Packard melted down in a brutally public way recounted in squirm-inducing detail by Alexandra Robbins in the December 2011 Washingtonian.
But that’s all water under the marble rinse sink now. With backers including Eden lounge owners Kunal Shah and Vinoda Basnayake, and developers Brook Rose and Charles Paret, Gomez, known as a top specialist in eyebrow shaping particularly, is launching not just Karma but, next month, also his own mid-priced Erwin Gomez Cosmetics line custom-manufactured in Germany and intended to hip-check MAC and Sephora. It will include a mid-price menu of foundations, eye shadows, pencils, mascara, and lipstick.
Thursday’s crowd—including Top Chef’s Spike Mendelsohn, Moet Hennessy USA’s Michael Pelissier, developers Mark and Elise Lefkowitz, and celebrity plastic surgeon Ayman Hakki—accompanied their gourmet veggie rolls, miniature tacos, and the like with Belvedere Lemon Tea cocktails and Terrazas wine, while taking in beats from DJ Biks. They had a chance to admire Karma’s quarters, which, befitting the spa’s name, are spacious and calming in flatteringly lit earth tones, with strategically placed floor and ceiling mirrors magnifying its impressive 4,000 square feet of Moroccan-accented industrial-modern fixtures.
Karma is starting out with a staff of about 20, Gomez said, but he hopes it will grow to twice that. And beyond artistry, the elegant shop’s signature—as at his earlier endeavors in Georgetown and, before that, at Red Door—will be highly attentive customer service, beginning with clients’ interviewing potential beauty personnel on an individual basis before working with them. After all, Gomez explains, that’s how you’d go about hiring an artist, and that’s what these specialists are.
In his new makeup line, his shop, his clientele, and his colleagues, Gomez says, he’s anticipating “the best of the best.” After some bumpy times, it seems, his Karma is indeed aglow.
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photos by Alex Kafka for All Things Fashion DC