Leslie Arlene Aviles has years of experience in the hair care and styling industry, working at upscale local salons for years before breaking out on her own. When she decided to open a salon a year and a half ago, however, she returned to the Kenner neighborhood where she grew up to bring her old friends and new customers hair coloring, cutting and styling services at reasonable prices in a cozy studio that serves entire families.
Leslie's Studio (3400 Florida Ave., Kenner, 461-4759), a block off Williams Boulevard near W. Esplanade Avenue, is a comfortable, unpretentious setting for this Paul Mitchell Systems signature salon. The service is unpretentious as well, with Aviles performing most of the work herself, aided only by her mother, Daisy Aviles, also a licensed beautician who usually is busy with manicures and pedicures in a "nail" room that resembles a living room.
"It's quaint, it's quiet. I like to give them a laid-back atmosphere," Leslie Aviles says. "I have a lot of old friends who come in (as customers) and many, many new friends. They feel at home here. We have entire families come in here with kids that I've seen growing up." Her customers range from children to high schoolers who attend Archibishop Chapelle and Bonnabel high schools to women and men her mother's age.
In addition to duties at her shop, Aviles is a national educator and color trainer for Paul Mitchell products, of which she carries a full line in her shop, from conditioning hair color to Rogaine topical treatments for men and women. "I'm constantly being trained and updated on new looks," she says. "That's why I'm associated with Paul Mitchell -- I believe in the products and they keep you current (on the latest styles). My clients expect that."
Besides coloring, cutting and styling, Aviles also offers permanents, straightening and anything else people need done to their hair, but coloring is her specialty, and corrective coloring -- fixing bad color jobs customers received elsewhere or did themselves -- is a growing business, she says.
"There's a lot of color correction that needs to be done, and I make it affordable," Aviles says. "People say that you get what you pay for, but here you get more."
Leslie's Studio is open Tuesday through Friday, and Aviles says she usually stays open until 8 p.m. on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays to accommodate customers who work. She also will schedule appointments on Sunday and Monday, her normal days off, when needed.
Locals will have a chance to immerse themselves in Italian products and culture during a two-day "Italia: Life in I-Style" event at Rubensteins (102 St. Charles Ave., 581-6666) during store hours Friday and Saturday.
The event, a joint project between Rubensteins and the Italian Trade Commission, will include four trunk shows, the opening of The Apothecary at Rubensteins -- the only place in Louisiana to buy Santa Maria Novella and Acqua di Parma fragrance and grooming products -- an in-store display of Ducati Motorcycles, cooking demonstrations featuring truffles by Bacco, opera singers, and samplings of Italian olive oil, vinegar and exotic liquors.
The trunk shows will feature luxurious fabric swatches used to make suits by Ermenegildo Zegna, fashion samples by Zanella, men's shoes by Bruno Magli and women's shoes by Giuseppe Zanotti Designs. During the Ermenegildo Zegna trunk show, anyone who orders a made-to-measure suit will be eligible for a drawing for $100,000 to go to their favorite charity.
It's a Beautiful Thing
Friends of Jefferson the Beautiful is holding a patron party and gala from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Oct. 25 in Old Metairie to raise funds for beautification projects in Jefferson Parish.
The non-profit organization helps to raise funds for landscaping medians and other public green spaces in the parish, in cooperation with the Jefferson Parish Parkways Department's beautification projects.
"Autumn Affair ... An Affair to Remember" begins with a patron party from 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. at 570 Woodvine Ave., Metairie, that includes an open house and live auction. The gala, from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. on Englewood Parkway, features music, food, exhibits, door prizes and entertainment. Tickets start at $50. Call 833-TREE for more information.
Longue Vue House and Gardens (7 Bamboo Road) will hold its annual Catherine Brown Memorial Lecture at 6 p.m. Oct. 30. The lecture, named in honor of Louisiana-born and nationally respected urban design expert Catherine Brown, features Miriam Guttfreund Lehrer addressing "A Woman's Place: A Woman's Perspective in the Making of Multicultural Public Places."
Reservations are required. Admission is free, but attendees are encouraged to make a donation at the door. Call 488-5488 for more information or to register.
- Customer Ann Ganucheau receives highlights and a cut from hair stylist and proprietor Leslie Aviles at Leslie's Studio in Kenner.