On the heels of the Steven Mancini salon moving to Westport, Carline Dean is excited about finally opening her new hair salon, Illuminations Salon and Color Bar, in Wilton.

“This has been my dream! Finally!” she says as she welcomes a visitor to the location at 23 Danbury Rd., at the corner of Rte. 7 and Kent Rd..

She and her husband, Christopher, purchased the building in October, 2013, with the goal to open a 3,200 sq. ft., full-service hair and beauty salon in last summer. The space designated as the salon on the top floor at the front of the building needed major renovation and redesign, so in the meantime they opened Lace Affaire, a lingerie and active wear boutique in the area on the ground floor.

“The whole premise of owning the property was for owning the salon, it just took us that long because we wanted the building to be in perfect condition. There were a lot of things to do—we made the foundation more solid, completely renovated the interiors.”

While opening the salon is her dream come true, Dean calls it her “dream deferred—it just took a while.” She used to work in investment banking, and after a successful 16-year career on Wall Street, she was ready for something entirely different–including going to cosmetology school two years ago. As she told GOOD Morning Wilton when we profiled her last year, her business background helped her identify what she felt was a niche in Wilton that needed to be filled.

“It was just a smart move. It was a good fit for the salon and for me. I’ve always been interested in hair and makeup and fashion, since I was 12.”

Dean says she looks at the salon like her stage, and performing to make the client happy. “I like the trust relationship, a client letting someone be really creating and trusting them that they’ll do the best that they can for you. I enjoy wowing my client, but also give them what they need—what suits them best for their lifestyle, what suits their face, their skin tone and eye color. I like to give 110-percent behind the chair, because it’s got to be all about the client.”

It’s a philosophy she says she has stressed with all the staff who have joined Illuminations. In addition to Dean, right now there are two other stylists—Terryann Cervone and Paige Skinner—and she is looking to hire more.

Illuminations will offer a wide range of services:  haircuts for women, men and children; styling; hair color; smoothing treatments; makeup application and lessons; and more.

She also offers one-stop-shopping for anyone in the market for intimate apparel, swimwear, activewear and accessories, with Lace Affaire downstairs. She smartly included a retail area upstairs and an open staircase between Illuminations and the retail store on the lower level.

“My customers love the atmosphere downstairs. I wanted it to be an all-woman building, it’s got all the essentials for every woman. Shop for a gift, for yourself, get properly fitted for a bra, pick up your resort wear and get prepped for a night out all in one place,” she says and laughs, “It’s a time-saver!”

In designing the salon, Dean aimed to create an upscale feel inside, with Venetian plaster finishes and gold toned stylist chairs and at the hair washing station. It’s all bright, light and true to the image Dean had in mind when she chose the name “Illuminations.”

“Not only do we illuminate people when we highlight their hair, we’re illuminating lives. Clients walk in and they’ll feel a bit happier when they leave, and illuminated. It’s a happy name,” she says.

Illuminations is located at 23 Danbury Rd., and the phone number is 203.762.6140. Haircuts range from $30-$50 for kids and teens; $75-$150 for women; foiling services will range from $110-$180. Smoothing treatment costs will depend by consultation. The salon will also carry the Beth Minardi color line exclusively in this area. 

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