Even at noon on a weekday, ElevenSpa Vegas owner Nikki Oden is impeccably styled in a dark, designer shift and heels. She strides through construction workers laying tape without missing a stiletto-clad step.
Oden is touring the nearly finished ElevenSpa Vegas, which will open in mid-February at Town Square. The founder of the 11,000 ElevenSpa in Delray Beach, Oden takes style and comfort very seriously. Walking through her new Vegas outpost, she pauses to describe each station’s imported materials and embedded philosophy.
The pedicure chairs will be massive and overstuffed, set high against the wall like thrones in Alice’s Wonderland. The women’s locker room will be staffed with apprentices to provide post-shower blowouts at half-price. A table inset with ivory-colored sinks will be dedicated to hand care. Oden gestures with a manicured wave to the empty air beside it, describing the butler who will chivalrously provide a towel.
“Modern women typically ignore their hands, and it’s the part of the body that ages the fastest,” Oden’s observation prompts me to fold my desert-chafed pair behind my back. “Women in the ‘40s and ‘50s gave them a lot of attention.”
Oden is correct. I’ve been catching up on episodes of Mad Men and enviously noting that not one finger brings a cigarette to peaches and cream lips without a matte coating of pink.
Every nuance is the product of Oden’s unfulfilled wishes from other spas, and the design is intent on inspiring “old Hollywood” glamour. In fact, Oden doesn’t want ElevenSpa to function solely as a salon and spa. Besides a shopping boutique flush with the reception desk, the spacious center room is hung with crystal chandelier strings dropping into individual pools. A bar stretches along the back wall and the makeup stations motorize up and down the long, side table for either a makeover or cocktail hour seating.
“The whole center area will also serve as a venue for cocktail parties,” Oden says. “We’ll be holding a lot of events here.”
Not the least of which will be a grand-opening party and fashion show.
Opening alongside the spa is a high-end salon that Oden assures me will feature custom furniture and already showcases a designer name: hairstylist Ken Paves.
Paves is also touring the spa this day and has not seen the space in months.
He peeks in on Oden’s salon-chair interview with a wave, unassuming but for a sharp blue suit. A flurry of hugs and exclamations ensues.
“I had to pick my mother up off the floor,” he enthuses.
Paves is a powerhouse when it comes to hot hair. His work has appeared in countless fashion magazines and on the heads of clients like Jennifer Lopez, Jessica Simpson and Eva Longoria.
Taking his own chair, Paves quickly asserts his hesitation to emblazon his name on a storefront pane of glass. “I don’t ever want to get work by networking.” Nope, Paves says he craves inspiration and partnered up with Oden because “they spoke the same language” about retro, undone glamour.
“At the moment, there is this really tangible beauty that’s happening, this theme that’s all about embracing a woman’s natural beauty and also her individuality,” Paves says. “It’s something I found unique to Nikki when I met her. She has this element of glamour that she lives through; she saunters through with this ‘40s or ‘50s screen siren vibe.”
A session with the celebrity hair-stylist commands top prices, but a few hours with Paves packages two makeovers in one – an external style that highlights individual beauty and some pretty serious psychotherapy as well.
“The most beautiful thing about a woman that she typically ignores about herself is self. Women are incredibly selfless,” Paves says.
He launches into a description of his makeovers. Soon to be available on the Las Vegas Strip, Paves says they often include introspection, tears and then a revelation of self-appreciation that bucks standardized ideals. Oh, and of course, undone glamour.