Kate Gibson at Mops Beauty Shop

Street cred After hair modeling for Vidal Sassoon to make extra money during art school and subsequently working a front-desk job with Sassoon, Kate Gibson...
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Street cred After hair modeling for Vidal Sassoon to make extra money during art school and subsequently working a front-desk job with Sassoon, Kate Gibson realized she’d found her career. “I ended up watching what [the stylists] were able to do and realized it would be a great opportunity to be creative and interact with people,” she says. She dropped out of art school and enrolled in basic beauty school in Canada, followed by training at the Aveda Advanced Academy Toronto. Moving back to Chicago six years ago, she went from trying out gigs at a corporate salon and a “rock & roll” beauty shop to eventually setting up her own place, Mops Beauty Shop, with friend and colorist Krista Vaughn in 2008. She describes the salon’s theme as Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette with hot pink and robin’s-egg blue walls and cupcakes for all the clients. “[Krista and I] tell people that we’re the nerds of the industry,” Gibson says. “We like making people feel good and look good. We don’t have rock-star fantasies.”

Why we love her “I just cut my own hair for years, but I thought my bandmate’s haircut was really cute,” TOC associate photo editor Martha Williams says. “So she recommended Kate about six months ago.” Williams likes that she’s chatty, (“But she doesn’t talk your ear off”), and appreciates that her hair doesn’t look too haircutty. “She lets my hair be my hair,” Williams says. Last time she visited Gibson, the stylist convinced her to get a blow-dryer to use on occasion. “I thought I had that kind of hair that’s not manageable. But when she dried it, it stayed in position for two days,” Williams says. “After my most recent haircut, I tried to tease my hair for Halloween and it wouldn’t take. It was just too smooth and perfect.” Cuts at Mops Beauty Shop are $40–$60 for men, $50–$70 for women; color services are $60–$105. 2500 N California Ave (773-687-9990).

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