For the past seven years, Corey Shapiro has been the prominent CEO and curator at The Vintage Frames Company, the largest designer vintage eyewear archive in the world, situated in a nostalgic, fun factory warehouse in Montreal. Best known for his work with most of today’s modern-day artists and athletes, Corey has created a lifestyle and culture behind vintage sunglasses. Every morning the world tubes in to Corey’s Instagram page as he inspires his loyal following with what has become better know as #MorningInspiration by #VintageFrames. But now he has a new project on his hands: Notorious, a barbershop full of style, bling, some of the best grooming products we’ve seen, the finest liquor, and world-class barbers brought in from all parts of the world. We caught up with Corey to get more insight on this new St-Henri spot offering premium barber services for the modern gentleman.
How did this idea come about?
My partner P-Thugg (Chromeo) and I travel very often due to the industries that we are in. Everywhere in the world there was one place that we loved to spend an hour and get groomed. Unfortunately, when we came to Montreal, we did have that “one” place. Instead of constantly talking about the lack of, we decided to create.
What’s the concept of this spot?
The concept of Notorious was to create an old-school gentleman’s club, with a non-segmented atmosphere. We were determined to make a place preserving old-school heritage barber techniques and shaves while importing the world’s most elite products for our clients. When people don’t know Pee or myself, they can have mixed opinions due to our looks. We wanted a place where every age, race, and income bracket can feel welcome and comfortable being a client of.
Versace-style inspiration seems to be quite prominent around here…
Both Pee and I have been huge Versace fans for a very long time. The interesting thing about Versace is that in my opinion it was the first and most visible non-discriminating luxury brand. You could be at a showcase and have a Madison Avenue lady, Tupac, a gay dude, and your average Joe next to each other all being part of the same brand. That was exactly the feeling we wanted for Notorious. We partnered up with The Gauley Brothers and together with them we brought the vision to life.
What makes you different from other barbershops?
We have the finest barbers imported from around the world. In Quebec, you don’t need a barbers license, and people seem to give themselves “master” barber titles. All of our barbers come from different walks of life, and bring an eclectic mix of skill sets to the table. We offer exclusive services like a head massage, or hot towel shave. The products we use are typically not used for back bar format, making the quality that goes into every one of our services un-matched. The most diverse and elite product lines can be found in-house for our clients to purchase, many of which are exclusive to the shop in North America. We offer the finest scotches and champagnes to our clients, and our setting is so luxurious that there isn’t any competition.
We see Hennessey and gin on the back walls…
Those are the least impressive of the alcohol we offer in a complimentary manner to our clients who purchase a yearly membership. As a champagne fan, I have curated the most insane champagne collection in the city. Probably crazier than most restaurants. This place is really an expression of how we want to live and be treated. When I get shaved, I feel I deserve a fine drink.
What has the feedback been so far?
The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive! The local community has embraced the shop, and it has become a destination for men of all ages. The repeat business has already started in full force, and our men are proud to be served by Notorious. We have also had an immense amount of support from barbers and barbershops around the world. We are known as having barbers’ “barbers,” and a barbershop’s “barbershop.”
What services do you offer, and are they for men only?
The shop is primarily for men. We will not turn away women who want a fade or a head shave, but we will not start cutting long hair. We offer a haircut, a head massage, as well as a hot towel shave as our service. We have even gone so far as to create a $1000 shave done by a solid gold blade. It is done with gold leaf-infused shaving cream, and at the end of it all we dull the blade, make it a necklace, and give it to the client.
Hours and days of operation?
We are open 7 days a week, 10am – 9pm. Sunday and Monday are by appointment only. We encourage walk-ins.
When’s the official?opening party?
Can’t say yet, but I promise you will know!
Images by Karolina Jez