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The Schmooze

Meet The Businessman Behind Montreal’s $1,000 Shave

As a suggestion for those male politicians who have been embroiled in scandals over the cost of their haircuts – French President Francois Holland, the now-forgotten John Edwards, Bill Clinton – it might be best to avoid Montreal’s most unnecessarily luxurious men’s salon, Notorious. As The Star’s Giuseppe Valiante reported on August 28th, the shop offers at least one service of frankly depressing ostentatiousness: a $1,000 shave.

The shave is the creation of Corey Shapiro, the Montreal businessman behind the celebrity-adored sunglasses company Vintage Frames who co-owns Notorious with Patrick Gemayel of Chromeo fame. As Valiante relates it, Shapiro’s inspiration for the glitzy procedure came one night when he purchased gold flakes to garnish his sushi, as you do. He quickly realized that the gold wasn’t reaching its full potential on sushi; its true majesty would only be realized if it was added to shaving cream.

The result is a needlessly extravagant affair; those purchasing the shave have their faces slathered in gold-infused shaving cream, and then have that cream lovingly scraped off by a custom-made 10-karat gold razor blade. Once all troublesome hairs have been removed – as they likely will be, every subsequent disappointing day of the customer’s life, with lowly drugstore materials – the barber dulls the blade, punches a hole through it, and the customer leaves with it as a necklace. Notorious has been open for two and a half years, during which time a full fourteen people have paid up for the shave-of-a-lifetime.

That might sound cool, but think about how a conversation that started with “Cool necklace, where’d you get it?” might progress after you admitted you were wearing it as a testimony to the fact that you once spent $1,000 to feel like you had the most special face in Montreal. Shapiro noted, speaking to Valiante, that some revile him as a symbol of gentrification in the Saint-Henri neighborhood of the city where the shop is located. We can’t imagine why.

Talya Zax is the Forward’s summer culture fellow. Contact her at [email protected] or on Twitter, @TalyaZax

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