Thursday, March 12, 2015

Scene in Georgetown

Isabelle Goetz, owner and chief attraction at Izzy's Salon on M St. in Georgetown, can give you the lowdown on personalities that pass through her fingers. She could if she wanted to but she is basically diplomatic and polite and smart enough to stick to the positive and ignore the negative experiences of her, admittedly highly personal trade.
Sitting under her scissors the other day was the Canadian Ambassador to the US: a tall good-looking man with a gorgeous show of graying hair. Izzy and Mr. Ambassador spent the time laughing together. He seemed to enjoy this time away from what must be the big office desk, the bureaucratic business back on Pennsylvania Ave. It could be why, in part, he comes across town for the experience. The talented Ms. Goetz sweeps her fingers through his hair and then snips and snaps in carefully considered  fashion. How had he heard about this salon and why do many men of his standing seemingly want to come here? It wasn't through his wife, she says; she doesn't know, can't recall a Canadian ambassador's wife on the premises. "Just someone mentioning something," she says, brushing off the VIP allegiance to her handsome well-appointed quarters. Because such a "nice man" as the Canadian isn't alone. The director of the National Gallery of Art has been seen in Isabelle's ("Izzy's") chair., among other titled gentlemen of note.
So what is the secret of her charm not to mention her talent, enough so that prospective US President Hillary R Clinton has been and continues off and on to be another of her clients? Through whom Isabelle met Queen Rania of Jordan when she was in Washington. The queen took a shine to her, hearing that the comely stylist was a passionate motorcyclist like her husband the king. That led to an invitation for Isabelle to travel Jordan's roads on wheels with a friend. And more recently  Ms. Goetz  (known as either Izzy or Isabelle to many others, including Father O'Brien, one of Georgetown University's vice presidents, another regular ) went on vacation for a week in Vietnam where she has a friend with a Harley so she didn't have to bring her own with her.
As a teenager in Belfort, France, she was encouraged early to consider hair styling as a career and started apprenticing as well as schooling in the profession. Determination helped, as did the chance to work in Paris and then soon after with French-born Cristophe who had the Clintons under his hands for a while in California. "Twenty two years in France and 22 years in the US," amazingly she remarks. She is as dual a citizen as you can get.
Some of her skill must have to do with her discretion as well as an ability to create a family on the premises. Her father was one of her helpers when she designed and renovated the salon. At least two other stylists (and colorists) come from the her home town in France and have been with her through the years.  She says she calls herself Izzy to downplay the pretension of a profession that is as competitive and peculiar as they get  - especially in Georgetown.  

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