A Savannah Salon 24 Years in the Making
By Josephine Johnson
Meet Kim Swann. Maybe you know her as fine artist and painter around town, or as dedicated mom active in the Waldorf and homeschooling community. Perhaps you know her best as one of the Hostess City’s finest hairstylists. For 24 years Swann has been the beauty and brains in charge of Salon Della Vita at 128 W. Liberty Street in the heart of the Historic District.
And like people who occasionally need a refreshing new look, Salon Della Vita is getting a makeover, re-launching with a vision integrating art, wellness, beauty and personal reflection.
Originally from Birmingham, Ala., Swann moved to Savannah in 1994 to study painting at SCAD, which she loved, especially opportunities to study and capture the downtown’s stunning architectural lines. But since high school she’d also felt a calling towards hairstyling.
“Doing hair always seemed like creating art that you wear,” reflected Swann. “I’m working in similar language and attributes like shape, color and texture. And being a hairstylist is a very personal way for me to connect this art with the clients who see me at the salon.”
After studying at Roffler Barber College in Atlanta, Swann returned to Savannah to open her salon in 1999. Since its opening, she’s gained keen insights into the needs and expectations of the people who sit in her chair. For Della Vita’s re-launch, Swann is more aligned with the values of the embeautyment community in which self-care is less about indulgence and more about personal refection and wellness.
“In many ways hair is an extension of one’s energy and energetic self,” said Swann. “I’ve re-focused my work with some clients to set an intention for the haircut or styling. We get clear on what they want to achieve or release during the process. The experience becomes more focused on overall personal wellness.”
As consummate artist and innovator, Swann has created her own deck of inspiration oracle cards that clients are encouraged to draw from prior to their styling appointment. The cards are bright, ethereal and focus on concepts like “happiness,” “contemplation” and “achievement.”
And through Swann’s interactive art and hairstyling, sometimes amazing things happen. Recently, Swann’s seven-year-old daughter created a painting in blue and yellow, reminiscent of the Ukraine flag, with a heart in the center. A woman who’d booked a session saw the painting and began sharing her experience as a Russian currently living in the United States, and how sometimes she feels painfully misunderstood.
“My daughter doesn’t know about the war in Ukraine, so it was pure coincidence the colors and heart ended up how they did,” said Swann. “But it prompted the woman to tell me about how she wished more people understood that many, many Russians don’t want the war and how there’s very little they can do in Russia to stand up against its leader. It was a heartfelt conversation that I think is special to our salon. We foster a sense of safety and acceptance as we make the experience about wellness and overall health.”
Swann and her team of stylists are available Tuesday through Saturday by appointment at 128 West Liberty Street where you can get a new look both inside and out.