As long as their have been kings, queens and royalty of any kind there have been royal hairdressers and barbers, ladies-in-waiting, special dressers and servants to assist with any personal grooming. This fact has been regarded throughout history.
The beginning of the modern Celebrity Hairdresser is linked back in history, by some hair historians, to the founding of the Antoine de Paris salon in the 1920s in France by Polish born Antek Cierplikowski (1885 – 1976) also known as “Antec”.
(Image of Frederic Fekkai – Bravo/TV – Sheer Genius) – 2007).
He became a naturalized Frenchman and was called Mr. Antoine by his many clients. He was considered by many to be the “father of modern Celebrity hairdressing.”
As his fame grew, so did his International business. He opened the first of his US based salons in Saks Fifth Avenue in 1925.
Invention of Shingle Bob Haircut
He also claimed to have invented the shingle bob haircut in 1917. Reportedly his inspiration for the creation of the very sexy, eye popping short haircut which is now 100 years old was Joan of Arc. The hairstyle is what made him famous in the world of hair and gave him the “celebrity hairstylist” title.
During his long career Mr. Antoine worked with many celebrities and famous people which gave him the title of a Celebrity Hairdresser because of his clientele.
Although in current times the Bob is just a very popular hairstyle, when it was first unveiled by Mr. Antoine it was very controversial. It first caught on in England and was quickly adopted by flappers. Although Louise Brooks was one of the first US celebrities to adopt the Bob hairstyle, it had been worn by many before her.
The Antoine de Paris salon eventually turned out many renowned hairdressers who went on to become celebrities in their own right and highly sought after.
Sydney Guilaroff – First Celebrity Hairdresser To Hollywood
One of Mr. Antoine’s hair apprentices or proteges as they were called was Sydney Guilaroff born in London and worked in the New York salon eventually moved to Los Angeles where he received the very first film credit for doing hair on a movie. According to IMDB.com Sydney had a long and very illustrious career doing hair on films. He was credited with making Lucille Ball a redhead, which helped to establish her career and giving Claudette Colbert her signature bangs.
Sydney served as chief hairstylist at MGM Studios from 1934 until the late 1970s. He had such an impeccable reputation, he hired by Grace Kelly to style her hair for her marriage to Prince Rainier of Monaco in 1956. He also designed Judy Garland’s pony tails for her Dorothy character in The Wizard Of Oz in 1939. He was both hairdresser, friend and muse to his many celebrity clients. It has been reported that a frantic Marilyn Monroe called him the night she died August 5, 1962. He also made legal history in 1938 by becoming the first bachelor in the United States to adopt a child.
Alexandre de Paris – First Celebrity Hairdresser To Hollywood
Alexandre de Paris was another International hairdresser who coiffed the rich and famous as well as celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor. Born Louis Alexandre Raimon in St Tropez in 1922, he was well-known for his work with The Duchess of Windsor whose hair he coiffed for some thirty years.
In 1952 he was able to open a salon on Rue du Faubourg St-Honoré in Paris with the Carita sisters — who became known as “magicians of beauty”. In 1957 he opened his own salon in the same street.
When Elizabeth Taylor became ill during the filming of Cleopatra, he flew to London immediately, at her request: “There, in her hospital bed, she was held up by three nurses while I created her famous artichoke cut,” he said. He was also close to the solitary Garbo: “When she came into the salon she would say ‘Hide me!’. ”
The many other luminaries he tended included the Rothschild baronesses, Queen Sirikit of Thailand, the Comtesse de Paris, the Empress of Iran — and such stars as Audrey Hepburn, Maria Callas, Liza Minnelli, Romy Schneider and Shirley MacLaine. From many of his clients he collected a lock of hair to be preserved in perspex.
Alexandre was also sought after as a high-fashion stylist, working at the Yves St Laurent show for more than 30 years and for such designers as Gianfranco Ferrè for Dior, Givenchy, Christian Lacroix and Karl Lagerfeld, who said he was “a true artisan with magic fingers”.
Alexandre died in January of 2008 at the age of 85 leaving behind an amazing celebrity hairdresser career.
During the 1940s the now famous Carita Sisters, Maria and Rosy, opened their own salon in Paris and it became Internationally known. They coiffed many famous people and celebrities including Farah Diba Pahlavi the wife of the Shah of Iran during the height of their popularity.
One of their apprentices, known simply as Charlie, was sent off to represent them for fashion shoots and shows and ultimately became famous in her own right opening a salon in France and working with the top celebrities and fashion designers.
The Carita Sisters were ahead of their time in the hair and beauty world and are credited in the 1960s with making wigs and hairpieces popular. They also introduced their own hair care line.
During the 1960s Vidal Sassoon created celebrity hair history when he was paid $5,000 to cut off Mia Farrow’s hair for her controversial role in Rosemary’s Baby. At the time of the world famous haircut, Mia was married to Frank Sinatra and media buzz sometimes blamed her shockingly short pixie Sassoon cut for the demise of her marriage. Whether it was true or not, it added to the fame of the Sassoon hairstyle.
Vidal was also famous for his newly introduced cutting techniques which gave birth to wash and wear hairstyles. Many consider Vidal to be the Father of Celebrity Hairdressing although in reality his career started years after Mr. Antoine.
Vidal Sassoon spawned his own generation of celebrity hairdressers and as the hair world became enamoured of his body of work, many new celebrity hairdressers came up through the ranks including Joshua Galvin who was a Sassoon apprentice.
Since the 1960s until present time the celebrity hairdressing ranks swelled to include Odile Gilbert, Trevor Sorbie, Frederic Fekkai, Oribe, Charles Worthington, the Toni & Guy brothers, Sally Hershberger, Vivienne MacKinder, Orlanda Pita, Laurent de Fourg (Laurent D) and a never ending list of cebrity hairstylists.
The quest for celebrity hairdresser status has spawned the popular BravoTV reality show Sheer Genius which often features as guest judges, some of the current celebrity hairdressing greats such as Vidal, Sally and Frederic.
The new generation of celebrity hairdressers and hair colorists such as Ken Paves, Ted Gibson, Rita Hazan, Jason Backe and Robert Hallowell has also been showcased on Bravo’s Sheer Genius programs to introduce the viewing public to the current stars of the hair world.
The current generation of celebrity hairdressers and hair colorists consists of a list that would be impossible to include in a blog like this. However, suffice it to say that the celebrity hairdressing ranks continues to grow at an astronomical rate.
Do you have a celebrity hair dresser you especially admire. I would love to hear your own choices.