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Last updated on September 8th, 2005 by Karen Shelton

Introduction

Laurent DuFourg

Laurent DuFourg All Rights Reserved

When the hair gods decided to bestow on me the good fortune of interviewing celebrity hairdresser, Laurent Dufourg, known by his many celebrity clients as Laurent D, I was beyond psyched. I’ve been following the grand master’s celebrity styles for many years with great admiration.

When the time came for my appointment, I was definitely nervous and certainly star struck.

After all, Laurent D is the man that is famous for taking blonde goddess Gwyneth Paltrow from long to pixie short and for weaving a dizzying array of sizzling new looks for the likes of Tea Leoni, Teri Hatcher, Sharon Stone, Uma Thurman, Johnny Depp, the Hilton Sisters and scores of other “names.”

One Of The World's Most Famous Hairdressers

One of the world’s most famous hairdressers, Laurent is full of warmth, charm and kindness. Punctuating many of his statements with “darling” I felt completely at ease with this famous hair icon, as if I had known him for years. Laurent keeps his work in proper perspective. Laurent proclaims in his melodic French accented voice that “it’s all about his clients, no matter who they are, and not about him.”

Whether Laurent is clipping the locks of a harried hausfrau that saved for one year for the privilege of sitting in his chair or the latest “It” girl, this Sultan of Snip puts total focus on the person blessed with his appointment.

If anything, Laurent understands that the hausfrau needs him more than his celebrity protégés like Sharon, Paris and Uma “who always look amazing, no matter what.” For him, it is pure joy to “turn a woman that struggles daily to look good, into a person who leaves his chair feeling totally beautiful.”

Life Altering Events

Tea Leoni & Laurent DuFourg

Ironically the world of hairdressing wasn’t the first place Laurent first set his long term sights. Forming a “very successful” band with his brother, Laurent was literally thrust behind the scenes of a hair show while sitting perched atop his drummer’s platform on a balmy summer evening.

What started as “just another gig playing live music at a local show” for Laurent and the much-in-demand band, ultimately changed his life forever.

From his elevated drummer’s stool he could peek behind the curtains and watch the hairdressers as they “magically” styled the model’s tresses. From that day forward he was completely hooked. Taking a job at a local hairdressing salon to make “after school money” he fell “madly in love with the business”—and his fate in the hair world was sealed.

Juggling Celebrity Heads

So how does a man with a stable of today’s best and brightest celebrity followers juggle them during the busy award’s season, when stars often want to all be ready “at the same time?” It’s quite simple, as Laurent explained “whoever books first wins.”

Yes, even those unknown starlets-on-the-rise that want eye-popping shimmering tresses for that first red carpet stroll can sneak to the front of Laurent’s famous line by being the early bird that snares the hairdresser’s undivided time and magnificent attention.

Can Laurent be persuaded to switch celebrity heads at the last minute? “Absolutely not,” confided Laurent. He has “been there and done that and will never go there again.” Recounting a near disastrous experience from some years ago, Laurent confided that somehow he had wound up, due to unusual circumstances, “scheduled to do two celebrities on the same day for a major LA awards show.”

As the day played out, “the first actress, a brand new client, was horribly late for her appointment,” forcing Laurent to “cut it extremely close for his appointment with the second celebrity, a long time valued client.”

David Charvet & Laurent DuFourg

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An extremely loyal man, Laurent would never dream of ever causing any of his celebrities even the slightest tidbit of red carpet trauma.

After that hair raising experience where a trusted relationship might have been torpedoed by time mismanagement, Laurent swore he would never do more than one head for any major event. Period.

Does he ever stroll the red carpet with his favorite clients? Yes, he often does. However, his utmost concern is that “the very last thing that happens before his famous clients gingerly climb into their limos is to make sure that every single strand is in perfect placement.”

As he pointed out, “the history of his work for every award show season will play out over and over again in the media as celebrity red carpet retrospectives are rolled.”

In some cases, his work adorning the heads of major stars like his Gwyneth or Sharon are replayed in the press for many years.

He pointed out that “over the years he has created at least six major new looks for Uma” which are constantly referenced by celebrity watchers.

Fear Factors

There are many secrets to Laurent’s spectacular success and eternal popularity. One of his expressed concerns is having one of his clients on the “worst coiffed” lists of Joan and Melissa Rivers or other talking carpet heads. Of course even the very best hair plans can go awry but Laurent believes “the red carpet is not the place” to make a major departure from a celebrity’s “customary hairstyle.”

Those celebrities that are sashaying down those various runways “work hard all year to look beautiful” so they “have to look their very best.”

Working closely with the celebrity stylist that architects the celebrity’s total look from gown to accessories, Laurent strives to work within the “total team” framework creating “hairstyles that enhance rather than detract” from the overall image that ties together “the gown, the jewels, the shoes and the accessories.”

David Charvet & Laurent DuFourg

So what if one of his famous clients wants him to do something totally crazy that might risk that dreaded “what did they do to their hair” shocked comment from Joan?

He pauses, “of course the client should always look amazing— but I would do my best to talk everything through with them to make sure that any hairstyle they wanted to wear would not cause them any type of media regrets or embarrassment.”

Why, you might ask, would any hairdresser coif their stars in anything even remotely risky? “

There are a lot of great hairdressers out there, but some want to make a name for themselves by creating Red Carpet buzz for their hairstyles.” What better place to garner instant awareness than when a celebrity strolls by in new hairstyle.

Unfortunately, while the rewards can be great, the flops can be just as deadly. Laurent understands that the hair designs that he creates “are not about him or advertising his skills, but about showcasing the stars.”

The Beautiful Bridgette Bardot

By the time he was 20, Laurent was dispatched from Paris to the South of France to work with his first “celebrity” who just happened to be blonde bombshell Bridgette Bardot. Laurent confessed to being “very excited” and a “little in awe” of the famous movie star, who arrived with a complete entourage.

Laurent set the famous blonde’s hair on “lots of big rollers.” He didn’t “tease her hair” which was popular at the time, but instead “styled her strands by brushing them into a soft, shiny, sexy look” that the actress “really liked and looked amazing.”

Shortly after his encounter with Ms. Bardot, Laurent opened his first salon in his hometown where his “family still resides to this day in the home where Laurent grew up.”

Eventually the entrepreneurial hair wizard made his way to Costa del Sol on the Spanish Riviera, where he proceeded to open two salons which immediately became popular with the rich and famous jet-setters that vacationed in the gorgeous coastal area.

Shannon Doherty & The Melrose Place Cast

Laurent DuFourg with Brooke Burke

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After enjoying a beautiful and successful life working in his salon in the Spanish resort town, where he met his lovely and multi-talented “wonder woman” wife Fabienne, Laurent was invited to visit a business partner who had just moved to Los Angeles.

Always the adventurer, Laurent popped in for what he thought would be “a brief stay.” Instead, he discovered “a fabulous new world of hair opportunities” and decided to embark on a grand adventure.

In 1979 Laurent settled in Los Angeles where he partnered with another big name hairdresser and focused on creating hairstyles in the expanding movie industry.

The strand maestro’s first celebrity client in LA “was Shannon Doherty,” who was starring in the TV hit series 90210. Shannon, who is still his client to this day, provided referrals that resulted in him eventually becoming the “head hairdresser for the entire cast of Melrose Place.”

The notable coiffure designer reminisced about collaborating with “Melrose alums such as Josie Bissett and Lisa Rinna,” to name just a few of the star studded cast.

Uma & The Coat Check Closet

Uma Thurman 2006 Vanity Fair Oscar Party 03-05-06

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Working with celebrities whose lives are often unpredictable, madcap and somewhat chaotic, Laurent is used to being spontaneous with his clients.

When asked to share one of the most unusual places he has coiffed a celebrity, he laughed and mentioned the time that he and Uma, who was the face of Lancôme at the time, were rushing from the London Batman premiere to a late night meeting at a luxurious hotel with world famous design guru, Tom Ford.

Laurent explained that Uma’s hair was in an updo, but needed a different look for meeting with the famed designer.

Not having anywhere else to go, Laurent and Uma snuck into the coat check room of the exotic hotel where they both “plopped down on the floor to work on Uma’s tresses.”

Uma Thurman 2006 Vanity Fair Oscar Party 03-05-06

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He laughed and said because it was “so last minute and time was of the essence” he had “neglected to bring any of his styling tools with him.”

Being resourceful, he “scrounged around and luckily happened upon a hair brush” he “borrowed” to quickly smooth out Uma’s original updo into a sizzling style for her very important meeting. He described how he “quickly popped out all the pins and brushed her strands into a brand new look in mere minutes.”

Once he was finished, he returned the brush to where he had “discovered” it and Uma looked absolutely breathtaking.

Suffice it to say that the owner of the brush might be shocked to discover that a world famous hairdresser used the brush on a superstar for a meet and greet with a Gucci legend.

Tea In The Limo

Tea Leoni & Laurent DuFourg

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His need for speed came in handy when he was accompanying his dear friend and long time client, Ta Leoni (Mrs. David Duchoveny) to a live appearance on The View.

Horrendous traffic and a confused limo driver were running down the clock. With less than 12 minutes to air time as the beautiful blonde star struggled to change her clothes in the careening limo, Laurent worked on removing her hot rollers and arranging her hair into a TV appearance worthy coif.

So how did that all turn out? Tea made it just in time for her appearance and “her hair looked amazing” courtesy of Laurent’s ability to calmly juggle hot rollers, brushes and styling products, whipping up a tress masterpiece.

Laurent has been quoted in previous interviews saying that “he prefers lighter locks on Ta because they look better with her blue eyes and fair skin.” Regardless, of his own thoughts, Laurent only provides the cutting and styling duties, letting someone else provide the hair colors.

Noted for creating her boyishly pixie style for her noted role in Jurassic Park III, Laurent designed a very short, slightly mused but fetchingly feminine razored look complete with full and sexy bangs.

Laurent also reported that he recently “did a whole new look for Tea,” who just finished doing some movies “requiring her to have a specific color, length and style.”

Tea’s famous husband, David Duchoveny and her two adorable children all visit the Los Angeles Prive salon on a regular basis. It is obvious from his commentary that Laurent considers Ta and her lovely family to be part of his extended family.

Laurent mentioned that he recently cut Madelaine West’s hair (Tea’s daughter) into a “very cool rock and roll style” and that she looked “so cute, really stunning.”

Curly Girl Debra Messing

Debra Messing

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While Laurent often vacations with many of his famous clientele, he also will travel with them for major appearances that might take place outside of his LA or New York home bases.

He mentioned that he had “flown with Debra Messing” to Chicago for her appearance on Oprah so that he could personally coif her famous ringlets.

And while he loves working with Debra, he really enjoys traveling with her, recently joining her again to style her locks for the Fall TV season parties and media events.

Debra is the poster child for the ultimate in curls, so we had to ask if her tresses pose any challenges. Of course not. Laurent “loves to cut naturally curly hair when it is bone dry.”

For him, curly hair is not any specific “technique” or “special cutting method.” After all, Laurent believes that every person has a very “unique pattern of curls” that requires his “free style cutting method.”

Depending on the way that the curls lay and grow, Laurent may cut “more on one side than the other.” Bottom line, the hair maestro gets up close and personal with the curls and applies his unique cutting method appropriately.

Laurent is a big fan of using curling irons in two or three different sizes to create a unique, curly look.

When creating long lasting curls, he starts with Privé Root Amplifier on newly washed strands. He dries with a blow dryer and brush and then curls individual sections with his curling irons. After he creates each new ringlet, he wraps them around his finger to form and then pins to the scalp to cool. After all the curls are cool, he carefully removes them and sprays with Privé Hairspray. He uses his fingers to tousle for a soft, seductive, touchable look.

Debra uses Laurent’s products to help enhance her spectacular curls. She loves the Privé Daily Shampoo and Conditioner, the Curl Activating Creme, Relaxing Gel, Shine Serum and Styling Brilliance.

Secrets For Today’s Woman

For the millions of Americans that can’t hop a jet to New York or Los Angeles to consult with the hair maestro, what advice would he give them about their strands? Quite simply, he said “always get the very best haircut you can afford from the best hairdresser in town, since that is the basic foundation.”

Secondly, “use the very best products that your budget can support, because the difference between hair that looks okay and hair that looks great is the products that are used.”

To look great, he continued, “doesn’t mean you have to only go to celebrity hairdressers or spend a huge fortune.” There are lots of very talented hairdressers out there. All it takes is spending the time to find one in your area that will do a great job for you and your hair.

Laurent’s Signature Hairstyles

So what exactly is Laurent’s signature style? “Sexy, soft hair.” He loves to “create cuts and styles that have matured perfectly” to the point where the style looks “almost ready for another haircut.” You know, those two or three weeks when your hair is just fabulous!

While he likes “edgy and very rock and roll,” he believes that sexy and soft need to be part of the equation. “Shiny, seductive and pretty” are also words that Laurent resonates with.

He is also a fan of “bangs” when appropriate. Why? They soften and can be very sexy when worn as a seductive veil.

Men, Women, Children

Unlike some other celebrity hairdressers, Laurent does not limit his clientele in any way. He works equally with male and female stars. A good case in point was his recent Academy Awards transformation of Johnny Depp, who he reported he has “coiffed for the past two years for the Oscars.”

For the most recent awards Laurent took Johnny, who came to Laurent’s home, from longer tresses to a very sleek, shoulder-length cut that was fantastic. After initially cutting several inches from Johnny’s strands, they took a break and “had a little lunch.”

Studying Johnny closely, Laurent reported that he “felt he needed to take a little more off” and set back to work trimming a tiny bit more. He then flat-ironed Johnny’s newly shorn strands to give them that shiny, sleek and sexy flow. When Laurent was finally satisfied with his work for Johnny, he did the tresses of Johnny’s entire family.

Besides being a fan of Laurent’s cutting and styling expertise, Johnny is a fan of the Laurent’s product line named after the salon. Johnny uses the Privé Grooming Creme, Sculpting Pomade and Styling Brilliance.

Hair Accessories

Since I am personally obsessed with hair accessories, I was thrilled to find out that Laurent “loves to use them” because the right hair accessories can add instant glamour to a gorgeous style.

When he coiffed “Joely Fisher for her role as Dr. Brenda Bradford in 1999’s Inspector Gadget movie,” he had to create a “funny look for her tresses” which he accomplished using “a lot of butterflies all over her head.” He also hooked up Paris Hilton with “Michelle Roy butterflies and silk flowers.”

Laurent noted that for months “Paris rarely appeared anywhere in public without either Michelle Roy butterfly or silk flower clips.” Laurent “loves all of Michelle’s accessories” and that they are very popular with his clients.

Laurent adores “headbands of all kinds for all types of hair because they can dress up any length or texture of hair” as well as “bobby pins that are showing as ornaments.” He especially likes “the look of five or six bobby pins in a contrasting color from the hair hue” grouped together along the bangs.

The Privé Salons

After partnering for many years, in 1995 Laurent opened his very own salon, named Privé which means “private” in French. The plush salon, divinely designed and furnished with the help of his brilliant wife, was located in Beverly Hills.

The wild success of Privé motivated Laurent to spread his wings and open the New York salon in the fabulous SoHo Grand Hotel. Because Laurent had scores of devoted customers on both coasts, he committed to a regular schedule of holding court in both salons.

Although Laurent has a charming gift of gab when it relates to hairstyles, textures and new looks of his celebrity clientele, he admirably and staunchly subscribes to the hairdresser creed of absolute discretion when it comes to his client’s private lives.

While Laurent would be most honored to discuss the time that he chopped all of Gwyneth Paltrow’s hair off (for a movie role) and might throw in the tidbit that “Brad Pitt came to the salon to watch the transformation,” that is all he will say regarding their relationship.

For Laurent, any information that might harm his clients in any way is regarded as the “holiest of holy” and never divulged. This is admirable since Laurent jets back and forth between two cities where people just love to leak any and all celebrity information.

Laurent admits that he actually enjoys his travel time between coasts because it affords him the down time to catch up on “all his reading.”

Armed and overflowing with the latest fashion, beauty and celebrity rags, Laurent admits that he “settles in on his long flights to catch up on all the coverage of the hairstyles of his clients,’’ taking notes. He continued “maybe their hair color is too bright, too light or too dark under the lights or possibly their bangs need to be softer or fuller” or a myriad of other strand possibilities.

Prive Product Line

When creating his sizzling hot Prive line, he pointed out that it has always been “his philosophy to keep things as simple as possible because people are too busy to fiddle around” with complicated hair care systems. The key to all of the products is that they are super easy to use.”

Obviously his long term clients are huge fans of the line. Teri Hatcher loves the Curl Activating Crème, Styling Brilliance, Grooming Crème, Daily Shampoo and Conditioner and the Leave-in Treatment. Ta prefers Reparative Shampoo and Conditioner, Root Amplifier, Firm Hold Hairspray and Styling Brilliance.

Summary

One of the world’s most famous hairdressers, Laurent is full of warmth, charm and kindness. Punctuating many of his statements with “darling” I felt completely at ease with this famous hair icon, as if I had known him for years.

Laurent keeps his work in proper perspective. Laurent proclaims in his melodic French accented voice that “it’s all about his clients, no matter who they are, and not about him.”

Whether Laurent is clipping the locks of a harried hausfrau that saved for one year for the privilege of sitting in his chair or the latest “It” girl, this Sultan of Snip puts total focus on the person blessed with his appointment.

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- Revised Date: 05/22/10

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