On this lovely fall day here in Los Angeles, I had the pleasure of speaking with the amazing Laurent Philippon, a hairstylist that we know from magazine covers like Vogue, ad campaigns including Valentino and Givenchy, and celebrities such as Lady Gaga and Bjork. We all know and respect his work and I am honored to share his story and perspective. This is a short story on Laurent Philippon.
Laurent Philippon was born to be a hairdresser, you might say. His father was a barber and Laurent grew up from a very young age standing on a stool washing hair. He was uninspired in the small barber shop in his village and had a strong desire to expand his estetic. At the age of 15, he left school and went on to the school of hairdressing. By 16, he entered into his first hair contest and won. Winning that first contest gave him a strong confidence and kept him moving forward in this world of hairstyling as he continued to win regionals and then on to nationals. He was confident and yet very curious, but he wanted more. Laurent decided to knock on the door of hairdressing legend, Alexandre de Paris, which was where he really studied his method and developed his skills. He started from the very bottom sweeping floors, but spent hours and hours perfecting technique.
As an artist, we all have something or somewhere that inspires us. For Laurent, he is inspired by EVERYTHING. He says he is the most curious person he knows. However, to find solace on his downtime he finds himself at the Palace of Versailles. I asked if he sits and enjoys coffee and takes it in. His response was intriguing. He walks, he says. He stays in movement. The right movement is very important, he explains. As an example, the movement of the oceans and seas is perfection and this translates into his theory of hairstyling. Laurent explains he adapted this theory from his work with Julien D’ys , who is the definition of an artist by every token.
For hairdressers, we embody ourselves into our own work. The inspiration, the study, the technique. However, I found through my conversation with Laurent that he is embodied by not only his own work, but by the work of others. This is exemplified in his book, Hair: Fashion and Fantasy. His appreciation and respect for his mentors is manifested through his estethic and his curiosity is shown through his admiration for the work around him. He said he gets so excited to see the work of Eugene Souleiman, and for a successful artist to display this much passion for a collegue is admirable. This idea of displaying the work of others and the inspiration to which they collectively feed on is what we see in his book, and what his inspiration was for creating it.
Today, Laurent is the global creative director of Bumble and Bumble and wishes to own a hair museum one day. I hope soon, so that this wonderful book will become a monument for the crossbreed of hairdresser, painter, photographer. The true definition of Art. ##