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The Prince of Coiffure: Alexandre de Paris

Renowned hairdresser for some of the most famous names in European royalty, Hollywood, and haute couture, Alexandre de Paris made a lasting impression in the hairdressing industry for generations to follow.

Alexandre began his career as an apprentice for his mentor Antoine and by the age of 16, he became premier garçon, or head apprentice, for the salon. In 1946, the former Miss France 1930 Yvette Labrousse chose Alexandre as her official hairdresser for her wedding with Aga Khan III. Word of Alexandre’s talent quickly spread, and Alexandre’s clientele grew to include high-profile figures such as the Duchess of Windsor, who introduced him to the international aristocracy that included Isabelle, comtesse de Paris, Queen Sirikit of Thailand and Princess Grace of Monaco.

In the 1950s, Alexandre opened a salon with the Carita sisters and opened his own salon 5 years later in Paris on the Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré. His friend Jean Cocteau designed the logo for his salon and gave Alexandre the nickname “le Sphinx de la Coiffure.” Alexandre also started a line of luxury hair accessories in 1971, and the 90s saw his fame go past the French borders, as his name started appearing in boutiques in Hong Kong and Melbourne.

As Alexandre’s popularity grew, his hair creations became iconic. He developed artistic looks for the classic chignon by putting in different twists to the style. In the 60s, he added diamonds to Jackie Kennedy’s bouffant and created Elizabeth Taylor’s Cleopatra hairstyle for the epic Hollywood film. Soon, Alexandre was styling hair for Hollywood celebrities such as Greta Garbo, Audrey Hepburn and Sophia Loren. Alexandre’s work led him to become a symbol for French elegance. Fashion designers such as Givenchy, Saint Laurent, Dior and Chanel deemed him as their partner and stylist for the runway, and his fame reached international acclaim.

In 1978, Alexandre was elected President of Intercoiffure Mondial and oversaw the organization until 1993. He also received prestigious awards for his work: the French Minister André Bettencourt bestowed upon him the Legion of Honor in 1992 and the fashion industry rewarded him with the Golden Thimble Award in 1994. He also received two Oscars de la Mode in 1963 and 1969.

Alexandre guided countless hairdressers over the years, teaching them his methods and artistry. As his salons continue to cultivate aspiring hairstylists all across the world, his vision of elegance and perfection is kept alive . Even after his passing in 2008, Alexandre remains as one of the most influential and inspirational figures in the industry.

Photo Credits

Alexandre de Paris: http://district-h.blogspot.com/ and http://www.abcfryzjera.pl

Elizabeth Taylor: http://www.guidespot.com/guides/esotheric_foreign_films_everyone

Jackie Kennedy: John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum