How and when did you discover that you wanted to do hair for a living? I never actually wanted to be a hair stylist, but the work sort of came and found me. I did sculpture as a teenager, stone sculpture, and that really gave me an appreciation for volume and form. Since you can’t sculpt just anywhere, I amused myself by doing my classmates’ hair whenever there were parties. The hairstyles I gave them were totally out there, really quite impressive, and everyone started telling me that I should pursue it, that I was clearly made for it. But I didn’t want to be a hair stylist. I went to university for philosophy, and failed out, so I went looking for an apprenticeship. I was interested in woodworking, but I couldn’t find anyone taking apprentices. I did, however, find a hairdresser who wanted to take me on after I showed him some photos of my amateur work. So, I did the apprenticeship and really liked it, and I was completely hooked on the occupation, particularly the artistic side of it. I initially wanted to work in fashion, but the fashion world didn’t totally suit me. In 2005, I was lucky enough to be hired by the Comédie Française, and that’s really where I had a revelation as to my trajectory: I realised that I really liked period hairstyling. I was interested in actors, how they get into their characters, and how those characters are created—especially in places like the Comédie Française, where every aspect of the production is so finely-tuned. After that, I did an apprenticeship in wig-making at a major wig studio for movies, in Paris, and voilà. For the next few years I worked as an assistant hair stylist for films, and for the last 10 years I’ve been lead hair stylist, bringing my own creations to films, working with directors and actors to bring the characters to life.
You work with real hair, wigs, contemporary styles and period styles. Do you have a favourite one to work with? I have just as much affection for contemporary hairstyling as I do for period hairstyling, but with period hairstyling all of your talent and know-how is put on display and gets noticed. However, I really enjoy doing everything — I like doing Louis XV’s or Marie Antoinette’s hair just as much as I like doing ’30s, ’40s, or ’50s hairstyles, or even the naturalistic styling that we go for today.
Do you have your team that you work with on film sets, or do you always work with different people? You naturally keep working with people you get along with, where there’s a sense of cohesion, a shared style of work, a desire to do things well. Those are the most important things when you’re building a team around you. Of course, each film is different, and sometimes you have to call in other technicians who are specialised in certain areas; I’m not going to call in the same hairdressers for a period film as I would for a contemporary film. Period films, especially, require an entire field of specific knowledge and technical mastery that you don’t get from contemporary hairstyling.