Olivier Schawalder’s devotion to hair manifests itself in many forms. When he isn’t working on heads, the Swiss-born hairstylist continues to experiment with the medium in other art forms. From drawings and illustrations to sculptural installations, hair permeates all elements of his practice.
Starting out as an intern in a small salon in Switzerland, Schawalder later moved to Tokyo to pursue working for Toni & Guy. He promptly fell in love with the culture, finding inspiration in the reverence and dextrous creativity which defines the Japanese approach to hair. Moving into the world of session styling, he quickly established a name for himself by working with Tokyo’s leading brands and publications. In 2006 he began assisting renowned hairstylist Luigi Murenu during show seasons, eventually joining Murenu’s team in Paris full-time. Now represented by Calliste, he is coiffeur to France’s chicest women including Isabelle Huppert and Carine Roitfeld. INFRINGE spoke to the hairstylist about his artistic endeavours and how his time in Japan has shaped his hair vision.