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Coiffure Legendaire: Guillaume, the insatiable creator

Sunday, 09 February 2014 08:50

A man of many talents and a true visionary, Guillaume Guglielmi, is one of the key figures of understanding the evolution of the hairdresser in the 20th century.

Guillaume Guglielmi (1903-1989) was not only one of the greatest creators of trends for the past century but also a talented sculptor, an inspired artist, a visionary artist and a generous patron of the arts!

Guillaume was born on the island of Corsica, like Napoleon, and was a man of strong personality and great character who left his fingerprint on Paris. After training in industrial design, he was attracted to the world of hairdressing and quickly absorbed the techniques due to his passion to learn and develop his own creativity.

In 1928 he moved to Paris, where he won a championship of permed hairstyles and met the great René Rambaud, (a real celebrity at the time). At the same time, he attended training courses and became a tutor and teacher of the profession. Both of them together were the beginning of a long and fascinating career. Guillaume, as a trainer, educated thousands of hairdressers throughout his life: "The future belongs to young people; We have to understand them if we want to deal with the future of our profession". In 1932, when he was not even 30 years old, he was hired by the legendary Elizabeth Arden to open salons in the United States. In 1936 he settled down in 5th Avenue Matignon in Paris, running a salon that was to become the 'rendez-vous' all Paris.

Cuts and styles of Guillaume marked an era, translating the spirit of the current fashion in hairstyles. In 1936 he created the Pageboy hairstyle; at 47, he presented the New Look to be published for Christian Dior; at 49, launched the line Syncopee, a sublime combination of short and long hair in a harmony of colors.

With his "F"line (1954), he conceived the first geometric cuts in France, advancing past other artists of his time. It is at this time, moreover, that he styled hundreds of models for numerous parades of Parisian Haute Couture. In 1963 he created his famous Lionne hairstyle for the well-known painter Léonor Fini, a style that was made famous, drawn by Fini. The Vivante line, in 1972, was his last line, as Guillaume then closed the doors of his famous salon to be devoted, body and soul, to his sculpting and writing.

Very soon, the creativity of Guillaume was reflected in other domains beyond hairdressing. His first sculpture, L'Ange, dates back to 1932. It is a time in which hairdressers, like him and his friend Alexandre de Paris were artists. Some of the personalities of the time were legendary, such as Jean Cocteau, designers Christian Dior and Christian Bérard, the painter Gruau, writer Louis de Vilmorin, the dancer Yvette Chauviré...

Born a perfectionist, Guillaume modeled his hairstyles in clay designs and it was not until it was perfect and in harmony with his line, did he actually create it. Many of his personal works and collections constitute a small museum can be admired at the headquarters of Intercoiffure Mondial in Paris – here you can see things that Guillaume devoted all his passion and his teachings to, he wanted to be able to transmit his journey to future generations. In 1982 Intercoiffure Mondial created the Guillaume Foundation: a place where thousands of young hairdressers in the five continents, have been molded.

Images provided by the Museum of Hairdressing of Raffel Pages.

  • Guillaume Guglielmi

  • Guillaume Guglielmi

  • Guillaume Sculptures

  • Guillaume Guglielmi


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