Industry News

50 Influential Hairdressers: Trendsetters

Web Editor | July 10, 2011 | 7:06 PM

They start trends. They influence Hollywood style. They change the way clients visit salons. They're 50 hairdressers who have influenced and continue to influence the way you do hair. Whether they're developing fresh cutting techniques, promoting education or trying new ways of coloring hair, these 50 stylists have shaped contemporary beauty.

How did we pick these 50 stylists? It wasn't easy. With multiple editors and outside sources weighing in, we could have easily developed a list of 150. But the 50 we chose are professionals who have had a true impact on the way hair is cut, colored and styled today. Although many of our 50 stylists could be labeled with multiple titles, we categorized them into the following areas: Innovators and Pioneers, Celebrity Stylists, Educators, Trendsetters and International Influencers.

50 Influential Hairdressers: TrendsettersFor those of you counting as you read, you'll notice only 49 profiles in the article. Number 50 is, of course, the man on our December 2008 cover, Vidal Sassoon.

Watch our exclusive video interview, Vidal in His Own Words.
Read Alicia Liotta's article, Vidal Sassoon: Living Legend.

Read on for an inspirational look at the careers and achievements of these amazing talents. Want to weigh in with your own choices for our list of 50 Influential Hairdressers? Visit Editor-in-Chief Laurel Smoke's blog titled "Voice Your Choice" and tell us what you think.


50 Influential Hairdressers: TrendsettersLuis Alvarez
His Work:

Stylist, platform artist, educator, product manufacturer and photographer are just a few of the talents that have made Luis Alvarez one of the most influential hairdressers today. In addition to his extraordinary work as an innovative stylist, Luis Alvarez designs professional hair care products as co-founder of Aquage. He is proud of both his educational systems that maximize a product's performance and in creating the images that inspire other professionals to use the products. Now a sought-after beauty and fashion photographer, Alvarez's work has appeared on many covers, including MODERN's own March 2008 issue.
Why He's Influential: "Because everything that I learn I pass on to others."
Who Influences Him: "Image makers who are capable of capturing the sublime, while simultaneously exposing the human soul. Richard Avedon will always be at the top of my list."

50 Influential Hairdressers: TrendsettersDamien Carney
His Work: Over the last 20 years, Carney has elevated hair styling into an art form through his work with a virtual who's who in fashion and beauty. He has worked with photographers including Gilles Bensimon and Ellen von Unwerth, fashion houses like Louis Vuitton, John Paul Gautier and Giorgio Armani, countless international fashion publications and celebrities. Since 1999, he has created inspiring hair styles for Joico's global advertising and twice yearly trend collections. In 2006, Carney founded Damien Carney London, the salon industry's first mobile beauty academy.
Why He's Influential: Carney's work is proof that a strong foundation in classical training is essential to creating even the most avant-garde hair design.
Who Influences Him: "It's rare that great ideas come from just one person-the best ones are a team effort," says Carney. "The photographers, hair colorists, fashion stylists and make-up artists I regularly work with influence and inspire me."

50 Influential Hairdressers: TrendsettersVan Council
His Work: Van Council is a four-time NAHA winner and co-owner with his brother, Michael Council, of Van Michael Salons in Miami and Atlanta. A trendsetter and style maker, Council has also devised an intensive training program that ensures the technical and creative talents of each staff member.
Why He's Influential: Council has always promoted the synergy between hair and fashion and consistently releases style collections based on the transformational power of his makeovers. Council is also a leader in the business of salon ownership by creating salons designed to offer both exceptional service to clients and a complete range of opportunities and benefits to employees and staff.
Who Influences Him: Council's inspiration comes from the clients who sit in his chair and his ability to transform lives through his hairdressing skills. One tearful client, who told him she never knew she could look and feel so beautiful, serves as a reminder of why he is a hairdresser. "As beauty professionals, we have the power, through the use of our hands, personality and intuition, to change people's perspectives of themselves. We do not just cut hair, we help to deliver self confidence every day," he says.

50 Influential Hairdressers: TrendsettersSonya and Christopher Dove
Their Work: Over the last 27 years, the Doves have made quite a name for themselves in the professional beauty industry. As creative directors for Wella Professional USA, the British natives are responsible for the overall creative direction of educational and show programs. Just recently, they opened their first U.S. salon, The Doves, in Santa Monica, California. Their work has been featured in editorial spreads worldwide and they have collected noteworthy industry accolades.
Why They're Influential: It is their artistry, along with the duo's down-to-earth manner and fun-loving charisma, that has created a demand for them to teach their craft to other professionals worldwide at seminars, on show stages and in their salon. The Doves gained a name for creating progressive, trend-setting designs and original styles at U.S. and international hair shows.
Who Influences Them: "Vidal Sassoon, because he changed the world of hairdressing and never lost sight of his belief and passion. Trevor Sorbie because he pushed the envelope and made us think differently about what can be done with hair. Graham Webb had a large vision when it came to the business of the industry. He has also overcome many adversities in his life when so many told him he could not."

50 Influential Hairdressers: TrendsettersAllen Edwards
His Work: His shears went platinum overnight when he snipped Farrah Fawcett's signature layers in the 1970s. Just as powerful but less known: He produced the first hair show to incorporate music, lighting and theatrical effects, along with innovate techniques, such as scrunching, blow curls and taper-shear cutting. The father of the modern hair show also developed one of the first in-house training programs that required year-long assisting, and added spa services before most salon owners ever heard of them.
Why He's Influential: He's coiffed Julianne Moore, Renée Zellweger, Lara Flynn Boyle, Donna Mills and Raquel Welch. He has also made more than 1,000 television appearances, including reality and makeover shows, and acted as spokesperson for Clairol, KMS, Sun Silk and Aveda. Want more? Snatch up his memoir, Shear Force.
Who Influences Him: "I was influenced most by my mentor Jon Peters.  Jon introduced me to techniques that helped me create the signature looks that have shaped my career. Another person who influenced me was Vidal Sassoon-not so much with technique, but with the geometric looks that stimulated my artistic side."

50 Influential Hairdressers: TrendsettersSally Hershberger
Her Work: For the world, she may have gotten her ride to fame from Meg Ryan's celebrated shag, but the inside story is that working for a California celebrity salon (Arthur Johns) established the relationships that allowed her talent to go nuclear. Photo sessions with Herb Ritts; trendset styling for Michelle Pfeiffer, Jon Bon Jovi and John Mayer; film set consulting and top magazine covers all culminated in her bi-coastal salons in New York and Los Angeles.
Why She's Influential: Her clients include Roger Federer, Donna Karan, Tom Cruise, Kate Capshaw, Steven Spielberg, Natasha Richardson, Sandra Bullock, Winona Ryder, Hillary Clinton, Neve Campbell, Courtney Love, Heather Graham, Faith Hill, Julia Roberts, Cindy Crawford, Gretchen Mol, Calista Flockhart, Jane Fonda and Kate Moss. 
Who Influences Her: "I draw my inspiration from art, architecture and photography. Some artists who move me include Helmut Newton, Anne Leibovitz, Rankin and Warhol."

Robert Lobetta
His Work: At 18 years old, Lobetta began his hairdressing career at Ricci Burn's Salon on London's Kings Road in Chelsea. After a year-and-a-half of studying, practicing and working late, Ricci gave Lobetta the opportunity to do a cover and editorial shoot for 19 magazine. He was then promoted to artistic director. From there, Lobetta moved on to work at Michaeljohn in London's Mayfair and then embarked on three salon ventures of his own. This taught him that his work was better suited for editorial, advertising and image creation. In 1985, he was approached by Sebastian International and became the company's creative director for 23 years until his recent departure.
Why He's Influential: His ideology of beauty and unique approach to create thought-provoking imagery are two of the reasons he influences others in his craft. Lobetta operates intuitively without a great deal of calculation. It is his self awareness, his insistence on visual pleasure and his provocative manipulations performed in the name of beauty that make his visuals some of the most creative, influential and inspirational within the industry.
Who Influences Him: "Being able to collaborate with diverse, even eccentric, people in unexpected ways, can prompt the most wonderful influences," says Lobetta. "If I had to make a list of people who influence me I would say, Rafael Nadal, Karl Lagerfeld, Clint Eastwood, Damien Hearst, Steven Meisels, Charles Saatchi, Leonard Cohen, Kate Moss, Amy Winehouse and David Bowie."

Serge Normant
His Work: Training at Bruno Pittini in Paris prepped him to be the consummate freelancer. His styles can be seen in ads for Chanel, Estée Lauder, L'Oréal and Ralph Lauren, and he's worked with the world's top fashion photographers, including Richard Avedon, Herb Ritts, Irving Penn and Annie Leibovitz. He's also led hair styling teams for the fashion shows of Ralph Lauren, Valentino, Christian Lacroix, Oscar de la Renta, Carolina Herrera and Donna Karan.
Why He's Influential: Start with regular bookings for Harper's Bazaar, W, Allure, and Vogue. Stir in celebrity styling for Julia Roberts, Gwyneth Paltrow, Sarah Jessica Parker, Isabella Rossellini, Heather Locklear, Faith Hill and Elizabeth Hurley. Shake it up with Metamorphosis, a book in which he transforms well-known actresses and models from contemporary-looking to extraordinary. Top it off with a bar-raising $600 cut at Serge Normant in NYC's meatpacking district.
Who Influences Him: "My influences came mostly from growing up in the ‘60s and admiring the Carita sisters and Alexandre de Paris, for their sense of style, chicness, and sense of drama, and always keeping in mind to make women beautiful."

50 Influential Hairdressers: TrendsettersOribe
His Work: His session, celebrity and salon work span decades and his fashion force sways the world. Creating skyscraper hair and iconic images through collaborations with the likes of Karl Lagerfeld, Gianni Versace, and Commes des Garçons, he proved hair is integral to image. There's not a supermodel or celeb of note he hasn't styled, not a magazine of merit he hasn't covered.
Why He's Influential: From era-defining work with photographer Steven Meisel to the ‘92 Chanel show (when for the first time, hair got as much ink as the runway fashions) to the masterminding of grunge hair, Oribe took the lead. With Meisel and make-up artist François Nars, he created the supermodel. One of the first Americans invited to style the European collections and creator of J.Lo's persona, he sets the beauty benchmark.
Who Influences Him: "Alexandre de Paris for his bold, amazing work, Ara Gallant, and Christiaan for his rebellious take on hair styling. Photographers like Steven Meisel taught me a tremendous amount about fashion. Gianni Versace taught me extravagance, decadence and showmanship; Azzedine Alaia taught me about the shape of a woman, and the ultimate in French chic; Karl Lagerfeld showed me a freedom about fashion."

50 Influential Hairdressers: TrendsettersTrevor Sorbie
His Work: Between his barbershop beginnings and his O.B.E. (Officer of the British Empire) award, he pioneered The Wedge, The Chop and The Scrunch. Vidal Sassoon says of his former artistic director that he combines "original thinking with superb technical ability." Anthony Mascolo acknowledges him as "one of the best hairdressers ever-directionally and creatively." No wonder he won British Hairdresser of the Year an unrivaled four times.
Why He's Influential: Enough awards and editorial credits to fill this page, and a TV catalogue including GMTV, This Morning, Call My Bluff, Through the Keyhole, Watchdog and Faking It. He's the only hairdresser to have become so famous that his vocation has been a question on Who Wants to be a Millionaire? and The Weakest Link.
Who Influences Him: "My mentor was Vidal Sassoon, who I worked for in the '70s. He taught me discipline in hairdressing and instilled in me that what you put in, you get out. His philosophy was that it was a tireless struggle to achieve the ultimate in hairdressing-there are no shortcuts; you simply have to put in the time and effort and you'll be rewarded."

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