Expert Advice

John Sahag 10-Year Tribute (1952-2005)

Helen Oppenheim | June 5, 2015 | 12:31 PM
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John Sahag in 1985. Photo taken for the New York Magazine article on his first Workshop opening. Check out that belt.
Photo By Lawrence Ivy Photo 2 of 12
Gwyneth Paltrow hair by John Sahag, 1996/97. (Collage by Helen Oppenheim, Photos Research by Lori Bermani.) | Top left: Bad girl Gwyneth with big sexy hair channeling "Barbarella" from Roger Vadim's 1968 film, for Talk Magazine. Makeup: Denise Markey Fashion Styling: Joe Zee (Photo: Patrick Demarchelier) | Top Center: Gwyneth Paltrow was probably the first celeb to wear her hair straighter than straight. Very new in 1996. This was John Sahag's quintessential look. Before flat irons. | Top right: Gwyneth Paltrow at the "Sliding Doors" movie premiere, 1997. Note the bobby pin in the John Sahag pixie. (Photo: | Bottom Left: Brad Pitt with Gwyneth Paltrow with the same hair cut and colored by the John Sahag Workshop at the Ne
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From a 6-page mid-'80s editorial in American Vogue, here's Isabella Rossellini with wigs cut and styled by John Sahag. | Makeup: Sophie Levy
Photo By Sheila Metzner Photo 4 of 12
A 4-page "Star Appeal" makeup feature for the 1987 Color Report in US Vogue, with Cindy Crawford, one of three supermodels, seen here with hairpieces placed just so, like art by John Sahag. | Makeup: Kevyn Aucoin
Photo By Irving Penn; Researched by Lori Bermami Photo 5 of 12
John Sahag's Windswept hair, no style styles with exaggerated volume on the runway for Issey Miyake's Fall 1997 Paris Fashion Week Show.
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John Sahag's rugged and smooth, rough and refined, strong and soft hair by John Sahag for Cynthia Rowley's Summer 1997 New York Fashion Week Show. | Makeup: Moyra Mulholland
Photo By Michael Bonacci Photo 7 of 12
From the Workshop Launch in 1985, John Sahag presented a Sideburn Collection, some with double and triple sideburn effects. The hair was longish, playful, provocative, John Sahag-style, before long hair was fashionable. | Makeup: Linda Mason | Model: Constance Chapman
Photo By Bruno Juminer Photo 8 of 12
Vogue Italia Cover, 1984, with hair by John Sahag (found by Lori Bermani) | Model: Stella Goodall
Photo By Hans Feurer; Researched by Lori Bermani Photo 9 of 12
Hair by John Sahag for a Modern Salon editorial, sometime in the '90s. | Makeup: Bobbi Brown
Photo By Bob Jefferds Photo 10 of 12
John Sahag always kept 3 copies of magazines with his work. One day I went to his loft and here was his most recent work on the floor, with 3 issues of Modern Salon.
Photo By Helen Oppenheim Photo 11 of 12
I used to add this to every press release I sent out, and it now has a life of its own. It says so much about John Sahag.
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June 15, 2015 is 10 years since the legendary John Sahag passed away. This blog is a tribute to him and the amazing shapes he loved to make.


His extraordinary work made him a world-famous icon with a client list beyond imagination, including movie stars, supermodels, royalty and music icons, plus covers and pages upon pages in the world's most influential and international magazines, like Vogue Italia, French Vogue and, of course, American Vogue. Movies included the 1978 cult thriller "The Eyes of Laura Mars," in which he appeared as a hairdresser with Faye Dunaway. He also gave actress Demi Moore her gamine cut in the 1990 movie "Ghost," a sensation at the time.


Sahag Jamgotchian (later known as John Sahag) was born in Beirut, Lebanon, on January 2, 1952. His father was a couturier and he had a fashion influence in his life from an early age. He started working in a salon at age 7. When he was 9 years old, his family migrated to Australia. He arrived in Paris at age 18, starved for 6 months and, helped by Bernard Mériatt, then of L'Oréal and Maniatis, a top French salon owner for whom he freelanced with a 6-year contract, he got an Italian Vogue cover at 19. (In 1978 he became the first "name" freelance designer, a new phenomenon.)


The 6' 2", 175 lb charismatic, charming and very sexy hairdresser crisscrossed the Atlantic with his flying scissors so many times for 3 ½ years that in 1981 he settled in New York.


Brooke Shields, who cut the ribbon for his first salon in 1985, was quoted in the Workshop opening press release saying, "John is totally creative, in every situation. Plus he looks sensational in black." And, as Kathy Dwyer, his friend and  Executrix, President of Sahag Workshop, Products and Education, says, "Although he looked like a rock star, he was anything but in how he lived his life.  He believed that we were put on this earth to love one another and live as impeccable human beings." He treated all his clients like roses, and he worked almost 24/7. He loved hair, it wasn't work to him!


I did the PR for the first John Sahag Workshop in 1985 for this spiritual and very unusual man who concocted sentences like no other to describe his dry hair cuts. "I want to see my pieces on real life ladies walking around town, not just in magazines. Pieces? Yes, pieces," wrote Anthony Haden-Guest in New York Magazine at the time. I left him after about 9 months, he spent 8 years trying to get me back and I returned as his "Ambassadress" for 3 more years, from 1994-97. For more About John Sahag the man, click HERE.


You can see some of his famous dry hair cuts with his three-dimensional approach to hair and some of his editorial and celeb hair "where he scored" in these photos. And there's far more inspirational photos by clicking HairThen on - and reading the wonderful words under most photos.

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