In collaboration with hotel group Park Hyatt and Louis Vuitton, hair stylist John Nollet travels the world from hotel room to hotel suite giving hair advice and a cut and color to a lucky few (at $1,400 a session). His signature headpieces are also traveling in style in his couture Louis Vuitton luggage – his personal salon! He creates looks for the Oscars, red carpets and high profile fashion campaigns and we had the amazing opportunity to talk to the French coiffeur while he was in Chicago.
FACTIO MAGAZINE: What thought process do you go through when styling someone for a red carpet event? JOHN NOLLET: It all begins with the actresses and what they are wearing for the red carpet. From the clothing, we can see what the hairstyle is going to be. I see the celebrities I style as any other customer. It’s a lot about last minute changes; I can change my customer’s hair from day to night in about 20 minutes with my haute couture headpieces. It’s all about what fits the clothing and that I’m able to change their look into what they want.
FM: What is it that you enjoy about styling for films? JN: The point of movies is the scenario so that is the first thing I look at. I go over the storyboard, talk to the director and the actresses. It’s interesting because it’s all about the right volume and style of hair to put a character in a certain period. I do the same to movie characters as I do to my other customers. It’s about their own personality and with movies it’s about the personality they have to be. I can style a lawyer for a movie but I also have customers that are lawyers, so it’s always interesting to get into a certain character and decide what makes her stand out.
FM: What does your job with L’Oreal Professional entail? JN: I’ve been working with L’Oreal for a long, long time! I create the color collection twice a year and I directed a movie and created the hairstyle for it too. That was a really nice project. It’s all about nice projects. Just like this world tour - I’m promoting all my favorite products and get to travel around the world with my custom-made Louis Vuitton luggage.
FM: Is there a certain time period or style icon you look to for inspiration? JN: It changes every season! I get inspiration from movies, museums but it all depends on the person or project where I’m getting inspiration from, so it may go back to a certain artist or icon. I carry my camera around everywhere and shoot images from whatever inspires me at that moment. I put them on my computer and when a project comes up, I go back to my images and get inspired all over again. It’s interesting because the inspiration for creation is everywhere.
FM: How is working in a salon different than working on the set of a movie? JN: It’s not that different. You need to get your customer and match up their hairstyle with their character and personality. This is the same for salon and movie work. I have my own salon in Paris and it’s small and intimate so we really get to know our customer. It’s just 6 hairdressers and me and we meet one-on-one with our customers so we get to know more about them before we start cutting. We’re all on a personal level so she gets what she’s been waiting for. It has to be perfect because she waited and didn’t go to another hair salon where they could help her right away. After that, it’s all about concentration and achieving the wanted look together.
FM: You have worked all over the world, what do you like about Chicago? JN: The architecture! I came here 16 years ago and now it was the first stop on the world tour in the States, so I’m trying to see the city in these few days. Tomorrow I’m going to a baseball game, so that should be interesting.
How would you combat the “wind” of this Windy City when it comes to styling hair? JN: I love the wind! It makes a perfect haircut sexy and the texture will stand out. If you have your hair cut in a perfect way, you can get out of the shower, let it dry, don’t do anything with it and let the wind play with it. This will create the perfect texture, but it only works with the right haircut. Don’t fight it, work with it.
FM: What do you recommend for keeping hair looking fresh when it comes to humidity? JN: The more humidity there is in the air, the more you have the chance to wear your hair natural and the better it looks. Let your waves be wavy and your curls curly. It’s the same situation with wind; it will all work perfectly with the perfect haircut and natural is very sexy.
FM: What are your favorite travel destinations? JN: On this tour we’ve been to Dubai, Milan, Istanbul and I loved it all. I really want to go to Buenos Aires and Shanghai. These are still scheduled for the world tour and I’m very excited to see those cities. Traveling brings such variety in your life. Try to go to a different city every month so that nothing can ever be the same – make it interesting. Every city has something to offer.
FM: What are your favorite restaurants in Paris? JN: I love this Argentina restaurant called Anahi located in the 2e arrondissement. The food is amazing and it has a great atmosphere. Also, a Brazilian restaurant named Favela Chic, which is a bit younger but great. I go to Hôtel Costes a lot because I know a lot of people there and it’s always a good time when I’m there. I don’t really go to clubs that often because we make the party in the restaurant most of the time.
FM: When in Paris, where do you clear your head? JN: I love going to the Jardin du Palais Royal – the garden of Palais Royal. Especially on Saturdays, it’s very calming. There’s a fountain and I will bring a book and just relax. This is great when the weather is warm. When it rains, I go to all the galleries Paris has for inspiration and to calm my mind.
FM: If you could be anywhere in the world right now, where would you be? JN: I would be at the Rio Carnival! It’s only once a year and I love it.
FM: What’s the story behind your couture headpieces? JN: My inspiration behind the haute couture headpieces came from the red carpet. I wanted to give the world something special and women something easy to get beautiful. I was always fascinated by the world of haute couture. Working in an atelier and making pieces for just one person is a very interesting concept. I wanted women to feel beautiful and make it easy for them. They can put on one of my couture pieces and feel special easily.
FM: Please describe your signature hairstyle. JN: The natural aspect of hair is very important to me and the way to get to that point is by having the perfect haircut. Coloring I always do in a specific way – I make the roots darker. This creates a natural color and works on brunettes, blondes and reds. It takes a long time to make it look perfect but once it’s good you don’t have anything left to do but wear it. You can wake up and your hair looks perfect because of the color. It’s a very sexy style and suitable for every woman. I love it too when women get older and get grey hair – this is very elegant. I love it.
FM: What makes you intensely happy about the world of fashion and beauty? JN: The movement of this little world makes me happy. Every day you have to prove that you can come up with something new and different. You prove it to other people and to yourself that this world never stops and you are creative enough to keep up with it. I also love the fact that it’s diverse and different every day. The movement doesn’t stop. For more information on John Nollet, visit www.john-nollet.com.
- Chloé van der Wel
Factio Magazine (www.factio-magazine.com) is a fashion and beauty emporium showcasing the world's most talented designers, beauty products, international fashion shows, high-end events, store openings, luxury products, galas and more. We are a mulit-media company that extends in print, web, e-mail newsletters, video and upscale events. Check out Factio Magazine for hot trends, hip people, and amazing events.