Sunday, November 7, 2010

Michel Kazan / Creator of the Bouffont Hair Style

Michel Kazan was a hair designer to stars and society figures and the creator of a seemingly endless array of famous hairdos with a career that spanned seven decades. His magazine credits which seem to validate his claim to being the first on the scene with the Poodle Cut, French Twist, Cap Cut, and Bouffant hair styles.

Kazan was an impeccably dressed Frenchman with continental charm and an artist’s eye. Michel had the reputation for setting hairdo trends a year ahead. The hair fashion futurist observed that "nothing can make a woman look more old-fashioned” and out of step with the times than an out-of-date hairdo."  Kazan believed changing your hair style, especially as one ages (its shape, color or length) is the beauty secret for everlasting beauty. 

As the oracle of beauty and fashion his seasonal trips to Paris for inspiration and the pronouncements that would follow remained cause for fevered speculation for many years. Among Kazan's most famous creations were the French Twist, the Bouffant and Page Boy haircuts. Others included the Fluff Cut, the Cockatoo, the Frizzes, the Bubble and the Cleopatra, which rode the success of Elizabeth Taylor movie. And the whimsical Urchin, in which hair was "cropped and feathered” like a little Pixie Cap.

Kazan was also a deft entrepreneur and trend setter. In addition to offering a line of wigs, perfume and hair care products and cosmetics, he sought to capture the American woman's appetite for beauty in short order with Pocket Full of Curls, a pinned-on precursor of today's “hair extensions”. A tireless innovator, Kazan kept pace with the changing face of fashion and culture throughout the tumultuous sixties and seventies, at times adapting and at others, blazing new trails counter to a perceived trend of the time. For example, his use of long straight and wavy hair piece's called "falls" at a fashion show created a sensation that swept the world, despite the increasing popularity of the less complicated styles being pioneered by Vidal Sassoon.

At its height, Kazan's flagship salon, a luxuriously decorated five story townhouse in midtown Manhattan, was host to a parade of notables. His salon also served as a training ground for a generation of talented stylists who would go on to prestigious careers themselves. Michel Kazan will always be remembered as a voice for “American Beauty Culture” and inspiration for all to follow.


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