Jean-Louis David, Legendary French Hairstylist, Dies at 85

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Jean-Louis David, the legendary French hairdresser who was known to create hairstyles for women that besides emphasizing style, concentrated on practicality. David also founded a chain of hair salons which had his name around the world, dies on April 3, 2019, at home in Epalinges, Switzerland. He was 85 years old.

The hairdresser’s son Jean-Christophe David said his father died from complications he obtained from shingles which he became ill with last spring.

In 1961, the first Jean Louis David salon was opened in Paris on 38 Avenue Wagram. A second shop opened at 47 Rue Pierre Charon.

Both salons were in a fashionable and upscale area of the city.

Unlike other more traditional hair salons, which tended to provide women with heavily coifed and stiff hairstyles which required a great deal of upkeep, David’s salons were different.

The Jean Lous David salon wanted their customer to be contemporary: a modern woman who had an active life who wanted a hairstyle which was easier to keep and less rigid. The style would have sex appeal and a tousled look.

Didier Maligue, a friend and hairstylist who worked for several decades on and off for David said in an interview that David did not like a haircut to look like the person just received a haircut. His philosophy was a woman should be able to run their hand through their hair and it would remain the same.

In 1979, David created a different technique to cut hair. He would put layers which were deliberately placed, and was known as a dégradé cut. The cut was suited for many types of women, easy to maintain, and had a different look from the styles of that time.

The hair was flattering to a woman’s face and had a soft feel. This became one of David’s trademark cuts.

In 1978 he partnered with Glemby International to open in Manhattan his first salon in America. It offered basic cuts for customers who walked in and more elaborate styles which cost more.

David’s marriage to Lynn Sutherland, Daniele Falke, and Danielle Henriot-Decomis ended in divorce.

He is survived by his wife Zhenya Xia, and sons Lindsay, Jean-Christophe, and daughters Sophie David and Lesley David.

Written by Barbara Sobel


The New York Times: Jean-Louis David, French Hairstylist for the Modern Woman, Dies at 85

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