Jean-Philippe Beaupied’s styling philosophy can easily be summed up in four words: Reduce to the Max! Minimalism is the foundation the stylist and colourist builds all his work on. Whether he’s consulting, cutting and colouring clients in his salon in Brussels or styling models for catwalk shows and editorial photo shoots, Jean-Philippe’s back to basics approach informs the final result. His salon Premier Studio Artisan Coiffeur emphasises the manual skill, professional training and expert eye required to create seemingly effortless hairstyles that can be recreated at home. As the name of the salon indicates, Jean-Philippe values the artisanal aspect of hairdressing above all. This requirement also extends to his work as expert colourist, specialising in balayage. The natural colour results he achieves seem effortless, but require an intricate skillset. The name of the French technique comes from the free-hand sweeping motion of painting hair like a true artist. We caught up with Jean-Philippe to find out about his craft, inspiration, creating prêt-à-porter hair in his salon and couture styles in his high-fashion work.
Real Expert Talks:
Stylist and Colourist Jean-Philippe Beaupied on the Art of Minimalism
Authentic Beauty Concept: What does authenticity mean to you?
Jean-Philippe Beaupied: For me authenticity is above all about real people, people who have values. As a stylist, I want to return to more basic things with products that are completely adapted and tailor-made to each customer.
More specifically, what is authentic beauty?
Authentic beauty is something timeless, long lasting and completely consistent with each woman's personality. The Authentic Beauty Movement corresponds entirely to the philosophy I already implement in my hair salon. For the design of the space we used authentic materials, we worked with real craftsmen like carpenters and blacksmiths. This artisanal aspect is also very important in authentic beauty.
Is hairdressing an art or a craft?
The two are necessarily intertwined. To put it in simple words, art has to be made by a craftsman, like a painter with his painting or a baker with his bread. We work in professions where from the moment we know how to use our hands, we bring out something artistic.
How do you work with the structure of a client’s hair to create an individual look?
When a customer enters the hair salon we scan her directly. From this first contact and the initial exchange we have with her, we can immediately perceive where she is headed. We see a rather natural or a more sophisticated vibe that stands out, so we adapt our work and the use of each product according to what she evokes and represents. This determines whether the result can be more natural or maybe something a bit more sophisticated.
What inspires you about Ixelles, the neighbourhood in Brussels where your salon is?
What inspires me is that the spaces there are bigger, more airy and you can find many art galleries. We go to the vernissages, we look a little bit at what is happening around us and we get an additional source of inspiration, which enables us to modernise our work.
Your salon is very minimalist and pure. How does this influence your work?
When clients step into the salon, they step into an image. I have always favoured the natural, a result that’s easy to keep. Personally, I have always liked working in very simple spaces and I really wanted to recreate this atmosphere at my hair salon. I wanted to reach all categories of clients. At work I like the simplicity of things, I like the hair to fall naturally. Even if we work it a little more on colour, we still stay in tones that translate easily to the streets. In fact, I think this is really key and it's the image that we work for in our photos and our collections, which is what attracts the clientele that also responds to this style.
What is reduced luxury for you?
It is a simple luxury, without frills, glitter or bling-bling. For me it's also a portable luxury. Nowadays this is very important and what all clients are looking for. To go to the hair salon and to emerge onto the street with a cut they feel comfortable with. They no longer want to be transformed. They have to be able to re-do it themselves at home. I had clients who told me: ‘I have had disappointing experiences where hairdressers did my hair in a way I didn’t feel comfortable with, so when I got home I had a shower and re-did the hair myself.’ That's really the opposite of the way I want to work.
How is your fashion work different from your work in the salon?
The work I do on a shoot or for a fashion show and the work I do in the hair salon belong to two completely different worlds. In the salon, you can express much more what a woman feels and what she finally wants to evoke. For a shooting, we work much more on an image that corresponds to a garment or a brand. We have stronger instructions and choices are not as easily made, but they are really inspiring.
Working on fashion shows inspires me more than working in the hair salon, but one is complementary to the other. In fact, I find that what I manage to convey in the salon with my teams is the result of all the work we do on the shootings and fashion shows. It's very complementary and personally I've always needed this. For my collections and for the training of my teams, I get much more inspiration from fashion shows, or things like that, than from looking at hairstyle books.
So one aspect of your work inspires the other?
In fashion you have ready-to-wear and you have haute couture.
In hairdressing it's the same thing: you have haute couture, which is not always wearable, but which is beautiful aesthetically speaking and builds an image. Then you have ready-to-wear, which is much easier to translate onto a customer and much more wearable in the street.
Jean-Philippe Beaupied’s expert tips and recommendations:
What we leave out is as important as what we put in. Vegan products are more and more in demand in hair salons, that’s just a fact. But the clients want something that works. They want good, functional vegan products that smell nice and feel nice and that they enjoy using.
Be gentle with your hair.
When we work on colour in the salon, we never do a complete transformation, in order to avoid completely changing the nature of the hair. If a client wants a significantly lighter shade, we always stick to very gentle products that respect the integrity of the hair.