Haute Couture Bridal Hair at Privé Salons

Laurent D Gives Kaptur Brides Hair and Marriage Advice

Today’s guest blogger and interviewer is Deborah Meijer.

Sharon Stone, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jewel…these are only a few of the stars who let übermaestro Laurent Dufourg, owner of the international Privé Salons, fashion their red-carpet hairstyles. And yet, Laurent D, as he is known, or any of his talented Privé stylists, are available to add an haute look to any bride’s wedding day.

Today, Kaptur sits down at the Soho Grand Hotel (next door to Privé), with Laurent and Martine Blanchet, the New York Privé Salon’s manager, for advice on hairstyles for today’s modern bride-to-be.

Laurent D.

Regarding the bride’s big day, says Laurent, the most important thing that the bride to be needs to keep in mind is that “less is more.”

“The big problem with brides,” says Laurent, “is that they try to do too much at their wedding. The hair is too big, the make-up is too heavy. Brides need to remember that the wedding photo is going to be displayed on the piano for years to come—make it something that looks like you.”

Laurent recommends that the bride do a consultation with her hairdresser with plenty of time before the wedding. “People have the tendency to never wear their hair up or in a chignon, never meet with a stylist–and then do some crazy up-do for the wedding. The bride is going to have those wedding shots for the rest of her life, and she won’t look like herself.”

What is the solution, according to Laurent?

“I recommend that the bride do the stylist consultation first. We get brides who are clients of the [Soho Grand] Hotel, strangers to us, for the wedding hairdo. It’s different if we do the daughter of a client…we know her. But when we get someone we don’t know to do their bridal ‘do, it is not ideal, especially when 80% of them have never touched their hair before. They’re often from out of town, and often times, have spent every last penny on their wedding.”

Laurent stresses advance planning. “Consult with the stylist. Definitely try out the hairstyle one—or three—times before the wedding. Bring your veil. Try it one time without a veil, then come back with a veil.”

Veiled brides have different requirements, according to Laurent. “What I like to do with a veiled bride is to create a hairdo with not too much hair exposed. I do a small bun, or a ponytail. Most brides do a ceremony and an after-ceremony, so we have to keep the next hairdo in mind when creating the wedding ‘do.”

How do most brides manage more than one hairstyle and dress change on her big day?

“In the case of a bride staying here at the Soho Grand,” says New York Privé Salon Manager Martine Blanchet, “the bride comes down from upstairs to do her hair, goes back to put on her dress, and then she comes back to the salon after the church or ceremony for her next dress and hairdo.”

Most brides do two dress changes, according to Laurent, some do three, and some change even more. “I did a wedding for my client Jolie Fisher, who did five changes.”

In the case of dress and hair changes, Laurent preps the hair before the wedding hair.  “We don’t want to spend another hour on a re-do so I prep it before the wedding hairdo, so we can do two different do’s. After the wedding, we replace the veil with an accessory such as a flower, or a headband or jewel: something that will look beautiful in photos. And don’t wash your hair the day of your wedding. Wash it the day before,” Laurent adds.

Another bit of advice from this master hairdresser whose talented associates in six international salons have created thousands of creations for brides over the years:

“Keep your stylist for yourself,” says Laurent. “Don’t share. And be alone with your stylist.  Mothers of the bride can be a nightmare. ‘Why do this? Why not do that? Dad won’t like that.’ These are just a few of the comments our people hear over the years when the MOB is in the room. And the bridesmaids…put them in a different room as well. The bridesmaid might want to upstage the bride. This is your day. Insist on privacy and insist on exclusivity.”

And also remember that it is the stylist’s job to make you happy. “Don’t be scared if you don’t like your hairdo. Tell your stylist. It is the stylist’s job to please you, to make you feel and look great.”

Laurent follows his own advice. “I make sure to stay calm with the bride. She has to look fabulous. It’s my job to make it happen the way the bride wants it to.”

Today, Privé Salons are found in New York, Los Angeles, Miami, Orlando and even in recently-opened Al Khobar in Saudi Arabia. Biarritz-born Laurent began his career in Los Angeles, where celeb clients flocked to his salon, enabling him to eventually expand internationally. And eight years ago, Laurent created the salon’s exclusive Privé Hair Product line, carried by 500 salons worldwide.

“From last year, twenty-four countries just started internet distribution. I spent three days in Russia recently. This week we just met with potential Japanese distributors, and we are already distributing in Hong Kong and Singapore.”

What is the secret of the salon product success? According to Laurent, success came when the products went ‘green.’ Three years ago, Privé introduced ‘Concept Vert,’ or ‘Green Concept.’ To see Privé’s Eco-Friendly Socially Responsible Corporate Statement, click here.

“We got great press with our green products. At the time we went green, no one else was doing it. Now everyone is doing it, but some of our competitors’ products aren’t really green. Three years ago, we created green shampoo, green conditioner and green mousse.”

“Mousse was huge,” adds Martine, “because our Privé Mousse is non-aerosal.”

The Privé Green products contain no sulfates, parabens, phthalates, gluten, PABA, mineral oil, paraffin, DEA, TEA or artificial colors. In addition, says Laurent, shipping boxes are recyclable, aerosols are 55% V.O.C. (volatile organic compounds), and Privé has a can-re-use program, among many other Eco-Friendly practices. Privé is also philanthropic, supporting such causes as Breast Cancer Awareness and St. Jude Children’s Hospital.

“I am just trying to do something for the planet,” says Laurent.  “I don’t know if I can help, but I do my best.” Laurent has an idea for a “Big Project in our 500 salons.” He would like to “one day have everyone cut their hair with no electricity—not blow dry, no curling iron—and no water.”

“We would use dry shampoo,” says Martine. “We are coming out with one soon.”

“It is not easy to find products that perform well and are green,” says Laurent. “Not ‘pretend-to-be-green,’ but really green. If you really want to be green, you cannot use dye. Dye right now cannot be green. But we are trying to do as much research as possible to help the planet.”

Laurent and his talented staff prepare the bride as best they can for the bride’s wedding day. But after that? Regarding the ensuing marriage, Laurent still has words of advice–regarding hair. The first?

“Don’t wear extensions to bed.”

And the second key to a successful relationship?

“Don’t wear curlers to bed.  No man likes that.”

Haute Couture Wedding Invitations: Connor Stationery at Barney’s

Our guest blogger today is Deborah Meijer, who spoke to Connor Stationery Creative Director, Henri Richter-Werner.

Shortly after the marriage proposal takes place, the wedding date is bandied about. And after the wedding date is finalized and wedding venue chosen, the next logical bridal step is choosing the invitation. For that, if you need wedding stationery befitting your Haute Couture Chanel wedding gown, Connor Stationery is the place to go. Just as fashion has inspired table centerpieces, dinnerware, color palettes and wedding cakes designed to match your dress, that A-list bridal dress you splurged on certainly deserves the finest lifestyle brands.

First, a few things the company is not, according to Connor’s Creative Director, Henri Richter-Werner:

“We are not your grandma’s dusty stationery with ornaments, bows and ribbons. We are not your neighborhood stationery store. We are not just a service business. We do not just sell paper.”

That straight, Richter-Werner tells us what Connor is:

“Connor is a modern and unique lifestyle brand, one that delivers the finest, most incredible and superior dimensional engravings. With Connor, it’s as if Tom Ford wanted to design stationery. We are Lesage to Chanel, what Hermès is to leather goods, what Connolly Leather is to Aston Martin or Rolls Royce. What Connor aims to supply to its clients is an unsurpassed level of taste and quality.”

With embossed images ranging from custom-designed elephants balancing on a ball to a pistol shooting xoxo, it is apparent sooner rather than later that Connor is not your grandmother’s pastel, bordered note card with the swirly ball of embossed entangled initials.

“Other stationery companies simply provide a service. Connor’s point of view is to deliver the unexpected, the unique, the lifestyle. It’s lunch at La Grenouille versus lunch at Panera.”

Richter-Werner’s analogy to a French restaurant is an apt one, since all Connor Stationery engraving is done in Paris.

“I have met with engravers from England, Germany, Spain, and I will soon visit Argentina, all in an effort to look for new ways of executing one-of-a-kind engraving,” says Richter-Werner. “The way I look at it is: I craft simplicity with the limelight on engraving,”

Richer-Werner and his business partner, Justin Felber, started Connor a few years back, and just this past fall, moved to Barney’s in New York City. Future plans include targeting other luxury accessory markets and expanding to the digital word down the road. But for now, they are content to make sure their brand reflects the level of perfection their high-end clients demand. Whether it be an A-list celeb, Graff Jewelers, or even an invitation they produced for a recently-held Blenheim Palace Foundation dinner attended by the 11th Duke of Marlborough, Connor seems to be the go-to company for high-end commissions.

“For the Blenheim Palace invitation,” says Richter-Werner, “we used a new technique. We weren’t happy with the standard ink colors available for engraving the Blenheim Palace image. So we mixed inks to achieve a color we call graphite-silver. This color had never been done before. But we wanted to achieve a different look, one befitting the finest example of English Baroque design in the United Kingdom, the palace birthplace of Winston Churchill and World Heritage Site. We spent our own funds to achieve the quality we needed for that commission.”

Speaking of quality, the tiny dot that appears on their website as well as embossed on each card and envelope, is a Trademarked Connor design, designating the finest workmanship and taste that money can buy, according to Richter-Werner, and will be instantly recognized by the true connoisseur.

Although Connor is known to dictate its artistic point of view, whenever possible Richter-Werner likes to meet Connor clients in person.

“We take direction from the client. We like to see their sensibilities. Are their glasses contemporary or vintage? Do they mix a white gold watch with yellow gold rings? Are they chunky jewelry, Chanel traditional, Staurino? I look at accessories, even nail polish—is it Rose Insolent or the edgier Blue Boy of Chanel’s latest season? As I talk with the client, I am subconsciously noticing all these things.”

Their designs are noticed as well, particularly by luxe brands such as Manolo Blahnik and VanCleef and Arpels. Both have commissioned Connor to design cards to celebrate an anniversary, to give as a preferred client gift, or to invite treasured guests to a party.

“These luxury brands see that we craft a work in the language of fashion,” says Richter-Werner. “Van Cleef hired us to design a holiday card. We designed a hot-air balloon that was one-of-a-kind, not just in the execution, but also in the design. We pay close attention to minute detail with dimensional engravings done in hardened steel, as opposed to photoengraving. We use 4-ply stock with embossed and raised dimensions of impressions that are superior, in our opinion, to any other engraver.”

And Connor looks at big-picture design. “If you examine our website, you will see that it reflects our point of view and quality,” says Richter-Werner. “You know you are in a world of luxury and refined taste. There are hundreds of paper companies out there, but our website alone shows what we represent.

“In addition, we take a cohesive approach to our product. When we are designing, say, a wedding invitation, we will also link that design to your save the date, to your thank you cards, and we even keep in mind birth announcements, should you need them sometime in the future.”

To sum up the design philosophy of the haute couture of stationery, Richter-Werner points out that, “Anyone can buy the best paper. To that, we at Connor add the best and most desirable design.