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Paris When It Primps

3 minute read
Natasha Fraser-Cavassoni

If the film Shampoo were remade today and set in Paris, France, there is no doubt that colorist Christophe Robin would play the part that Warren Beatty made famous. Not just because of his sloppy-chic good looks but also because of his friendly style. On this sunny winter day, Robin is preparing for a trip to Los Angeles to join client Catherine Deneuve on the set of Nip/Tuck, but he cannot resist taking a minute to offer romance tips to a gorgeous young Arab princess.

Robin, 35, is the go-to guy among Parisian stars and fashionistas for hair-color treatments (he is also the brains behind Preference, L’Oréal Paris’ popular hair-color line). Now, thanks to a new collaboration with skin specialist Joëlle Ciocco, pedicurist Bastien Gonzalez, osteopath Grégor Schultze, makeup artist Mina Matsumura and vintage expert Dorothy Barrick, Robin and his business partner Hélène Limoges are opening the doors to Autour de Christophe Robin, a three-story beauty space in Paris’ 6th arrondissement.

One of the secrets to Robin’s success is the informal style of his salon, where on any given afternoon Deneuve’s head might be in the washbasin while John Galliano waits his turn and Kristin Scott Thomas checks in. Everyone is treated in the same way, and everyone is included in Robin’s coffee-klatsch conversation. Like Robin’s former salon, Autour stands at the back of a courtyard. “That business of clients sitting outside, talking and smoking will continue,” Robin promises. Nevertheless, there is a secret side entrance for those avoiding the glare of paparazzi. (Both Robin and Gonzalez treat Isabelle Adjani—France’s Greta Garbo.)

The décor is a welcoming mix of pizazz and bohemian comfort. White walls are warmed with pink paint on the first two floors, and muted oak floorboards run throughout. There’s also a dramatic, entrance-making spiral staircase. Each floor features Robin’s quirky flea-market finds, including a Turkish glass chandelier, armchairs covered in Moroccan brocade, and 1950s pottery. Appropriately, Ciocco calls the new salon the “boudoir of Paris.” She says she agreed to the venture out of her infinite respect for Robin’s research—adding that his products offer “a complex alchemy” for being effective and being nutritious to the scalp and hair.

“I’ve been very lucky in Paris,” says Robin, who arrived in the city from Brittany at age 17 and went to work for Jean Louis David before becoming a model booker at Elite Model Management. “People would call up asking for a blond, and I would contact a model and say, “Quick, come to my kitchen—you’re going blond.”

Stephanie Seymour was his first supermodel, and word spread quickly. Seven years later, he opened his color salon. Initially, he worked only with people in fashion. “Then Deneuve called, and suddenly I had the entire cinema world and then the music world.” 9 rue de Guénégaud, (33-1) 42-60-99-15

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