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STYLE: Leaders of the Pack : Southern California Trendsetters: Portraits From the Creative Edge : A Cut Above: Cristophe

March 13, 1994|MAUREEN SAJBEL

After the haircut heard 'round the world last May, Cristophe became a household name. But fame proved to be a blessing and a curse: Though the Beverly Hills hairdresser was booked solid for weeks following the trim he gave President Clinton at LAX, he also lost the First Couple as clients.

Cristophe predicts that he'll see the Clintons again someday, but there's no rush. "I'm trying to avoid major international crises," says the gentle and good-natured 36-year-old Belgian native. Besides, he adds, "hair is not an important part of their agenda."

Being synonymous with pricey hairstyles put a distressing crimp in business for the $50-a-cut hairdressers at Cristophe's salon, but his own list of regulars was unaffected. Half of Hollywood, it seems, sits in his chair, including Morgan Fairchild, Bruce Springsteen, Kelly Le Brock, Rosanna Arquette, Dustin Hoffman and Steven Spielberg.

Part of Cristophe's appeal is his presence. He's tall (towering over his wife, Danielle Schatteman, who co-owns the salon), ruggedly handsome and wears his blond hair long. Plus, he understands that no one wants to be at the mercy of a hairdresser's ego or fashion's dictates. Instead, he listens to his clients. "I take into consideration the full persona," he says.

This isn't to say that a Cristophe cut is safe. He's known for his striking hair makeovers, which have included taking Hillary Clinton out of her headband and giving her a blunt-cut bob. According to Allure magazine, his hair aesthetic is "as classic, easygoing and perfectly structured as an Armani suit."

On a first salon visit ($250 for women, $150 for men), he'll find out how you feel about your hair, then he'll take his time cutting, which is why he's always running late. "If you come to me," he says, "it's not for what the guy on the corner does."

These days, Cristophe plans new salons in Beverly Hills, St.-Bart's, Florida and Georgia. So far, neither Chelsea nor her parents have been to his new D.C. outpost, but it gets plenty of other bigwigs. "The best part is, I don't have a clue who they are," he says. "A man came in and said he was a secretary of something. I said, 'How do you do? I'm Cristophe,' and I cut his hair. He could be running the country for all I know."

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