Associated with the catwalks of Paris, New York and Milan, the images of the most famous fashion photographers, and the advertising campaigns of the most prestigious houses, Odile Gilbert's work as a hairstylist has been one of the mainstays of the fashion industry for the past decade.
Born in Brittany, Odile started her career in 1975 as an apprentice in the Paris studio and salon of the late Bruno Pittini where she learned the basics of the profession. During her time with Pittini, Odile cut and styled the hair of many personalities and icons and assisted at various fashion shows and advertising shoots.
Moving to New York in 1982, Odile sharpened her skills during the next few years, working with photographers like Richard Avedon, Steven Klein, Nick Knight, Karl Lagerfeld, Peter Lindbergh, Jean-Baptiste Mondino, Helmut Newton, Sante D'Orazio, Irving Penn, Herb Ritts, Paolo Roversi and Javier Valhonrat, and she continues to work with them.
Odile's advertising work includes perfume campaigns for various famous houses including Calvin Klein, Lancome, Giorgio Armani and Jean-Paul Gaultier, leading her to describe herself laughingly in one profile as "une coiffeuse au parfum." But she has also worked on many other advertising campaigns for the collections of Chanel, Jean-Paul Gaultier, Lagerfeld Gallery, Sonya Rykiel and Yohji Yamamoto, to name just a few.
However, some of Odile's best known and most reported work is for fashion shows. After working on her first fashion show at the 1994 "Love bal" in Vienna at John Galliano's invitation, the British designer used her not only for his own shows from 1995 to 1997 but also took her with him to Givenchy in 1996 and then Christian Dior in 1997. Odile formed other important relationships at this time, particularly with Karl Lagerfeld in 1996, who invited her to work on the Chanel and Lagerfeld gallery shows, and Jean-Paul Gaultier in 1998. With all the other shows she does each year in Paris, Milan and New York, the list is long: Alberta Ferretti, Helmut Lang, Donna Karan, Christian Lacroix, Emilio Pucci, Paco Rabanne, Sonya Rykiel, Yohji Yamamoto and many others, including the young designers she supports, like Jeremy Scatt and Olivier Theyskens. Each collaboration is not just a job but a dialogue and an exchange of ideas with the designer, in order to feel and interpret the mood of a collection, because she is above all an artisan in the great Parisian tradition of "bordeurs and plumassiers."
The final word goes to Odile Gilbert, the multi-talented perfectionist with the golden hands: "Like all things in life, hairstyling is a living thing. That's the beauty of it. It's the imperfections that make it interesting."