Artist Profile: Serge Normant
The multitasking hairstylist whose name is synonymous with sultry glamour.
- Written By
- EVELYN CROWLEY
Entrusting a 12-year-old to cut your hair seems akin to handing them your car keys, which is to say it’s unwise (at best) and catastrophic (at worst). But Jeannine Normant believed her son Serge, who spent hours studying the glamorous coiffures of women in their 1960s Paris neighborhood, was up to the task. Hence, when he approached her with the proposition of a Vidal Sassoon–inspired bowl cut (to be executed with a pair of fabric shears) she didn’t hesitate to say oui. “My mother was so supportive,” says Normant, who recalls thinking that the subsequent cut looked amazing (no word as to how it was actually received). “She believed in me from the get-go.”
Eager to hone his craft, Normant left school at 15 to apprentice at a string of salons, eventually finding his way to the storied Jacques Dessange in Paris, where he met his mentor, the legendary stylist Bruno Pittini. When Pittini moved to New York in the late ‘80s to open a salon, Normant followed. It didn’t take long for the fashion industry to notice his talent, and he soon parted ways with Pittini to devote his time largely to editorial work.
Today, Normant is considered one of the most respected and sought-after hairstylists in the world (and thus the natural choice for an Artist Profile to coincide with the launch of the VIOLET GREY hair curation). His three-decades-long career encompasses countless photo shoots and campaigns, a coterie of devoted clientele (Julia Roberts, Reese Witherspoon and Gisele Bündchen among them), two coffee-table tomes, two salons-within-a-salon at John Frieda in New York and an industry-beloved hair-care line, which he launched in 2011.
Known for his penchant for big, sexy hair, he is always up for an elegant bouffant (like the one he gave Julia Roberts for the 2001 Oscars) and is credited with single-handedly igniting the beachy-waves fervor of the mid-aughts. Ultimately, however, what makes Normant a true great is his ability to never lose sight of the woman herself — who she is and what makes her feel most attractive. “It’s about respecting someone’s personality first and foremost,” he explains. “Not putting my mark on them but [rather] having them walk out of the salon with a look that works for their lifestyle and hair type.”
Serge Normant reveals his favorite looks along with his must-have products and personal hair-care mantra.
Diptyque Baies Noire candles.
Audrey Hepburn, Brigitte Bardot, Marilyn Monroe and Ava Gardner for their glamour and individual style.
“Healthy hair is glamorous hair.”
Bruno Pittini [famous late French hairstylist and creative force behind the Jacques Dessange salon empire.]
Marilyn Monroe. She had a vulnerability that makes me want to have known her. Her looks have been an inspiration for me, and some of my favorite images are the “weekend” photos with minimal makeup — more relaxed and less glamorous. It would be interesting to see what contemporary looks she would have chosen if she was still with us today. Spiritually, the Dalai Lama.
Something in the arts, for sure, and probably sculpture.
BEST NIGHT EVER
There have been so many incredible moments, but for me it was the night before my newborn brother came home from the hospital. I wasn’t able to visit him in the hospital, so I couldn’t wait for him to come home and to meet him. I remember clearly preparing his room and being so full of excitement and joy. I was so excited to see a glimpse of him as the car pulled up.
FINISH THIS SENTENCE: “THE FIRST THING I NOTICE ABOUT A PERSON IS..."
CAN'T LEAVE HOME WITHOUT
My attitude! Being French I think everyone will know what that means.
FIVE PRODUCTS ALWAYS IN MY STYLING KIT
From my collection: Meta Lush Volumizer, Meta Luxe Hairspray, Meta Sheer Dry Oil, Meta Revive Dry Shampoo, and Dream Big Instant Volumizing Spray.