Paris, France

“For me, hair is the major material through which I express myself.”

What country are you from and where do you live?

I’m French, born in Marseille. I have lived between Paris and NYC and travelled to many places all over the world for the past 35 years. During these years I think I’ve spent more time in planes, airports and trains than at home.

Title of what you do and what company you work with?

Im a hairstylist and I work in fashion and beauty industry, mainly for international editions of Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, ELLE, and with hair brands as a consultant, TV commercials for fragrance … designer brands, celebrities, etc.

Education background (Hair school, art school, no school)?

Well, I stopped college at a young age, I didn’t have much interest in the regular school program so I ended up in what we call in France a CFA, which is a government school for hairdressing. I must confess it wasn’t very fulfilling for me so I did not carry the experience too long. But I did stay in the business and learned to be a hairdresser working in hair shops in my home town until I decided to move to Paris at the age of 18 with the goal of working in the fashion industry.

What is your signature style/artistic expression?

I love diversity, I love innovation, so in a way it is quite difficult to lock myself into one specific style. In the fashion industry, you have to be capable of doing all kinds of hairstyles. For sure, like any fashion hairstylist I like to be creative, I worked with designers such as Alexander McQueen, John Galliano, Jean Paul Gaultier etc, it was a fantastic experience. For me, hair is the major material through which I express myself. Creating only for a particular niche of expression just repeating over and over again the same technique and approach becomes boring at some point. My perfect journey, if I can say that, travels from the simple, for example a kiss curl on a slicked back style to done/undone grungy, passing through glam in all its shapes and forms and on and on to maximum extravaganza and everywhere around.

What was your career turning point/your big break?

There have been a few ! Two major moments: First was my first cover of Vogue Paris. I was twenty four and in the right place at the right time, nobody was available and my number was 

called. I can say that at the time I did not feel technically ready to face such a challenge. I was terrified that a hairstyle would be requested that I did not have the technical skills or confidence to deliver. But it turned to be a fantastic day. I was signed up with an agent and slowly my name became recognized in the fashion industry. 

The second moment was two years later . I was invited to be part of an exhibition at the Louvre Museum in Paris. I was lucky to be the only hairstylist selected, it was enormous for me. I was asked to come up with ideas for six images. I decided to create hairstyles in paper and wood. 

To top it off, as if things couldnt get better, the photos were taken by the legendary icon of fashion photography, Jeanloup Sieff. This exposure got me much attention from fashion magazines and designers. I was considered as a sure value in the industry.

What was your scariest and proudest moment in your career?

A real nail-biter was a couture show I did for fashion week. I had spent weeks and weeks in my atelier with my twenty assistants designing and preparing complicated wigs for famous models chosen to walk in a hugely anticipated show for a world famous couture house—the responsibility and expectation were huge. As was usual with fashion week, when models are rushing from one show to the next. They arrive with barely minutes to spare before they walk. My assistants and I would race to fix the huge hair pieces securely. At one point there were eight assistants frantically working on one head. The sweat running down my back moment was when the model arrived super late, seconds to go before she walked. The wig was enormous and I had time only for a few bobby pins before she stepped on stage. I held my breath imagining the wig crashing down on the stage, and worse, in front of hundreds of influential people in fashion with TV cameras broadcasting the disaster. But luckily fortune was on my side and all the wigs miraculously stayed perfectly in place. 

My proudest moment was when I published my book—a conversation about hair: questions and answers. It’s about my three decades of experience as a hairstylist in the fashion and beauty industry. It is filled with anecdotes, ideas and inspirations. It is dedicated to all 

generations and levels of hairdressers in the world. It’s less a book for/about the fashion industry and more a book for my family—all the hairdressers around the world.

What is next for your career goals?

Education, transmission of technique. Hairdressing is both a craft and a profession, it has so many technical challenges and so much room for innovation. Confidence is key and confidence comes from skill and knowledge – expertise frees you to create and innovate. I will always remember what Karl Lagerfeld said to me on a photoshoot. Nico, you need to give back what you know, don’t bury it in a pine box with you.” It didn’t really ring in my head at the time, but years later I understood clearly what he meant. 

A few weeks ago I started ATELIERS NICOLAS JURNJACK to share my knowledge and experience of studio techniques—and my passion. 

link : www.formationscoiffure.com

What advice would you give to someone starting out in your business?

Be passionate, love what you do, believe in what you do. With social media, it can be easy to be an overnight sensation, but if you want to survive, thrive, build a successful career you need a solid base from which to grow. Technical skills are technical skills, an important base that gives you a firm ground and a firm structure from which to fly free with confidence to create and innovate. The fashion world mixes and blends references from every era 20s 30s ….90s and now 2000, it always has and no doubt will continue doing so. In the business of fashion – models, celebrities, make up artists, designers, stylists, editors, photographers, whatever part you play in a team – you are only ever as good as your last job, you need to constantly build on the last step you made, constantly learn, innovate, expand and reinvent. I recommend, to any hairdressers or hairstylists willing to join the « studios », take your time, go slowly but surely, work with different « masters », gather experience, amass skills, build habits that allow your inspiration to thrive. In the fashion industry when the train stops jump aboard with a solid foundation, skills and resources. It rarely stops twice.

Instagram:  @nicolasjurnjack