To hair is human, to do it like Kremer is divine

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To hair is human, to do it like Kremer is divine

"I've seen so many Korean women with blonde hair," observes L'Oreal hair stylist Guy Kremer, "but I think it's too harsh. Deep red can work very well -- just as strong black looks great on Asians."

The baby-faced, London-based Mr. Kremer made his observations a few days ago while visiting Seoul to introduce the season's new styles at the L'Oreal Professional Paris 2002 fall/winter trend show.

Lots of Korean men, Mr. Kremer added, have the same boring haircuts. "They should date young women -- get a life first. Then they'll know how to change!"

This comes from a man who has short blond hair with the center sculpted to form a rooster's comb. "My new, crazy hairstyle. It shocks people, and I love it! At 50, I couldn't feel better," he crows, bursting into mischievous laughter.

Mr. Kremer's beaming face exudes the aura of Yves Saint Laurent behind an Alain Mikli frame. His compact body is wrapped in a peach-colored Versace shirt and black satin pants.

Over dim sum and red wine, he chats flamboyantly about his dear friends Elizabeth Hurley, Carla Bruni and Jerry Hall.

The French-born Mr. Kremer and his art director Jonny Engstrom presented their three new color themes for Korean hair, dubbed "Dramatic Heroine" (dark dramatic hair), "Baroque Heroine" (medium-toned romantic hair) and "Magic Heroine" (light natural hair), last week at the Inter-Continental Hotel.

For the past quarter century, Mr. Kremer has served as L'Oreal's style director, a post requiring unlimited reserves of cool. He circles the globe, introducing the latest hairstyles and techniques, with Mr. Engstrom. The pair met at one of Mr. Engstrom's seminars in Sweden seven years ago.

Mr. Kremer also runs a L'Oreal concept salon in Winchester, outside London, employing 25 stylists.

How does a trendsetter discover new trends? Mr. Kremer says he meets frequently with fashion designers and magazine editors. "Karl Lagerfeld, for example, draws not only the clothes for his collection, but also the hairstyles and makeup," Mr. Kremer says with a Frenchman's English and a British native's accent. "Fashion editors prepare photo shoots months in advance, requiring a similar focus on hair and makeup."

Mr. Kremer creates hairstyles that are specific enough to reflect the latest fashion trends, yet general enough so that variations in colors and cuts can work on people of different nationalities.

He believes a hairstyle should embrace the person's physical features, fashion sense, personality and lifestyle. "The minute a client walks into my salon, I pick up their personality and style preferences," he says. "Bringing out their personality is not about precision cutting, but overall styling to create the desired effect."


Q : What are the biggest messes you've faced?

A : Extreme color changes, like from blond to black or vice versa. And I once had a 75-year-old client whose hair I had to blow dry every time it fell flat because she was having hot flashes.

What do you suggest for older folks with gray or receding hair?

As you age, you need to go lighter. Women can wear lighter hair colors. Men look distinguished with gray. If you stick with jet black hair when your skin is wrinkled and saggy, you'll look like a cadaver. Going bald? Then shave! It brings out character.

What about women who are losing hair?

Keep the hair short and natural.

by Inēs Cho

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