Beauty’s New Wave

Curls, braids, swoops, and bows—this season, hair is worn any way but straight. Here, hairstylist Olivier Schawalder creates contemporary looks with old-school techniques.

Hair by Olivier Schawalder
Photographs by Liv Liberg
Styled by Emilie Kareh
Makeup by Marie Duhart

Diane Chiu wears a Ferragamo jacket and shorts; Wolford tights; Louis Vuitton shoes.
Diane Chiu wears a Ferragamo jacket and shorts; Wolford tights; Louis Vuitton shoes.

“I hate mood boards,” says Olivier Schawalder. “I don’t need them, because everything is in my head.” For this story, the Paris-based hairstylist mentally assembled editorial, advertising, and film images from the 1960s and early ’70s (think Charlotte Rampling and Marisa Berenson), along with some drop-dead-chic Yves Saint Laurent perfume ads from the early ’80s. Not every muse was human—one of the looks was inspired by the iconic sweep of hair on Elnett hairspray cans. “My work usually contains a lot of graphic shapes and bold color,” says Schawalder. “Everything is always straight, perfect, and triangular. Here, I wanted to get away from that and explore styles that are more wearable but still have my touch.”

Chalk it up to his Swiss upbringing, or the fact that he spent several years in Japan before settling back in Europe, but Schawalder’s “touch” is unswervingly polished and precise, with each hair placed as if his life depends on it. “I’m a true Virgo perfectionist,” he admits. “I like to think everything I do has a certain finesse, even when the direction is more grunge or punk.” Not that he gets too attached to a specific style: “You may start with something, but when you see it on set, you realize you can make it better by adjusting a tiny little detail, and that changes everything.”

Hot rollers recently eclipsed the crimping iron as his favorite tool, and he used them to dramatic effect in these pages. “Not so many people use rollers, as they’re big and heavy to carry around,” he says. “But you put them in, send the model to makeup and styling, and then, when they’ve been in for 40 minutes or so and the hair is fully cold, you take them out, brush the hair, and end up with something very different—you get a feeling and a texture you never have with other tools.”

A self-described “late bloomer” in the industry, Schawalder began his career in the early aughts coiffing clients in a high-end salon in Lausanne, Switzerland, an experience he credits with influencing how he approaches his session work with brands like Mugler and Viktor & Rolf. “You learn how to put those rollers in, you learn how to behave, what to say, what not to say, how to make people like you. It’s all a big plus for when you’re in fashion.” Just don’t ask him to make a mood board.

Annemary Aderibigbe wears a Prada jacket and collar; Charlotte Chesnais earrings.

Freya Nutter wears a Celine by Hedi Slimane jacket and shorts; Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello earrings.

Chiu wears a Givenchy jacket; Charvet shirt; Loewe pants.

Aderibigbe wears a Burberry jacket; Messika Paris earrings.


Chiu wears an Alaïa jacket and bodysuit; De Beers rings; Wolford tights.

Aderibigbe wears a Prada jacket.

Nutter wears an Hermès top; Pomellato earrings.

Nutter wears an Issey Miyake jacket; Repossi earrings.

Aderibigbe wears an Akris tank top; Fendi pants and shoes; Saint Laurent by Anthony Vaccarello cuff; Falke tights.

Nutter wears a Proenza Schouler dress.

Hair by Olivier Schawalder at Art+Commerce; makeup by Marie Duhart for Clarins at Bryant Artists; manicures by Alex Feller for Manucurist at Artlist Paris. Models: Annemary Aderibigbe and Diane Chiu at Premium Models; Freya Nutter at Supreme Management. Casting by Piergiorgio Del Moro and Samuel Ellis Scheinman at DM Casting. Set design by Sati Leonne at Bryant Artists.

Produced by Town Productions; Head of Production: Silvia Nicoletti; Photography assistants: Daniel Rodriguez Serrato, Hermine Werner; Digital Technician: Philippe Billemont; Postproduction: INK; Fashion assistants: Silke Holzschuher, Shana Luqué; Production assistants: Alexandre Blondeau, Minami Shishido, Sarah Bailly; Hair assistants: Damien Lacoussade, Bastien Zorzetto; Makeup assistant: Natsuki Oneyama; Set assistant: Gilles Jacot.