CHARLES BOOTH in 1976
Photo © Lorraine Sylvestre
Charles Booth opened La Coupe, then known as Le Cartier Hairstyles, in Montreal, in 1967. He was 21 years old, having already been trained by Vidal Sassoon in London and worked in the first Sassoon Salon in New York.
He opened a second salon in Montreal, in no time, a salon on Madison Avenue near 63rd Street in 1971, a third salon in Montreal, then he opened a salon in Toronto in 1977.
His first Montreal Salon was the most creative salon, highly successful, very busy, did the hair for most top models, the best fashion shows, editorials, and the beautiful people. The innovative photos I art directed from 1974 to 1978 became world-famous, often setting hair trends everywhere. Hairdressers traveled from all over the world to see our 2-day “Teach-Ins” in 1976-1978 and La Coupe was published in all the major media of the world.
The New York Salon counted superstars and supermodels as clients, as well as society ladies, major press and was also very successful. Sadly, the NY salon closed late 1999, no longer exists, same for the Toronto salon, which had become No. 1 immediately, as we took Toronto by storm. Montreal’s La Coupe still exists, under different management. All of this is another story…
In 1983, Charles started a hair care product line, La Coupe, which was a big success with its chic and unusual black packaging. People still talk about it. La Coupe also introduced the Mousse to North America and was one of the first cruelty-free product lines, not tested on animals. He now lives back in the UK, and sells his Canadian-manufactured products to pharmacies and mass market outlets in many countries.
I opened the first salon, stayed 4 years, resigned, came back 3 years later and, as Creative as well as PR Director, I worked with the hairdressers on the actual hairstyles and colors and art directed the photos, which became world-famous during very heady Camelot-like days from 1974 to 1978 when Charles lived in NY and I was still living in Montreal. All the better because he wasn’t there all the time! I traveled back and forth to the New York and Toronto salons regularly doing PR, photography, organizing fashion, hair and tv shows, until I moved to NY myself late 1978. I left La Coupe in 1979, returned in 1986 for a couple of years, then returned again in the early 90s for a few years.
Charles believed in me; let me create amazing hair and photos for La Coupe with his talented hairdressers, often for art. Many now cult photos. He let me do my thing. And I came up with unique themed campaigns, starting in 1974, all geared to the press, in order to attract clients to the salons. We were particularly prolific during the 70s, as you will see.
We loved and hated each other, Charles and I, through 14 tumultuous and also terrific years over a 30-year period. I resigned twice, Charles fired me twice. He drove me crazy and I drove him crazy. We had spent plenty of time, sometimes years, not speaking to each other, then making up. Although not working together since 1993, there was yet another traumatic disagreement about 2 years ago and currently we are not speaking to each other… Added! Had an hour long conversation from London to New York, so we are now speaking again as of October 14th 2012.
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED HELEN OPPENHEIM © 2012