Ara Gallant was the most talented hairdresser in the world. No one has ever come close to the originality. Polly Mellen
Ara Gallant was born Ira Gallantz in 1932 in the Bronx, but later changed his name because he felt Ara Gallant sounded more exotic. And the life he led was, indeed, an exotic one. Gallant started his career in fashion as a hair-dresser, working at Bergdorf Goodman as one of the cities top colorists. In the mid-1960s he was approached by Vogue and began working exclusively as hair-stylist on photo assignments. In fact, he was the first hair stylist to be paid for such work. Gallant worked with many of the great fashion photographers of the period, Richard Avedon, Irving Penn and Bert Stern, among them. His most notable contribution was the introduction «flying hair» a visual gimmick he first used on an Avedon shot with Twiggy in 1966. The effect is still widely copied today. By the early 1970s Gallant began shooting picture himself. His first assignment was celebrity portraits for Interview magazine. His work often juxtaposed classic Horst-like compositions with contemporary scenarios. In the early 1980s Gallant moved to L.A. to lead with his friend Jack Nicholson and to pursue a directing career. It never happened, in the 1990 he committed suicide in a hotel room in Las Vegas.
As well as Anjelica Huston’s introductions, this book features contributions from Polly Mellen, Veruschka, Penelope Tree, Diane Von Furstenberg, Lauren Hutton, Viva, Bert Stern, Apollonia Van Ravenstein, Paul Van Ravenstein, Pat Cleveland, Ingrid Boulting, Shelley Smith, Steven Meisel, Susan Forristal, Bob Colacello, Brigid Berlin, Barbara Lantz, David Croland, Paul Morrissey, Martin Price, Jo Anne Davidian, Drew Barrymore, Russell Todd, Virginia Hey. Australian born David Wills is an independent curator, photographic preservationist and editor who has accrued one of the world’s largest independent archives of original photographs, negatives and transparencies. He has contributed material to many publications and museums, including The Museum of Modern Art, and in 2002 edited «Bernard of Hollywood’s Ultimate Pin-Up Book» (Taschen). Most recently, Wills has produced a series of photography exhibitions based primarily on images from his archive. His shows include «Edie Sedgwick: Unseen Photographs of a Warhol Superstar», «Murder, Models, Madness: Photographs from the Motion Picture Blow-Up», «Blonde Bombshell», «James Bond» and «Warhology», and have received major profiles in The Los Angeles Times, The New York Times, American Photo and Vogue. In 2008 Wills co-authored «Veruschka» (Assouline). David Currently lives in Los Angeles.