Written by Michaela Doyle
Christophe-Nicolas Biot’s first true love was hair. It was while he was accompanying his mother on a trip to the salon when he was 14 years old that he discovered the alluring world of hair couture. He was drawn in by the whole atmosphere of the salon: the smells of the products, the malleability and variability of the material, the easy camaraderie between the stylist and the client. He knew then he would be a hair stylist.
Styled by Veronique Droulez
Hair and Make up by Vichika Yorn
Featuring Christophe-Nicolas Biot
Since the start of his career in his hometown of Mulhouse, to today, with his own eponymous salons throughout Paris and across France, Biot has always seen hair as “the primordial accessory.”
Because the hair is life. It is also a person’s principal garment or accessory. I would say even more, it is the primordial accessory, a permanent piece of clothing—and that’s what will define a personality!
-CNB on hair as a creative medium
Today, Biot’s salons offer innovative services for fashion-forward clients who are short on time. His first concept was the “Bar à Chignon Minute,” or the Minute Bun Bar, which allows clients to drop by the salon for a bun styled in 10, 20 or 30 minutes. A versatile and timeless look, the bun, as Biot explains, “has the impact of a small bomb in the middle of the hairstyle.” When the Bun Bar was launched, there were sometimes queues stretching down the sidewalk. Following its success, Biot devised “Le Bar des Coloristes,” “La Coup a Sec Minute,” and “Atelier Biot”—the last one, “a veritable vegetal sanctuary,” as Biot explains.
Aside from the services, the physical spaces are also of paramount importance to Biot, who decorates all his salons himself. His guiding principle is always “to create places where people feel calm and find comfort,” which often means he uses materials and furnishings you might not find in a typical salon space. With storefronts in venerable settings like stately buildings in Paris’ 6th and 8th, a classic half-timbered house in Mulhouse, a palace in Val d’Isère and a chateau in Saint-Tropez, he also aims to respect the architectural identity and adapt his salons to the history of the place.
I need to create places where people feel calm and find comfort. The materials I use are of course important, and are often the opposite of a traditional hair salon.
-CNB on the ambiance of his salons
As much care as he puts into his salons, it is more so the case with his hair treatments and product collections. Natural and sustainable haircare has been at the center of Biot’s work since the beginning, from his vegetable-based hair color to his signature products. The two product lines “by BIOT” and “Mon Protocole” are eco-responsible, made in France, and bottled in recycled containers. Biot launched his first line, “by BIOT,” in 2012, with ingredients that are completely natural and bottled in Brittany. Now featuring 10 products distributed at prestigious points of sale like Printemps Hausmann and the spa at the Four Seasons Megève, the line includes his “poudre de shampooing,” which was one of the first solid shampoos in the industry. Biot describes his newest line, “Mon Protocole,” which launched in 2020, as more artisanal. The products are completely made by hand and contain spring water from Charente and essential oils from organic French farms.
Since beginning in this profession, I flirted with the world of plants, because plants are also chemistry. I remain convinced that the more time goes by, the more and more we will use more natural things like plants—and not only for coloring the hair…. plants have a more than interesting and essential future, even if only for our ecosystem, of which we are increasingly aware of its fragility. For the rest as for the hair—and certainly for the hair—plants and flowers represent life.
-CNB on natural haircare
Naturally, however, Biot draws inspiration from more than just plants. His artistic and creative touchstones are varied and genre-spanning. With his interest in creative, sustainable world-building, his two favorite designers are Yves Saint-Laurent and Courrèges because, as he explains “they know how to create a real world and a real vision of the world with their creations.” He is also moved by photography, with Guy Bourdin, Robert Doisneau, Helmut Newton and Peter Lindberg inspiring his aesthetic. In the realm of painting, he takes notes from Gaugin, Matisse and Monet, and his leading lady muses include Great Garbo, Marlene Dietrich, Romy Schneider, Nicole Kidman and Kate Blanchet. And when he’s looking for auditory inspiration, he turns to Nina Simone, Jacques Brel, Mélody Gardot, the Beatles, Mick Jagger, Leonard Cohen, Bob Dylan and Sylvie Vartan.
Yves Saint-Laurent and Courrèges are my two favorite designers because they know how to create a real world and a real vision of the world with their creations!
-CNB on his favorite designers
Biot is at home in his salons, but to really see him in his element, you must look to his hair shows. True spectacles that reach well beyond the featured hair styles, Biot’s shows tell stories. What he achieves is extravagant and dazzling, but the goal from the beginning has always been simple: “not to do like the others.”
The dresses, the makeup, the music and the images used were just as important as—if not more so than—the hairstyles themselves, with myself as the main actor, and as actresses, the models.
-CNB on his hair shows
Biot’s ambitious and eccentric hair shows are a fitting complement to his work with Zoot over the years. With numerous Zoot credits to his name, Biot is a dear friend of the magazine. As he explains, it is the “limitless madness and creativity at the service of image and fashion” that keeps him coming back to Zoot. “Because it is so avant-garde, it is a pleasure to see your work published in a magazine like this.”
And now, he can add “model” and “fashion icon” to his long list of ZOOT credits.