As one of the busiest celebrity hairstylists, Adir Abergel brings an encyclopedic knowledge of hair history and an eye for individuality to the Hollywood glitterati.
It’s five days into the Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF), and hairstylist Adir Abergel is running late. “Blame Sienna,” he says when he finally arrives, sliding into a booth at the Intercontinental’s Signatures Restaurant. That would be Miller, whom Abergel just left after giving the actress a “quick, simple chignon” for a press day promoting her film American Woman. Even if you aren’t familiar with Abergel’s name, you’ve seen his work, which populates red carpets at this time of year. In addition to crafting classic Hollywood looks, the Israeli-born, Los Angeles-based coiffeur is equally responsible for bringing some unexpected audacity to awards season. “To me, everyone is equal but everyone is an individual,” he says of his tailored approach. “I guess I’m a good judge of character.” The result is hair that’s cool and youthful, like the blunt cut he gave Saoirse Ronan the day before the Lady Bird nominee walked the Oscars red carpet or the pixie he gave Kristen Stewart. Or the hyper-feminine looks he creates for Jennifer Garner (one of his long-standing clients) and Jessica Biel. Then there’s the elegant and edgy styles he does for Marion Cotillard and Rooney Mara. “Hair is such a reflection of who you are as a person,” he says. “When I’m with Kristen, I can feel she has this amazing, kind soul, but there’s a punk rebellion intermixed,” he says. “Jen is sweet and loving, so you want to create something soft and beautiful.”
Abergel’s ability to create forward and diverse looks is, in part, because of his vast repertoire of references that comes from his years of researching things like hair history, other cultures and photography. So when someone mentions early Avedon, a Vidal Sassoon fivepoint cut or Helmut Lang in the early ’90s, he immediately gets it. “If you don’t know, how are you able to have conversations with art directors and photographers? To reinterpret it into what you do?” he says. But he’s also humble enough to want to keep learning, even technique-wise. “If I wasn’t as busy as I am, I’d maybe go work with geishas for a couple of months,” he says. “I’d go work in an African-American salon, where they just do braiding, and get different dexterities happening in my fingers.” For now, his schedule remains jam-packed with flights to catch, clients to jeuje, skills to sharpen and products to ideate with the hair-care line Virtue as the brand’s creative director. And despite his jetset life, he makes time to acknowledge people behind the scenes. To wit: When he sent Garner hair products, he included some for her cleaning woman. “She texted me and said, ‘Adir, I hope to be you someday,’” he says. “I love Jen like a sister. You’re taking care of my love? I’m taking care of you!”