Italian hairstylist Aldo Coppola is being celebrated in Milan with an exhibition held at La Triennale museum. Running until March 2, the retrospective is called “Bellezza senza tempo,” or “Timeless beauty,” and pays tribute to the creativity of the famed hairstylist — who died in 2013 — also retracing five decades of the history of beauty. In fact, the exhibit coincides with the 50th anniversary of Coppola’s namesake brand.
Conceived by the hairstylist’s son Aldo Coppola Jr., the retrospective lines up over 250 fashion images shot by prominent photographers, including Oliviero Toscani, David Bailey, Gian Paolo Barbieri, Giovanni Gastel and Fabrizio Ferri, among others. Video installations display footage of Coppola’s work and hectic life spent on sets, in his beauty salons and in fashion shows’ backstages, highlighting his bond with key magazines, photographers and designers worldwide, including Giorgio Armani, Versace, Gianfranco Ferré and Valentino, to name a few.
Divided into 12 thematic sections, the interiors of the exhibit are dominated by Coppola’s signature red through a wallpaper of roses in that color. Roses were the hairstylist’s favorite flower, considered symbols of strength, passion and sensuality.
Born on Feb. 14, 1940, Coppola started his career prematurely at 13 years old. After winning the Italian championship of female hairstyling at 15, Coppola left his father’s salon to open his first atelier in Milan’s central Via Manzoni in 1965. Meanwhile, he started the many collaborations with international magazines and designers, infusing their fashion shows’ styling with his vision.
A strong supporter of the health of hair, Coppola promoted natural techniques and launched his own line of hair-care products. With the creation of new and daring haircuts and innovative coloring methods, including the renowned “Shatush” bleaching technique, Coppola contributed to raising the profile of hairstylists. Franca Sozzani, the late editor in chief of Vogue Italia dubbed him “the first real star in this industry.”
Founded in 1973, the company is currently led by Coppola’s son, who further developed it commercially with over 50 franchisees in Italy and a professional training academy, while his sister Monica took the helm of the creative side.
In addition to the exhibition, a tome named “Bellezza Senza Tempo” has been released. Published by Carlo Cambi Editore and with over 210 pages, the art book features 11 chapters of images and anecdotes, including an introduction penned by Toscani, Coppola’s close friend. The book will be available to purchase at Accademia Aldo Coppola and La Triennale’s bookshop at the price of 85 euros, or $91 at current exchange.