Naïm Abboud: A Brush With HistoryCarole Corm traces the glamorous, golden trajectory of the Middle East’s most sought-after hairdresser.

Naïm Abboud: A Brush With HistoryCarole Corm traces the glamorous, golden trajectory of the Middle East’s most sought-after hairdresser.

Issue 28

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Arts & Culture

Tante Alice’s day began with a visit from her hairdresser. Each day, while sitting at her art deco dressing table, she would have her hair done up in a netted bun. Her hairdresser, Clovis, would go to Tante Alice’s sprawling, antique-filled flat before setting off to work at Beirut’s Saint Georges Hotel, which had a popular hair salon. Clovis had an imposing character, a long face and stern expression, not to mention one of those historical names that the Christian Lebanese, in deference to the French mandate forces, gave to their children in the first half of the 20th century. (Other popular names included Charles de Gaulle and Jeanne d’Arc.)

Before Naïm Abboud left for work, he would often sit and watch Clovis do his aunt’s hair. One morning, Clovis suggested the teenage...

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