Book Release: Kenneth: Shear Elegance
Discover the story of the pioneering hairstylist, Kenneth Battalle, who obliterated the once-omnipresent hat and transformed the fashion industry through his A-list clients at his iconic 54th Street Salon. This lovely coffee table book is authored by Giuseppe Longo. Giuseppe spent nearly ten years at the Kenneth Salon in New York City – formerly at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel on Park Avenue – where he was introduced to clients, employees, and Kenneth’s fabled history.
Kenneth Battalle, known simply as “Kenneth,” started his 50-year career in the early 1950s in New York City and built a loyal client list who swore by his skills, including Jacqueline Kennedy, Marilyn Monroe, Audrey Hepburn, Princess Margaret, Diana Vreeland, Lucille Ball, and Gloria Vanderbilt.
Photos (some never before published), notes, clippings, and original Joe Eula illustrations richly exhibit both his myriad achievements and America’s 20th-century high-fashion scene.
This biography not only celebrates his extraordinary talent but examines his behind-the-scenes life and career struggles, including the disastrous fire that destroyed his salon, and his perseverance moving forward. Through personal memories of those closest to him, including friends, clients, and former employees, the man who created a cult of classic, timeless ladies comes to life.
“Kenneth’s clientele roster was famous in itself. When Marilyn Monroe went to Chicago for her movie premiere of ‘Some Like It Hot,’ she asked him to accompany her to prepare her for appearances. When Truman Capote hosted his party of the century, the notorious Black and White Ball, Kenneth’s salon was inundated with ladies wanting their hair bejeweled, sculpted, and outshine the next attendee,” biographer Giuseppe Longo said. “Kenneth’s years working for all the magazines, his clients, and the fashion photographers is unparalleled today. His artistry, the way he made hair the most beautiful accessory, is to be studied and tremendously respected.”
As a contributor to the book, Melissa Rivers recalls bonding moments with her mother, Joan Rivers, when she was just a girl visiting the Kenneth Battelle salon. “Mr. Kenneth. That’s what I called him. That’s what we all called the most famous hairstylist in twentieth-century New York—never just Kenneth or Ken or even Mr. Battelle,” Melissa says. “My mother was fortunate enough not only to be a client of Mr. Kenneth’s but also to be one of his best friends. And that is the Mr. Kenneth whom I remember best. Under his stern, soaring exterior was kindheartedness and a great sense of humour. At the lowest point in my mother’s life, following the suicide of my father, Mr. Kenneth became her steadfast rock.”
Kenneth: Shear Elegance is available for pre-order at Amazon, Independent Bookstores and wherever great books are found.
Author – Giuseppe Longo
Foreword – Garren
Foreword – Melissa Rivers
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