Bettina Clahsen (b. 1941) studied photography at the Folkwang University of the Arts in Essen, Germany. She has been based in Zürich since 1960.
Peter Gaechter (b. 1939) trained in gravure printing at Conzett+Huber, completed his preparatory course at Zürich’s Kunstgewerbeschule and studied photography at the Zurich University of the Arts.
In 1984, they founded the GAECHTER+CLAHSEN photographic studio in Zürich together.
Over the course of several decades, photographer Peter Gaechter shot a wide array of hairdos for Zürich hairdresser Elsässer Pour Dames, tracking the changes in—and revivals of —hairstyles in late 20th-century Switzerland.
The present publication brings together a selection of his photographs from the catalogues on display at these upmarket salons, showing the latest hairstyle trends from the 1970s to the 1990s. These sculpturesque cuts and coiffures, which were to be reproduced à l’identique on the customers’ heads, were also telltale signs of the times. Whether a punk or “Cold War Kids” cut, a “five-finger” blow-dry, feathery “Charlie’s Angels” wings or “Old Hollywood” coiffure—the multifarious hairstyles of local beauties, “It girls” and actresses featured in this book reflect the “why not?” whateverism of liberal consumer culture as well as concrete changes in society, e.g. in the sudden apparition of a clunky cell phone included in the picture frame as a pixie cut accessory.