Paul Newman. Joanne Woodward. Bette Davis. Christopher Plummer. Martha Stewart. Phillip Addario.
Which name does not belong on that list?
None! All are current or former Westporters. All share the spotlight.
If you don’t recognize the last name, you must not be a real resident. As countless devoted clients and friends can tell you, Phillip — he goes by only one name, like Madonna or Pele — is the real deal.
For nearly 60 years Phillip’s Coiffure, Phillip’s of Westport and — since 1988, Phillip Bruce Salon — have been the go-to studios for Westporters as famous as movie stars, and as normal as my mother.
Phillip treated them all the same. He made them all look beautiful (or handsome).
On August 28, Phillip hangs up his scissors. He’ll turn off his blow dryer.
His birthday is the next day. Phillip turns 80. He’s ready to not stand for 8 hours a day.
It’s time to be with his family, travel, and tend to his beloved orchid collection and epic gardens.
His dedicated and fiercely loyal clients are as devastated to see him go as his husband Bruce, daughters Lauren, Lisa, Lesley and Lynsey, and 6 grandchildren are to have him for the next chapter in their lives.
Hairdressing has been Phillip’s life since his teenage years. At 17 — immediately after graduating from Hamden High School — he headed to Elm City Beauty Academy in New Haven.
In 1958 he was hired by Charles of the Ritz on Westport’s Main Street.
Five years later he partnered with his then-wife (and fellow beauty school graduate) Camille to open Phillip’s Coiffure.
The Post Road spot, across from Playhouse Square, was ahead of its time. It was among the first high-end salons to feature a “star hairdresser” — Phillip — who charged top dollar for styles that were customized “works of art,” rather than traditional cuts. He was often booked 6 months in advance, with customers from all over the area.
With a staff of 40, he spent 20 years tending to the locks of many A-list names. Christopher Atkins’ famously permed blond look was born at Phillip’s.
In 1988 Phillip opened Phillip Bruce Salon near the old Pier 1, with Bruce Chapman, his longtime partner (they are now married). Today, the salon is located behind the Fire Department headquarters.
Bruce is not retiring. He will continue to work as a colorist.
As for Phillip: His many clients will lose a gifted hairdresser.
“He approaches his work the same way a fashion designer might create a new piece of clothing — matching fabric shape with body type,” his website says. “In Phillip’s case though, body type is replaced by face shape.
“The basis for his success is his ability to look at each client, and get an intuitive sense of who the person is — what defines him or her — and capture that essence with a distinctive style.
“He won’t stop until he’s achieved absolute perfection. In Phillip’s eyes, every head is a potential canvas for not only a work of art, but an accentuation of life.”
Life continues for Phillip Addario. But, untold numbers of Westporters know, it won’t be the same without him standing behind them, creating art one head at a time.