Phillip Addario: Legendary Hairdresser Hangs Up His Comb

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.

Phillip Addario (Photo/Lynsey Addario)

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.

Phillip and Camille Addario in 1973, celebrating the 10th anniversary of their salon.

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.

Generations of movie-goers remember Christopher Atkins in “Blue Lagoon.” Few know that Phillip Addario created his look.

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.

Bruce Chapman and Phillip Addario.

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.

Phillip Addario and his employees, rocking the early ’80s look.

14 responses to “Phillip Addario: Legendary Hairdresser Hangs Up His Comb

  1. Congratulations to Phillip Addario on his retirement!

    Paul Addario has opened Salon Paul Michael (https://salonpaulmichael.com) on the Post Road. Beyond talented/friendly team, beautiful space and super Covid-aware.

  2. Hi Phillip‼️ Folks asked why I would pay Phillip’s prices back in the 70’s. “The conversation is worth it.” Best of luck 👏👏🙏🇺🇸

  3. Joyce Hergenhan

    Okay, it’s not a question of life and death, but Saturday was a sad day for me. Phllip Addario, who has cut my hair for 39 years, is retiring at the end of August, and Saturday was my final appointment with him. Not only is he a great hair stylist, but he is also the father of Lynsey Addario, the Pulitzer prize-winning photographer, writer and MacArthur Genius fellow, and I got to know Linsey because of him. Have a great retirement, Phil!

  4. Wishing Phillip many years of retirement joy and happiness with family!!

  5. Lesley Cullen Anderson

    I actually remember his very first salon behind CVS on East Main Street, he charged $10 for a haircut NYC prices back then in the early sixties. My mother and I went to him. Camille was the receptionist and pregnant with her first baby. Many years later we met up again when our girls became friends, we both have four daughters!
    Happy retirement Phillip!

    • Wendy Crowther

      I had my hair cut by Phillip at that same location (corner of East Main and Whitney Street Extension) in the 1970s. At the time, I had straight, long hair down to my waist that I wanted to have cut shorter. I’d been told that Philip was the guy to see in town, especially if you wanted a change.

      I arrived at the salon and, before my hair was washed, Phillip approached to find out what I wanted done. I think he detected that I was nervous and that maybe I was even ready to change my mind, depending on what cut he’d suggest.

      As I stood there, he gathered my long hair into a ponytail using his thumb and index finger and suddenly, in one big, swift snip, he cut off my ponytail to shoulder level. It was so unexpected that I nearly started to cry. He sent me off to get washed and then created a great, new style that everyone absolutely loved, including me.

  6. Steven Gemignani

    Love you Phillip! Congrats and many Blessings On your Retirement. Words can never express how thankful I am to have worked for you and Bruce! You helped me not only on a business level but even beyond a personal level. I thank you for everything I wouldn’t be where I am today if it wasn’t for you guys!!! Love Steve

  7. I remember the Salon vividly… Best wishes on your retirement!

  8. Congratulations Phil, happiness and love on your retirement, it’s time to start enjoying, there will never be a haircutter like you. You are one of the very best. Love from some old friends, Judi and Lou 💕

  9. Phillip was my first boss. Watching him cut hair was captivating. He is a true artist and such a lovely Man. As a 20 year old newbie, Phillip was the first person to compliment my work as a colorist. He made me believe in myself. So grateful for his words of encouragement!Having a master believe in you is life changing. Hope he enjoys his family and gardens. He deserves to relax and enjoy❣️

  10. Kathryn Sirico

    Congratulations Phil……..we have shared a lifetime of memories both personally and professionaly. I still look at the white house behind Compo Center and envision the original Phillip Coiffeures and you and Ca on the second floor. Retirement well earned and enjoy every leisure moment……You lead the way…..Tony and Kathy

  11. Kenny Sherman (Larry's brother)

    Philip, friends whom you haven’t seen in years never forget how special you are. Best Wishes (And, Dan, that goes for you as well. beautiful tribute! Kenny Sherman

  12. Beautiful

  13. Happy retirement best of luck on your new journey always loved working for you Fran

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