Grande Maison


I try to live my dream. Create the world around me out of things I love.

Born in Switzerland, but a jetsetter by trade, Bjorn von Rotz’s career as a hairdresser and make-up artist has seen him travel the world far and wide. He’s worked with the likes of Elle, Guess, Cosmopolitan, Vivienne Westwood, Hugo Boss, GQ, Wella and Sebastian on the catwalk and for editorials. Recently we found him styling in Cape Town, and of course Grande Maison couldn’t miss an opportunity to pick Bjorn’s brains about the inspiration behind his craft. From his obsession with the Belle Epoch, Art Nouveau, and Jazz music, to his experiences slumming it as a young hairdresser in cosy rooms with his models, Bjorn holds his experiences dear to him as he cuts the day away at his new salon and school, The Circus. Without the things that made you who you are, how do ever expect to know yourself? This is just one of the questions we had to ask ourselves after speaking with Bjorn.

GM Your profession?
BvR I’m a hair & make-up artist

GM Which year were you born in?
BvR 1974

GM Where did you grow up?
BvR Central Switzerland

GM Who gave you your name? Does your name have any particular (or, special) meaning?
BvR Actually yes, my parents were watching tennis in the 70s, with Björn Borg playing. That’s how I got my name - also Björn means bear!

GM What’s your favorite music?
BvR Oh it could be anything, from Jazz to Heavy Metal. Anything is made better when it’s live. And I like to derive music from Mr. Quentin Tarantino, who has a very good taste in music, as is evident in his movies.

GM What’s the most inspiring artwork you’ve ever seen?
BvR Anything by Henry van de Velde!

GM What is your favourite number and why?
BvR The number 5. The fact is that you are halfway to ten. For me it’s important to always have goals ahead of you.

GMDo you have any heroes, heroines and icons you admire? If so who and why?
BvR Tim Burton gives me a different view on the world, thanks to his crazy brain and his huge talent to visualise his imagination - it’s unbelievable.

GM What is your earliest childhood memory?
BvR I was two years old, sitting on my uncle’s Porsche. I still have a pictures of this somewhere.

GM What inspires you?
BvR The movies Brasil, Metropolis or La Piscine.

GM What do you feel you’d like to achieve in life?
BvR I try to live my dream, create a little world full from positivity, and retain the value of the things I experience and see around me.

GM If you could build your own house, where would you build it and what would it be made of?
BvR I’d build it on a little hillside, with a view of the landscape stretching out towards a lake - Belle Epoch style. I’d have an old house though, I wouldn’t build a new one. I like the history of houses and homes, the stories behind them and the people who have lived there. But if I could choose: I like wood, red stone, colorful glass, and I’d paint every room in a different color - specifically the library room, which would be in a nice British green.

GM What’s your favorite hairstyle?
BvR Anything with charm, form and texture.

GM And does life imitate art or does art imitates life?
BvR There is definitely a give and take between art and life. People try to give each other a fresh viewpoint from their own perspective. But the first thing to understand about art is that many tried only to be better than everyone else. So the main art was success. Maybe we should go more back to the real craft - just doing what we feel is beautiful.

GMWhere did you start your career as session stylist?
BvR Cape Town

GM Which years of your life were the most influential and important for you?
BvR From 27 until 30 I was travelling a lot. When you’re on the move, sleeping in small rooms with models, stylists, everyone just to be able to stay working, you learn many lessons about life and work. It’s important to remember the simpler times when you have more, you could take it for granted,

GM How did you develop your style?
BvR A designer I worked with gave me the inspiration to see hair as more of a fabric. With that fresh viewpoint, I was able to experiment in a totally unique way.

GM What has made you the stylist you are today?
BvR I was an athlete once upon a time, and I developed a very tough, self-disciplined attitude towards myself - that’s helped me to no end in my career.

GMWhat advice would you give a burgeoning hairdresser who wants to be
successful in this industry?
BvR Never give up, nothing can be created from nothing. Hold your nerve and keep your ego balanced.

GM What key ingredients do you use when approaching your creative process?
BvR First be well organized. After that you can go in whatever direction you like, whether in order or chaos.

GM What does a hairdresser or stylist need to know to create their own signature?
BvR Find the most beautiful things in your life and hold on to them. If you can connect with these, you can then take them directly as inspiration for your profession.

GMWhen you were starting out, did you have any hair heroes/heroine particularly looked up to?
BvR Robert Lobetta because he works with texture, he is willing to go rough. Everything today is so clean, but he was working with hair like it was a fabric for a long time.

GM Who is your short-hair heroine?
BvR Audrey Tautou. Why? Well, she is a French girl. And like any french girl, she has a certain “je ne sais quoi.” She is extreme, but versatile; looks natural no matter what her style - that’s her job. She can cut her hair and look like it’s the most natural style, or have a bob, even long hair, and it looks just as romantic. She will forever be remembered for that.

GM What does hairdressing mean to you?
BvR It’s a chance for self-expression, that I could never trade away.

GM What do you think of hairdressing today and what would you like to see changed?
BvR I hope the beauty of the young, of their drive and passion, will change how we see beauty today.

GM What are the main changes that have dominated the hair/beauty industry during the last few years?
BvR It’s no longer about inventions from the industry like Gel, Mousse, Hairspray. It’s now more about organic modellers like salt, sugar, water, powder.

The Circus, Zurich
Room of Design