ALEXANDRE Raimon - or Alexandre de Paris as he is known - looks more like a shipping tycoon than someone who wields a pair of scissors for a living. Dressed in a finely tailored suit and silk cravat, the dapper Frenchman is perhaps one of the world's best known hairdressers. And at 70, the St Tropez-born stylist is still sought after by his clients at his plush salon in Avenue Matignon in Paris. He is the man credited for giving French actress Catherine Deneuve her new short and sexy style. ''Coloured noisette with blonde streaks, like a spotlight. It suits her perfectly,'' he said. Raimon made a name as hairdresser to the rich and famous, and over the years his reputation has been unaffected by new, super-trendy hairstylists on the scene. Elizabeth Taylor, Sophia Loren, Liza Minnelli and Raquel Welch all drop in to see him when they are in Paris, while members of royalty like Queen Sirikit, of Thailand, call on him for special occasions. The late Princess Grace, of Monaco, was one of his favourite clients, and her daughter Caroline continues to sport Raimon's styles. But despite the glamour of his work, he has not allowed it to detract from the art of hairstyling. ''Some clients know exactly what they want, and that is easy. Others have no idea at all, so I spend time with them discussing it. Some people are very free and make changes easily, others want to keep the same style. But I tell them exactly what I am doing so there are no surprises,'' he said. Loren, he said, could be either ''very stylish and sophisticated'' or ''pretty and feminine''. ''She can be beautiful either way.'' Raimon is a great believer in changing hair to suit the seasons and the time of day. He also uses highlights to change the appearance of a style. ''Colouring is very important. It is the make-up of hair. After that, you can do anything with it. I usually recommend to clients that they stick to something natural during the day, and try something sophisticated at night with a lot more make-up and some heavy perfume to be a different woman.'' American women, he said, spent more time on their hair, often visiting a salon three times a week. French women tend to get their hair done one day before a major social function, as do the Japanese. Hongkong hairstylist Kim Robinson, of Le Salon, visits Raimon often in Paris to work on haute couture shows together. ''I regard Kim as one of Paris' own hairdressers. He knows all my secrets. He loves what he does, which is the most important thing,'' he said. Raimon has devoted his life to learning the art of coiffure: when he was 10, he began cutting his grandmother's hair. He went to the school of Antoine de Paris in Cannes in 1938, and shot to stardom in 1946 when he was the hairdresser on the wedding day of the Begum Aga Khan. Soon after, he began accompanying the Duchess of Windsor on some of her overseas trips. Two books, numerous society parties and several awards later, Raimon has no intention of slowing down. He has a line of hair accessories, under the name Alexandre de Paris, designed by his son Michel. ''I worked with Princess Grace for 25 years, the Comtesse de Paris for 40 years, Sophia Loren for 20 years and Elizabeth Taylor for 30 years. And I have throughly enjoyed every day of it.'' Last year, Raimon was awarded the Legion d'Honneur by the French Government for his contribution to fashion. He has been the recipient of a diamond hair-slide from the Syndicate of French haute couture and made a knight of the Order of St Charles by Prince Rainier of Monaco. He has four salons in Paris and one in Tokyo. While his prices are not cheap (FF420 - about HK$590 - for a shampoo, cut and blow dry), the average working man and woman are also part of his salon's client list. ''When people decide to come, sometimes they have to save up for a cut, but they choose to do so. At least this way they appreciate what they are getting,'' he said.