Chantal Cloutier: The Gentle Giant

Chantal Cloutier has the soft, breathy voice of a 1-900 phone sex operator. The fragile timbre is at complete odds with her occupation. She's an agent.

"I know people expect me to be a rough-and-tough woman, but I am completely the opposite." says the exotic-looking, 40-year-old French Canadian.

Being contrary to form hasn't hurt her one bit.

In a town loaded with loud mouths she has whispered her way to the top. Her agency, Cloutier, is to the fashion business what ICM is to film industry and just as exclusive. Her clients are the big boys behind the super shutters--Bruce Weber, Matthew Rolston and Herb Ritts. And she is the middle woman, representing a stable of 40 hair stylists, makeup artists and wardrobe stylists.

Her top talent command $1,500 day rates. Their recent handiwork of primping and painting the rich and famous includes Goldie Hawn in the March Vanity Fair and Uma Thurman on the cover of Vogue. They also administer to hair and makeup needs of lesser mortals such as models. Check out the fashion pages in the March issue of Harper's Bazaar, the Cloutier agency claims 10 of them.

In a business rife with changing allegiances, Cloutier's artists, crew and clients stay loyal to her. Celebrities have their favorite too. "Anjelica Huston always asks for Carol Shaw. Julia Roberts wants Lucienne Zammit. Madonna likes Joanne Gair. With Elizabeth Taylor it's always Francesca Tolot," Cloutier says.

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