Carlos Cambelopoulos was born in the cosmopolitan Cairo in 1931, where he lived until he was twenty years old. Restless spirit and multitalented, he settled in Paris in 1951, the bastion of the Western culture. The two cities, capitals of fashion, arts and letters, influenced him and helped shape him as a human, in his years of creativity.
In Paris, he had a double career as hairdresser and independent artist, while being a fierce collector. He would spend his weekdays at the Carita Salon de Coiffure, where famous clients from all over the world were swarming in. In the nights he was tirelessly working in his Montparnasse atelier of the Paris Municipality, while during his days off, he was visiting antique stores for objects that would enrich his admirable collection.
In 1991 he bought the Venetian monastery Santa Maria della Misericordia in Chania, which would become his home, coiffeur salon, cultural center, and eventually the Carlos Cambelopoulos Foundation, his life’s work.
Carlos Cambelopoulos spoke seven languages, adored the opera, travelling, reading, poetry, with his favorite poet being Cavafy, as well as literature, with strong preference to Homer and Proust. He was an important ambassador of Greece abroad and in the international Jetset, for many years. He lived an exciting life, with heroines who were princesses out of reach, wives of presidents, prime ministers and well-known politicians from worldwide, famous super stars of the international cinema, renowned personalities of the Arts and Culture.
He was witty, regarded good manners and politeness as graces, while he appreciated the authentic elements in the personality of the individual, as he would not tolerate anything pretentious or fake. He was feeling happiness by helping his fellow humans. He was a loyal friend, efficient and absolutely trustworthy. Lively, creative, always on the move, prosperous, unstoppable and, therefore, always felt young. He detested idleness, stating that “… the Artist is constantly inspired and should be a tireless worker”. His philosophy: “As long as one works, one does not age”.
Carlos Cambelopoulos travelled all over the world. In his last years he returned to Greece, Crete. He left his house in rue Thérèse, next to the Comédie Française, in Paris, a small “museum” with countless sculptures and paintings of his, and objects he had acquired as a collector. He also left his wonderful atelier in Montparnasse. And this is how Carlos became a “Chaniotis” (resident of Chania), spending the last five years of his life in his monastery, his shelter.