Native Frenchman JEAN PHILLIPE DESCHATRES is celebrating more 40 years on the local salon scene. When he first came here, he reports, he had to bring his own tools from Europe because using round brushes and blow dryers to style hair was unheard of in St. Louis. Deschatres founded Jean Phillipe & Company in Old Frontenac Square three decades ago, after working as styling director for Jon Tomas and training a roster of stylists, many of whom have gone on to become big names in town. He says making it easier for women to manage their manes has been the biggest revolution in hair care. “Thirty years ago, women were slaves to their hair,” he says. “Today, it’s all about using the hair’s natural texture—working with what you have—to make your life easier.” Another tip: Leave the ponytail at home. “Hair is such a beautiful part of a woman’s body—show it off!”

    Expect groundbreaking ceremonies to take place in March 2010 for the new arts center at CHAMINADE COLLEGE PREP SCHOOL. Funding for the 79,000-square-foot facility comes from a $28-million gift by the family of the late SKIP VIRAGH, an alumnus who founded Rydex Funds, a multi-billion dollar mutual fund company based in Maryland. Viragh passed away in 2003 at the age of 62 following an 18-month battle with pancreatic cancer. His family’s donation is said to be the largest gift ever made to an elementary or high school in the St. Louis region. Completion of the arts center, which will include an auditorium, small theater, art and design studios, and music practice rooms, is slated for summer 2011, just in time for the start of classes in the fall.

    Kemp Auto Museum executive director and transportation industry veteran RODGER VAN NESS is the new national president for the MERCEDES-BENZ CLUB OF AMERICA. Van Ness, of Chesterfield, is a longtime owner and collector of Mercedes-Benz automobiles. In his new position, he will lead the MBCA board of directors and preside over its more than 20,000 members.

    WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY SCHOOL OF MEDICINE’s Obstetrics and Gynecology department is the recipient of $2.4 million to establish a scholars program. The five-year grant from the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development aims to promote research and establish a Women’s Reproductive Health Research Career Development Center at the university. The money will fund three new ‘scholars’ a year for up to five years. The awardees will be physicians who have completed a residency in obstetrics and gynecology and are planning a career in academic medicine.

    There’s a new ‘store within a store’ at DILLARD’S in Chesterfield, where the KIEHL’S shop is now open for business. The celebrated New York apothecary has been around since 1851 with favorites such as Lip Balm #1, Crème de Corps and Blue Astringent Herbal Lotion. Those who swear by the products include A-listers HALLE BERRY, GWYNETH PALTROW, DEMI MOORE, BEN STILLER and BEN AFFLECK. During this month’s official grand opening festivities, Kiehl’s made a $1,000 gift to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Metro St. Louis, as part of its campaign to donate to RMHC nationwide.

    Just in time for the holidays, MACKENZIE-CHILDS, the home furnishings company renowned for whimsical, handmade pieces, has made its debut at Saks Fifth Avenue in St. Louis. The brand is best known for its ‘Courtly Check’ black and white tableware pattern and hand-painted furniture pieces such as the Majolica-footed ‘Ridiculous Bench’ and the colorful ‘Maestro Chair.’

    ‘Show me’ the tree..SEN. CLAIRE MCCASKILL and husband JOE SHEPARD recently hosted an arts party at their Kirkwood home that featured the first-ever ‘Missouri Natural Tree.’ An original design by SCOTT HEPPER of Diane Breckenridge Carriage House Florals, the tree has local birch and grapevine wreaths, nests, lifelike sparrows, and fresh apples and oranges, and comes with a matching mantelpiece of moss-covered Missouri oak branches.