New Hair Styles Ideas
In this country we’re so hair conscious – we push the boundaries. There’s a particular link between the British teenager and hair: young people wear a style as a tribal badge. Maybe it’s because we’re such a small country with so many people squeezed in, you have to find a way to stand out. I feel we’re in danger of losing that tradition a little bit, and I’m hoping my show at Somerset House will give an insight into how hair has become a part of our culture.
It was a big part of my teens. I lived in a tiny Scottish village, but I was always into fashion. The 60s were such a stylish decade to grow up in, and because of television we were all aware of the Beatles and the Rolling Stones. I had friends who owned a hair salon and I used to help out at weekends to get pocket money. I found myself intrigued by the world of beauty and I loved the creativity.
I moved to London in the 70s and ended up working at a salon on South Molton Street. From there I did a shoot for Vogue magazine and this whole other world opened up, full of cameras and beautiful models and people making incredibly sophisticated images. I was hooked from day one. I couldn’t go back to 12 haircuts in a row after that. I have complete admiration for people who work in salons, it’s a wonderful talent, but it’s not my talent.
I guess the shell of fashion has changed in the decades I’ve worked in the business but the nut in the middle is the same. Though there is recognition of what we do because of social media, people still ask where my salon is. Creating an iconic fashion image is all about timing. It has to be done at the right time on the right person. I’m really lucky in my life because I work with the most amazing people, from the 80s with Linda Evangelista and the 90s with Kate Moss and photographers like Mario Testino and Nick Knight. You have all these talents together and you spark off each other.
Even when I work on celebrity styling, it’s basically still doing hair for a brand. As with any brand, you develop a relationship and you create an image, whether it’s for Cate Blanchett at the Oscars, Kate Moss at a product launch – each person has their own agenda. It’s the same as doing a summer Vogue cover: it has to say summer. You’re communicating an idea.
Though sometimes celebrities surprise you. Once Tilda Swinton was promoting a film and I’d almost finished when she suddenly said, you know what, let’s do something radical. We cut it off really short and she’s had it like that ever since. It became her thing. Tilda owns that haircut. That’s an incredibly satisfying thing to do.
My most popular style is the done undone thing. It’s become part of the mainstream and it’s a go-to look for many designers. Kate Moss’s Bardot look is a thing; the Princess Diana look became very popular. People still look to celebrities for ideas, but it’s just ideas and there may be a few of those in one look, so they end up taking inspiration from multiple people.