NICKY SUMMER: As a model, I’ve had my hair cut, coloured and styled by many hairdressers over the years. Short, long, dark blonde, natural blonde, almost white blonde, wavy, straight, up, down, clip-in hair extensions for special events, a full on brunette up-do wig that rendered me totally unrecognisable for the cover of a hairdressing magazine… my hair has stood up to it all! Throughout my teenage years and 90% of my adult life I’ve had long hair – it’s naturally dark blonde and I normally wear it just below shoulder length, cut quite blunt and almost directly across to keep it looking strong and healthy. This classic style is perfect for most modelling jobs – nothing too radical that could potentially deter advertising, catalogue or commercial clients. When I’m travelling and doing my hair myself, I generally go for a relaxed beach-wave vibe and that’s how I ask to have it finished when I go to a salon, unless I’m going somewhere extra-special. Here, I’m going to take you through a few of my favourite London hairdressers – all of whom I strongly recommend for various specialist services including ‘beachy’ sun-kissed highlights, nourishing treatments, scalp massage, an excellent cut, beautiful blow-dry and perfect styling for the every day or for special events. Some are top editorial and/or show hairdressers, other focus on hair extensions (clip-in only for me!), and almost all of them are based in my area of London i.e. South West.
Pictured in the collage above, clockwise from top left: Print advertisement for royal jeweller Mappin & Webb; with hairdresser Tomasz at Cool Creative in Chelsea, London; wearing Prada at a members event at KX Gym & Spa, my hair colour by Renee Aubrey in South Kensington; hair by Jonothon Malone at Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park wearing a dress by Louise Kennedy in Belgravia; my hair with natural clip-in extensions applied by Jonothon Malone at his home studio; makeup by industry expert, Ginni Bogado at The Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park in a joint promotion to profile hair and makeup for special events and weddings at the hotel; side view of my hair with natural clip-in extensions applied by Jonothon Malone at his home studio; beach waves created by myself in San Francisco, long red beach dress by Bebe; my hair by Clayton Howard in an image of a brunette model and myself in period costume taken by Lord Lichfield in the Hall Of Mirrors, Chateau de Versailles; my hair by Charles Worthington on the cover of HAIR Magazine; my cut, colour and style by Taylor Taylor in Portobello Road, W11; my hair by Charles Worthington on the cover of Hairdressers Journal; (right of centre) a photograph for L’Oreal Paris with my hair cut short and dyed several shades darker than my natural colour by Michaeljohn salon in Mayfair, London.
Over the years, I’ve had my hair and makeup done by hundreds of experts for photographic, television work, one-off appearances and special events, many of the jobs being for cosmetic and haircare companies such as L’Oreal and Lancôme. Often advertising companies want a model who isn’t local to them, and therefore hasn’t become an over-familiar face to their audience, so in addition to modelling in London, I’ve been specially flown in to bookings in cities such as Madrid, Paris, Lisbon, Rome and Amsterdam for beauty shoots and television/cinema commercials. On these jobs, there’s always an excellent hairdresser and an equally good makeup artist in the studio – the project is seen as a collaborative effort between the advertising agency, the photographer, the model, the wardrobe stylist and the hair and makeup team – every element and everyone involved is just as crucial as the other to the end success of the campaign…
SPECIAL MENTION: I spend time between LA and London, and not too long ago I received an invitation that blended the best of both – lunch with the very British Julia Record of The Dorchester Collection luxury hotels and one of my favourite Californian chefs, Wolfgang Puck, who is famous for his restaurant ‘SPAGO’ and for catering the Oscar’s after party. I was literally in a ‘NOTHING BUT A SUMMER STATE OF MIND’ – it was late June, blazing hot, and I had these words plastered across the olive coloured T-shirt I was wearing with Paige Denim jeans. I first went to the gym, then popped into the *Chelsea Day Spa for a quick wash and blow-dry before I made my way to ‘CUT’ at 45 Park Lane in Mayfair where Wolfgang was hosting a week long pop-up. *This salon is one of my ‘secrets’ and is perfect for an inexpensive and fast service whenever I’m in the area (see the end result in the above images).
Above collage: From left clockwise, on the beach at Santa Monica; Taylor Taylor London; being served coffee on arrival at the Taylor Taylor London salon; before and after at Neville’s at The Bvlgari; centre with Wolfgang Puck at CUT restaurant, within 45 Park Lane hotel, after having had a hair wash and blow-dry at the Chelsea Day Spa.
Hair care is a very personal and critical choice – for me, when it comes to ongoing hair maintenance, it comes down to trust and rapport with the stylist, the location of the salon, the total price of the service (as it can vary significantly) plus the overall quality of experience. Because I’ve spent so many hours having my hair done for professional purposes, I don’t consider the colour or grooming process as a pleasure or a luxury…I approach it rather as a necessary, time-consuming issue – much the same as going to the dentist, having a check up at the doctor’s or having the car retuned; I’m sure many models and actresses feel the same way. Therefore, whatever small treats a hairdresser can offer to distract me and enhance the 3-4 hours it takes to do my hair, the better I’ll feel about the process. This could be a simple espresso, a cocktail, a head massage or a mani/pedi – or perhaps just the great background music, the choice of magazines to read, and a light hearted, comfortable chat with the stylist…
I believe hairdressers to be amongst the most empathic and humorous people in the world, they have to be in order to be any good at their job; an upbeat chat plus an excellent hair cut along with fab highlights is transformative and makes me feel a million dollars. I like my hairdresser to be located close by to where I live, so as to save travel time and in case it rains on the way home; I’m not really influenced by where my friends go as I see having my hair done more as a practical, functional experience rather than a social occasion; like most places I go and services I use, I’m influenced more by the welcome and the vibe when I get there – both are as important as the end result. Recently, I’ve had my hair treated by the following stylists and salons in London, either for general maintenance, a special event or specifically for a review in this online magazine. Here is a brief synopsis of each of the services:
MY TOP 5 HAIRDRESSERS:
JONOTHON MALONE: Jonothon (finishing my hair in the video above and in the collage below) has worked for all the major editorials around the world including VOGUE and ELLE. He’s kept extremely busy due to the fact he’s reliable, quick, consistent, unflappable, charming and fun to have around – all essential qualities whether out on location or on a studio based shoot. He has previously used clip-in hair extensions on my hair and also styled it more recently for a video cross-branding effort to showcase his special event service. Jonothon is the person to book for celebrity shoots, VIP projects, extra special private occasions and upscale weddings – he often works in partnership with the make up artist Ginni Bogado (who did my makeup, also above) – and he and Ginni remain at the very top of my list of recommendations. Find Jonothon on Instagram at @jonothonmalone and Ginni at @ginnibogado
NEVILLE’S SALON AT THE BVLGARI HOTEL: Located next to the spa area in the lower ground of the hotel in Knightsbridge, this salon is a very discreet and highly polished little gem – having my hair treated here by stylist and colourist Karen Donnelly was like being cosseted inside a glossy ebony jewellery box lined with honey blonde wood. I love Neville’s approach and have previously had my hair coloured, cut and styled at the original salon in Pont Street – the founders know their jet-set clientele extremely well, socialising with them, traveling with them and finessing their brand ongoing and in exactly the right direction to cater to all their clients hair and grooming requirements. On this occasion at the hotel, I had my hair cut, coloured and styled by Karen, (who is also known internationally as one of the very best experts in luxury hair extensions). See video clip below for the finished look – me, one happy customer! A ceramic pot of fragrant jasmine tea, served with light chocolate chip cookies, was a welcome treat… Find Karen at @karendonnellyhairextensions on instagram
Pictured in the collage below, clockwise: My hair in the video clip on the left by Karen Donnelly at the Neville’s hair salon at The Bvlgari Hotel in Knightsbridge; wearing big hair and a Grecian style gown by top British designer Amanda Wakeley for a double page interview with The Mail On Sunday newspaper; as a guest of Julia Record and chef Wolfgang Puck at Hotel 45 Park Lane, my hair styled before the lunch by Chelsea Day Spa on King’s Road; my hair up and back in a shoot for Lancôme cosmetics, Paris; wearing a gown by Versace, my hair with long clip-in extensions by Oscar Mercaldi at Aldo Coppola in Chelsea; my hair cut, coloured and styled by Taylor Taylor London salon in Notting Hill, my cotton day dress by James Perse; with designer Nicky Haslam and chef Anton Mosimann wearing a two piece outfit by couturier Lindka Cierach, my hair by Renee Aubrey in South Kensington, London; wearing a tiny dress for a Red Party at Radio Rooftop, ME London Hotel, my hair by Cool Creative in Chelsea, London; with Bond girls Britt Ekland and Maud Adams at Villa Blanca in Beverly Hills, my hair colour and cut by Carol Joy, London; centre image: wearing a formal up-do and white satin evening gown for a fashion shoot for The Mail On Sunday newspaper magazine.
CAROL JOY: This luxurious salon was previously located in Chelsea and is now housed in The Dorchester on Park Lane; it’s buzzing with beautiful, high-maintenance, not-so-price-sensitive women. I had my scalp condition diagnosed, hair coloured, cut and styled at the salon (see below) for an interview and video shoot featuring my interior design influences, which was partially filmed at ‘Daphne’s’ Restaurant in Draycott Avenue and in one of my favourite furnishing and accessories suppliers, Andrew Martin, both located not far away in Walton Street, SW3, at the other end of Knightsbridge. Whether you’re a guest staying in The Dorchester (which I highly recommend) or local resident of either Knightsbridge or Mayfair, then this salon is positioned perfectly…
COOL CREATIVE: Located within the King’s Walk arcade a third of the way down King’s Road, this is the perfect place for brilliant colour and cut – quick and not too pricey. Busy, functional, friendly – this Award-winning salon (above) is located conveniently adjacent to Chloe’s Nail Spa and not far from the new location of KOBOX, so it’s an unofficial part of a trio of get-fabulous-fast essentials for those who live and/or work in Chelsea. Coffee, tea and a fabulous head massage.
TAYLOR TAYLOR LONDON: One of a group of salons, this gorgeous hairdressers is located on a corner at the cool and grungy neighbourhood end of Portobello Road in Notting Hill, W11, where key members of the lifestyle media, cool city bankers and supermodels reside. Inside, the laid-back, quietly confident energy reminds me of the very distinct vibe of Mission District in San Francisco. The bijoux ground and lower-ground space is designed almost like a beautiful, vintage inspired private member’s club – and it has a cocktail bar positioned on the right, just as you come in the door; coffee, cocktails and fresh juices are listed on a long menu of treats. Gilded chandeliers, hand-painted wallpaper featuring peacocks and subdued, golden, recessed lighting are key elements of the decor. The staff are all young, international and very hip – spending a lot of their time out on editorial shoots and in places like Ibiza over the summer while on private client work. My hair (above, left) was cut and coloured to perfection on two different occasions, styled beautifully by senior members of the creative team…the positive vibes kept me going for days. *The salon ring light helps to produce fab ‘after’ images. Find the salon on Instagram at @taylor_taylor_london
SPECIAL MENTION: Oscar Mercaldi, formerly the Creative Director at Aldo Coppola in Chelsea, SW3, is one of the world’s best stylists and is in high demand for major hair productions and shows (see video of him at work on a fashion model for a magazine special event further down this page). Oscar’s clients are the international elite and it’s impossible to overstate how amazing he is, both as a personality and as a creative stylist; he is calm, he is quick, he is quiet, he is cool, he is generous, he is humble, he is outstanding creatively: His work is ART.
Above and below are several images from two separate supper club events I hosted in South Kensington, one where Oscar created a ‘Rapunzel’ look on me using natural clip-in hair extensions – woven, plaited and curled (left below, lower images). The second look (seen above and in the remaining images below) was produced using long natural clip-in extensions, ironed very straight and tied into a long pony tail held in place with diamanté grips. I’m wearing a bronze coloured cocktail dress by VERSACE, one of my favourite looks ever. Genius!
HAIR PRODUCTS: “I’m a creature of habit when it comes to skincare and haircare, so I’ve used many of the same products for years – only changing if I discover an alternative when a professional has used it on me for a shoot. For my hair, I either use Kerastase shampoo, conditioner and masks and/or products from Ken Paves organic, cruelty-free ‘You Are Beautiful’ range out of LA; the LORE products available from Taylor Taylor London are excellent too. I always use John Freida’s Frizz-Ease hair serum to protect and smooth the hair cuticle before drying, and I then use the beautifully packaged Show Beauty styling products, including mousse, to style my hair. Left to my own devices, I use a hairdryer by Dyson, heated travel pack rollers by Nicky Clarke then finish the beach-waves look using curling irons by Mark Hill. My hair has always been thick and healthy and I put that down to eating an 80/20 raw food diet, avoiding chlorine, exercising daily, regular scalp massage, taking vitamins every day, avoiding stress whenever possible, drinking lots of water and raw juices, occasionally eating oysters for iodine plus adding seaweed products to my diet…”
*Almost all those mentioned in this piece have an @instagram account therefore you can find samples of their work there and get in touch directly should you wish.