Hair Stylist


Saul Taylor / March 25, 2019

You now you’ve made it when everyone refers to you by one name. With his long ginger hair and beard, British hair stylist and Vidal Sassoon Global Ambassador, Duffy, is a fashion giant. This English gent has worked with the best including Annie Leibovitz, Vogue and Scarlett Johansson. His commercial clients include Dior and Alexander McQueen.

How long have you been doing this?
Uh, I don’t know. Ages. I’ve been hairdressing since I left school at 15 and I’ve had an agent for 15 years, I guess.

How did you get into it?
When I lived in London as a teenager, I worked at Vidal Sassoon. I used to go and visit a friend who worked at a shop called Duffer of St. George. I was 15 or 16. I used to ride down there on my skateboard and Duffer of St. George was next door to Windles and a hairdresser called Eugene Souleiman. I used to do the occasional day in there. He’d come into Duffer and buy a load of gear or get given a load of gear because he was the cool kid. When I was 17, 18, 19 he took me to a couple of London Fashion Week shows and showed me what he did.

And the show did it for you?
Yes, it just kind of stuck in my mind. Eugene was flying off to New York and doing all the amazing things that you think are cool when you’re 17. I went away travelling for a couple of years and when I got back in my early twenties I started working in London again and met a couple of people I knew from before. One friend was working at GQ, another friend was working at Sunday Times Style and I did a couple of little shoots for them. Then I got back in touch with Eugene and started working on his show team and it just went from there, really.

What was the first thing you did on your own?
It’s funny, do you know what, the first ever thing I had published was, I think I shaved a shape into the back of some guy’s head for GQ for a half page article. My mate I knew who worked at GQ at the time came down and asked if I could do it. I don’t know what it was, I’ve got it somewhere at my parents. It’s like a tick. It might have even been a Nike tick or something, probably not even that cool. And then I think my first ever published shoot was Sunday Times Style with Josh Olins and Claire Richardson. Josh is now one of my best friends. 20 years later and he lives on the same street as me in New York. It’s funny how things turn out.

What do you prefer? Editorial? Shows?
I like it all! I suppose 15-20 years ago it used to be about the travelling and meeting people and all that. I mean I’ve met probably everyone I’ve ever wanted to meet. I’ve travelled to almost every part of the world I’ve ever wanted to go to, bar Japan. I’ve never been to Japan. I’ve missed every opportunity, every job. Everyone I know has been to Japan.

You must go.
I actually have salons in New York and we’ve opened two more and a school in Japan in the last 18 months and I’ve still not been. We’re opening a salon in the Double RL, Ralph Lauren Department Store on the 16th March and unfortunately I’m working in Paris. So, what do I prefer? I guess shows are fun — it’s the adrenaline, the buzz. The great thing about a show is you work with a team and you’re only as good as your team. Your team are only as good as their teammate or the person that’s shouting the orders. I’m very fortunate. Lucas and my ex-assistant Ryan pulled a really good team together for me.

And what about trends?
I think we’ve become so consumed by imagery and so consumed by content and trend and identity. Counter culture and youth culture that used to be synonymous with the underground and the ultra-elite youth movement is no longer. It’s sad to say every youth culture or counter culture that I used to wish to associate with as a kid, for the rebellious side of it, has been plagiarized and saturated and they’re over.

Is that social media’s fault?
In a way, it’s allowed us to be more creative because we’re not dictated to. So, it’s not — Spring/Summer ’08 is 1950s. It’s not like that anymore and I think the fabric companies and the textiles that they’re selling are not as limited as maybe they used to be, where maybe they had a hand in dictating trends. You know, some seasons you’d see everyone using tulle or every season someone using tartan. There used to be those elements that translated. Now, I think you have complete freedom, it’s down to the individuals.

Lucas comes over to speak to Duffy

That’s Lucas.

He doesn’t look too stressed.

No, he’s never stressed, he’s German, he’s very utilitarian, very concise, precise. I think you take a great like Eugene or Guido (Palau) that still do 25-30 shows a season, they still have the ability to dictate trends through the pattern of what they do.

His work for Burberry is good.
I mean, what Guido did for Burberry was beautiful, I think it was really clever because it was a take on something that we’d seen a lot of but again he took it and he moved it forward. He evolved it and made it his own and made it new and that’s what he’s so genius at. I’ve been working with Eugene for however many years and knowing him as a dear friend and understanding hopefully a little bit the mad mind behind it. I think he’s a creative genius when it comes to hair.

Well, you’re not bad.

Laughs Thank you.