Despite having 20/20 vision I do appreciate a good pair of glasses and so was happy to attend the Specsavers Ss14 fashion showcase which also included the preview of top stylist Gok Wan’s latest collection with Specsavers. Fellow spec wearer hairstylist Andrew Barton was on hand to give attendees a hair makeover so I grabbed a seat (and a drink) for a comfy chat…
You worked on 10 Year’s Younger. What was the most challenging makeover you had to do?
Working on 10 Year’s Younger every [episode] was challenging in its own way. I worked on the series for eight years; we filmed over 25 episodes so there were a lot of people over eight years being made over. I think what was more challenging for me was more about the emotional and physical things that had happened to a lot of those women and the journeys they went on. Being a part of their journey was something that was really rewarding and something that I’ll never ever forget. We met four women during the course of that filming that had been abused and changed their situations because of what happened during the makeovers – it made them powerful and say ‘hey I’m better than this’ and they changed their lives. That was probably more challenging in a way – with the characters – rather than just the hair as such.
What is it about hairdressing that attracted you?
For me when I was at school all I was really interested in was art, design and fashion. Every school report that went home said, ‘Andrew would be great if only he stopped talking’ (laughs). The only time I was ever happy was when I was in art class. It was leading towards something in design and I think that just the working class lad in me I got a job in a hairdressing salon. It was never a dream but then very quickly I realised that it was design, and it was creative and it is fashion, trends and style. I love every aspect of what I do in my job but I get the biggest enjoyment from seeing a woman come into my salon in Covent Garden – doing her hair and seeing the smile on her face. It’s wonderful. It’s so great to see a women feel that transformed.
What’s the most embarrassing hairstyle you’ve had?
Oh God. Well I was a child of the 80’s so you can imagine some of the stuff that I had (laughs). I think I did wear quite a few spiral perms as well (laughs) when I was 18, 19…
Was it long (laughs)?
(Laughs) Yes it was long. Once, as well – I think this would be for you as well. The one thing I did do once was go bleach, white blond.
I did that too!! It was awful. It went orange.
Like a rusty colour? (Laughs) You know what? At the end of the day- it’s a bit of fun and its better when you’re younger as well because you can get away with a lot of things. You’re still building your identity and personality. Do a those things when you’re young!
If you could bring back one hairstyle what would it be?
I think there’s been so many different incredible looks that have marked diffrent decades. The Jennifer Aniston haircut really marked the 90’s. Princess Diana’s marked the 80’s. I really admire some of the real old school Hollywood iconic women. When I think of somebody like Marilyn Monroe with that kind of set hair (gestures with hands) but it was always a bit casual. It looked like she’d ruffled it and slept in it a little bit. It was never too set – it had that sexiness about it. I love that era as well when women really took care of their looks. Today it’s too easy for people to just wack their hair back into a ponytail and call it a style. Spend an extra five minutes on your hair and it will make a huge difference. It was funny as well, on 10 Years Younger people used to ask me what’s the best piece of advice you can give to women and I’d be like ‘…buy a brush’ (laughs).
Jennifer Aniston sporting the infamous ‘Rachel’ haircut
You must have had that a lot on the show…
Yes and again that goes back to the psychology of it as well. It was quite sad to see the women who had lost their way through one way or another and often through personal circumstances and they had stopped taking care of themselves. Regardless of what age you are caring for yourself is important – it says a lot about you and how you present yourself.
What’s the most bizarre request you’ve had?
The most bizarre request was actually only last week. I’ve got my salon in Covent Garden and a client came in for the first time and she brought her dog with her which was an Irish Red Setter and said she wanted her hair colour exactly the same colour as the dog and the length of her hair she wanted it cut the same length as the fur…
Was that a joke? Were Ant & Dec round the corner?
(Laughs) No not at all. I was looking for the cameras. The reason she came to me was that she was frustrated with going to hairdressers and telling them what she wanted and never getting it. They could never get the colour right.
Well they do say dog owners start to look like their dogs…
Exactly (laughs) My dog’s a cross between a Labrador and a Staffordshire so (laughs). I don’t know what I think about that (laugh)
What would you spend your last £100 on?
My personal trainer. I think health, vitality and feeling good is important to me. I’ve always said that my personal trainer is the best money I’ve ever spent. It sounds like a luxury but also I’m training for the London Marathon. I was supposed to do an 18 mile – I did 16 miles this weekend. I did a 12 miler on Tuesday. It’s my fifth one so I know what to expect.
What’s your charity?
I’m a patron of a charity called The British Association for Adoption and Fostering. I’m an adopted child so I got really involved in the charity so I’m running for them.
If you could job swap with anyone who would it be?
I don’t think I could job swap. I love my job. I love that one day I’m in the salon, another day I’m on a photoshoot. I’ve got my own hair care products so I’m in the laboratory designing products…I’ve got my own electrical tools as well so…
What are the big trends we can do this summer?
A big trend is Rock & Roll Slick – we saw in Gucci where the hair was really pulled back away from the face – we’ve not seen that for quite a while and Angelina Jolie did it for the BAFTAS and she looked incredible where the hair was just held back away from her face. It’s that wet, glossy type finish for the hair so that’s a really big trend.
Angelina Jolie at the BAFTAS 2014
We also saw Rachel Zoe do the messy plait. Often for a lot of girls there’s never enough hair for this so what you can use is clip-in hair extensions just to give you the thickness because what’s great about this look id is that it’s so big and chunky – it’s not like a skinny plait.
Rachel Zoe SS14
Something like that is probably quite difficult to do…
Some of it is about prep and usually the first bit of prep is get a smooth blow-dry. Even though it’s going to be messy get the hair texture smooth first and it becomes easier to manipulate and use a mousse – a mousse tends to swell the hair shaft and make it more pliable and thicker so it makes it easier to work with. They’re two really contrasting trends. At the other end of the scale is at Marc Jacobs they had really choppy haircuts and it’s not going to be right for every girl but for a fringe wearer she can have her fringe just a bit choppy and a bit textured. I think what we always think about as well when we see something that’s catwalk influenced you can make it as extreme s you want. You pick out which bits you like – it’s trend that can be played with. Another look that’s going to big for the summer is the reverse root so having a darker root and lighter ends. It’s almost been an extension to the ombre look. I think with that ombre that’s going to become a classic fashion look – it’s here to stay.
Marc Jacobs SS14
i the stylist xx