Simon Webster Hair & the best haircut ever
Simon Webster doesn’t do strained conversations about holidays. Rather, the artistic director of the North Laine’s vintage-specialist salon Simon Webster Hair is more likely to arrange meet-ups with his customers at one of Brighton’s numerous specialist vinyl nights.
While I’m in the chair, well-dressed clientelle – many sporting the Mod look Simon has become known for from barbering at rockabilly hot-spots The Dorset and Brighton Rumble – chat to Simon and his wife and salon manager Sophie as if they’re old friends. As many of them are.
A local lad, Simon started as a Saturday boy in a Hove barber’s when he was 15 and loved it so much was to be found there after school and during holidays. Since then his impressive career path has seen him work as a stylist on the L’Oreal ID Team, at London Fashion Week for designers such Vivienne Westwood, Stella McCartney, John Rocha and Jasper Conran, for magazines, music promotion and fashion retailers and of course within his own salons.
Now he has almost come full circle, setting up shop on Gardner Street – an area he remembers fondly from his childhood – among friends who share his love of Northern Soul, RnB and Ska, including the owners of The Dorset pub and Jump the Gun Mod clothing boutique.
Having met as client-stylist at the start of 2011 in a Brighton hair salon, Simon and Sophie tied the knot in February 2012 and opened their own salon in April the same year, marrying Simon’s vintage specialism with Sophie’s background in art, PR and business management.
Less than a year on and the couple’s beautifully renovated four-storey salon feels like it has always been part of Brighton’s most vibrant district. The Webster’s love of Americana, kitsch finds and retro glamour combine to create a luxury haven for vintage lovers.
High-fashion photos, a stag’s head and flying ducks take pride of place on the walls, a Fifties’ fridge houses hundreds of Layrite pomade tins – imported especially from LA to cater for their quiff-loving clientelle – and leopard print and black velvet settees, floor lamps and chandeliers all help to add the personality so lacking in many characterless chrome outfits.
The private top floor, used for brides and parties, and Hollywood-style pamper room also help make the salon every bit a part of the big events and nights out for which the eight-strong team help prepare.
The hair cut
Given that those coming and going from Simon Webster Hair are some of the most stylish and well-dressed folk in Brighton, I’ve never felt more relaxed in the hands of a hairdresser. A state which tales of LFW (Simon had just returned from working backstage at Jasper Conran’s show) and plans for Brighton Fashion Week only helped to reinforce.
Bringing my bob back to life with a Vidal-standard Sixties’ cut, Simon offered tips on how to backcomb – brush just the roots and not from the tips – for a smooth finish, rectified issues from previous chops and left me with not only the best haircut I’ve ever had, but one that is now easy to style.
With my new Mod cut, I left feeling that some of the cool SWH radiates had rubbed off, and without any of the try-hard pretension that often makes me want to dive straight into the shower after a trip to the hairdresser…
Find out more at www.simonwebsterhair.com