Interview With John Vial, Expert Hair Stylist & Co-Founder of Salon Sloane

by | Aug 10, 2020

We are proud to welcome hair expert, John Vial, as a new member of British Beauty Council’s Advisory board, with that, we wanted to chat with John and find out what inspired him to join the industry, his collaboration with one of the most iconic UK architects and his ultimate hair icon.

1. You’ve been working in the hairdressing industry since joining Vidal Sassoon in 1991. What inspired you to join the industry and to become a hairdresser?

I actually took an interest in hairdressing in the late 1970’s when I would sit in my uncle’s barbershop mesmerised by him cutting hair. At 13 I started to work in a salon in Derby on evenings and weekends. By the time I left school I was quite a long way thru my training.
At 20 I decided I really needed to be an expert in cutting hair, so I joined the Sassoon organisation. At that time, I could have had no idea how extraordinary my journey with hair would be.

2. At the British Beauty Council, one of our main pillars is education, ensuring students get the best possible hair and beauty education. What advice would you give an aspiring hairdresser?

Education is everything, knowledge is power it’s the key to success. After almost 40 years in the industry, I have realised there is no quick route to success. Vidal once told me the only place success comes before work is in the dictionary! I never turned down an opportunity to assist, or learn. I still learn now. I really believe your only as good as your last piece of work.

3. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected everything and everyone. How has Salon Sloane adapted to the ‘new norm’?

Well of course wearing a visor has been the biggest change. We have always been fastidious about cleanliness, so it hasn’t been that hard for us to follow. We follow the regulations very rigidly as we are constantly spot checked by the government, which I applaud. I am by nature quite tactile, often giving my clients a hug when I see them. Most are friends now, so that’s been challenging.

4. Your collaboration with the late, great architect Zaha Hadid for The Pop-Up, is a significant fuse between two UK creative industries, would you be able to explain to us a little bit more about the partnership and how it came about?

Vidal’s wife, Ronnie Sassoon is from Cincinnati. Zaha built a wonderful gallery there for the contemporary arts. At a dinner for the launch she commented on Ronnie’s hair and asked who did it. She said me and that’s how we were introduced. I love Ronnie and Zaha, we had such a great time together. They both have a love of design. Zaha loved the idea of multi disciplines, so I introduced to a few collaborators, one of which was St Martins MA fashion, and they did some stuff at the gallery, in the same way I did my pop up. I miss her terribly, her energy, her creativity and her infectious laughter.

5. The British hairdressing industry is world-renowned for its iconic hairdressers and stylists. It would be great to hear your favourite hair legend and how they inspire you.

There are so many hair legends, and WAY too many unsung hero’s! It would be obvious for me to say Vidal after working with him so closely for so many years, but in many ways its young new hairdressers, who are fearless and want to push boundaries that i find most inspiring. I truly believe the rule breakers become the rule makers!

You can find out further information on John Vial, Salon Sloane and The Pop-Up on his website here.

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