As an exhibition celebrating modern hairdressing opens in Barnsley, Andrew Barton talks to Stephanie Smith about his career and the culture of the salon. Plus win a hair make-over with Andrew later this month.
Every woman is a star beneath the transformative scissors of Andrew Barton. “Every one of my clients, whoever she is, is a celebrity, because we all get up on a morning with the same issues,” he says.
In a career spanning more than 30 years, Andrew has styled the hair of celebs from Cindy Crawford and Elle Macpherson to Tom Cruise and Robbie Williams. He works with the immaculately tousled Eva Longoria when she is in England – “an absolute delight,” he says – and is booked up for months in advance.
His work is about to be celebrated in an exhibition at The Civic in Barnsley. Called Beehives, Bobs and Blow-Dries, it charts the cultural significance of hairdressing over the last 60 years, exploring beauty, fashion and imagery and the hair salon’s place in local society.
“Not just in villages and towns, but also in city centres,” says Andrew. “The salon is the heart of the community, with this wonderful relationship that builds between hairdresser and client. I know things before her husband does,” he says.
It’s the culmination of a two-year project that Andrew has been working on with David Sinclair, curator of the Civic, and fashion research consultant and lecturer Donna Bevan, a childhood friend.
“Donna and I went to school together and grew up on the same council estate in Barnsley,” Andrew says. “We played in the street together, and it’s funny how worlds collide. Her mother owned the local village hair salon, Pam’s Unisex Salon, where my mother and gran went every week. I’d meet them after school and I’d pop in and I’d tidy the rollers and sweep the floor.
“I saw glamour. I saw these working-class women being transformed every week into something else. And the sound and the smell of the salon ... I found it fascinating, as a young boy. Little did I know then that I would become a hairdresser – a renowned hairdresser, if you like.”
Yet hairdressing was not an early passion. “I actually just drifted into hairdressing,” says. “I wasn’t that academic at school. The only thing that I was really good at was art and design, and I was destined for art school, that’s what the plans were. And then I think the working class lad in me, that grew up on a council estate – my father worked down the pit – that kicked in, and I just wanted a job and my own wage.”
So he took an apprenticeship at Denise Moody (now Moodyhair) in Barnsley, because his mother, Anne, told him that if he was to become a hairdresser, he had to find the best salon in the area. Anne died seven years ago. “She was my best friend,” he says. “I was very blessed because I was adopted as a child.” He is a devoted supporter of the British Association for Adoption and Fostering. “Right now, there’s at least 20,000 children in the UK that need a family,” he says.
Andrew’s links with Barnsley remain strong. Although his father, Alan, died when he was 15, his brother Simon, still lives there, while sister Susan lives in Australia.
He has known celebrated Barnsley fashion designer and retailer Rita Britton most of his life and her Nomad collection will open a fashion fundraising dinner he will be hosting with TV presenter Mark Heyes on February 23 at the Civic.
“Across all professions, there are immensely talented people in Barnsley,” Andrew says. However, success lay outside of the town. “I realised there was a big, bad world outside of Barnsley, so I needed to discover it, so I spent some time in Australia and the States.”
London has been home now for more than 20 years. He was crowned British Hairdresser of the Year in 2006 and had his own salon in Covent Garden for seven years until a rent increase meant the business was no longer viable. “As one small door closed, a huge door opened for me and I was offered the position of creative director at Urban Retreat.” It’s based at Harrods. “As a PR friend said to me, ‘Well, Barton, from Barnsley to Brompton Road, you’ve not done bad’.”
He has had his own Andrew Barton hair product range for 10 years, stocked in Asda. “I’m very proud to say it’s a British-made product, made in Bradford.
“Hairdressing as a career offers some fantastic opportunities. As an industry, we employ one per cent of the total UK workforce. You can develop a career as a hairdresser at lots of different levels. It can mean international travel, teaching, creative work in fashion and magazines, and I’ve been quite blessed. I’ve never looked back.”
Except for the exhibition. “The thing that I am so proud about is that it is launching in my home town, and then going to London.” It will show at the Fashion and Textile Museum in Bermondsey and then tour the UK.
He says: “My favourite thing is still standing behind a chair and doing somebody’s hair. Seeing a woman smile when she looks in the mirror, that’s the best bit of my job.”
Beehives, Bobs and Blow-dries is at The Civic in Barnsley from February 17 to April 7. A charity ball will raise funds for The Princes Trust, of which Andrew Barton is an ambassador, on February 23 at The Civic. www.barnsleycivic.co.uk/events/beehives-bobs-blow-dries-ball or call The Civic Box Office on 01226 327000.
Find more fashion on: http://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/yorkshire-living/leisure-fashion and http://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/what-s-on/fashion
WIN A HAIR MAKEOVER
with celebrity hairdresser Andrew Barton
To celebrate the launch of his exhibition, Beehives, Bobs & Blowdries, on Saturday 17th February, celebrity hairdresser Andrew Barton is offering one lucky Yorkshire Post reader a brand-new look.
As Creative Director of Urban Retreat, Harrods, Andrewand is renowned for his amazing hair transformations on TV’s 10 Years Younger, has an impressive celebrity clientele and is in demand for editorial and photographic work.
Andrew will work with his talented team to create a stylish new haircut and colour for the lucky winner, who will need to be available on Wednesday February 21 in Barnsley to receive this fabulous experience.
HOW TO ENTER - EMAIL OR POSTCARDTo enter simply tell us the name of Andrew’s exhibition which launches in Barnsley. Send your answer on a postcard to Stephanie Smith, Fashion & Beauty Editor, Yorkshire Post, Features Department - Yorkshire Post, No 1 Leeds - 26 Whitehall Road, Leeds LS12 1BE, or EMAIL firstname.lastname@example.org with an email entitled Andrew Barton competition, and include the answer. Whichever method you chose, your entry must arrive by the closing date on noon on Monday February 12, 2018, and you must be available on the dates below.
The winner must be willing to receive a cut and colour makeover service from Andrew Barton and his team
The winner must be prepared to have a before and after photo which may be used in this newspaper, on the newspaper and Andrew Barton’s social media channels.
The prize has to be redeemed at Barnsley on Wednesday 21st February
The winner will need a skin patch test 48 hours prior to the appointment (ie by Monday 19th February)
This prize cannot be redeemed for a cash alternative
Usual Johnston Press terms and conditions apply.