March 13th, 2014 sees iconic hairdresser Trevor Sorbie celebrate his 65th birthday, but there’s no plans for retirement on the horizon.
Always forging ahead, Trevor was the first person ever to win British Hairdresser of the Year (now in its 30th year), which he went on to win 4 times in total before withdrawing gracefully to give others a fighting chance. Trevor was also the first hairdresser to be awarded an MBE from the Queen.
Always innovative, Trevor continually pushed the boundaries to create new styles and techniques. Here he looks back at 3 of them:
THE WEDGE, 1974
By the mid 70s, London’s fashion scene was exploding. Sassoon has revolutionised women’s hairdressing by re-inventing the bob. Before that, hair had been worn up, either in bouffants or beehives, but the loose flat hair of the Sassoon era signalled a new beginning. I joined Sassoon’s and my big break came when I created a haircut, which I called the wedge. This was the first hairdressing picture to be published as a double-page spread in Vogue magazine. Seeing my work in print was inspirational. The wedge captured the spirit of the time and was flaunted in nightclubs around the world. I now understood the power of invention. If I could achieve this once, then surely I could do it again….
THE SCRUNCH, 1979
During this period, I was a stylist at the John Freida salon. His method of finishing at that time was finger drying. It was a great technique but took ages.
One day I was extremely busy; I had three clients waiting, and was under a great deal of pressure. My next client had thick, red, porous, wavy hair and, of course, she wanted it finger-dried. Because of the backlog of clients, I asked her if I could speed up the process by adding heat. I found that by taking a handful of hair, squeezing it in my hand and applying heat, then allowing the hair to cool, I could create volume. I realised that I had inadvertently discovered a new method of drying. I experimented using this technique on all types and lengths of hair. Each time, even on the finest hair, I achieved incredible results, adding volume and texture I’d never seen before. Thus, scrunch drying, perhaps my greatest invention, was born….
THE WOLFMAN, 1980
Punk was a generation of young people who were anti-establishment. Their hair was an aggressive statement of their feelings. It was a glorious celebration of youth and it inspired me because it was the opposite of everything that was happening at the time.
I took my inspiration from the streets and turned it around. Instead of allowing hair to lie flat, I made it stand out. Instead of blunt cutting, I razor cut to create texture. Instead of applying colour all over, I applied it to just the ends. It was an experiment, combining all these techniques that created the Wolfman, which I presented at the World Hairdressing Congress Show at the Royal Albert Hall in London.
To quote Vivienne Mackinder: “The person who follows the crowd will usually go no further than the crowd. The person who walks along will find themselves in places that no one has ever been before. So it is with creativity. So it is with Trevor Sorbie.”
There is no-one in hairdressing today quite like Trevor Sorbie and we look forward to his next decade at the forefront of hairdressing.