Doing it the Wright Way
Every year, always in early November, about ten days before my birthday, I get the urge to reinvent myself. In that, I am as reliable as the ever forward creeping years. My motivation has varied; I’ve wanted to look older, younger, artier, punkier, funkier, sexier, more sophisticated, less suburban, more chic, during the various stages of my life. Invariably, this culminates in a visit to the hairdresser, often with quite catastrophic results. I know this, and yet….every year I take a new, usually ill advised, whimsical risk on the very spur of the November moment. There was that year, quite some time ago now, when I had my hair cut Jean Seberg short in the belief that it would make me look more gamine, more Parisian ingénue. I hadn’t bargained with my nose which is not exactly of the cute upturned button variety, the resulting look was rather closer to that of a Roman senator with some convict nuances thrown in. Now, I pride myself on my resourcefulness. After two nights of tearfully tugging at my shorn locks, I took myself off in desperation to the then only, and very new, hair extension salon in London. They, no doubt, would magically rectify the problem. Okay, so I was warned that the hair on the crown of my head was too short to glue, yes glue, the longer strands to, but hey, what’s a crown between friends?! Eight exhausting hours, an itchy scalp and a month’s wasted salary later, I left the salon with, for the first time in my life, almost waist length hair. A dream had come true! Proper long hair that I could swish and flick! My word, what a glamourpuss I was! The bubble burst the minute I got home when my young son greeted me with the immortal words : “Mummy, why do you look like a wolf?” But by then it was too late, my brand new silk rara skirt and my birthday party guests were awaiting me. I won’t go into the comments I got in response to my cropped head which had long silken tresses hanging from just above ear level. Let’s just say that the phrase ‘maxi mullet’ was coined that evening.
You’d think I’d learn, but oh no! Year in, year out, November brings on this urge, just in time to give me a decidedly odd and unfamiliar look for my birthday. And this year too, just ahead of a seriously big birthday, I decided I needed a radical change, something cuter, something younger, kind of less madamy and ladylike, more urbane. In the past, I’ve had the Ali McGraw, the Farah Fawcett Majors, the Brigitte Nielsen, the Meg Ryan, the shorter Jennifer Aniston and a number of changing Lulus, all with vastly varying degrees of success, along with several other attempts to make something of my fine, dead straight hair, occasionally inadvertently resulting in an undesirable Camilla Parker Bowles. This year, having watched the entirety of House of Cards on boxed DVD sets, I was hell-bent on a Robin Wright. I mean, how fabulously chic and sleek is that woman in the role of Claire Underwood?? Well, I wanted me some of that! As always, I ignored my inner warning voice which told me all too clearly that my face is absolutely nothing like Robin Wright’s. Pah! Face, shmace! Once my hair was cut, I was going to look just like her. Obvs!
My saving grace, these days, is my fantastic hairdresser. Or rather my two fantastic hairdressers, Kevin and Kiki, not to mention my ace colourist, Gary, all at A-list salon John Frieda in Mayfair. So good at what they do and so successful are they, that one or the other is always off on ‘session’, on a shoot or on some high profile private client work, somewhere around the globe, so it makes sense to be able to make alternative arrangements. Being top stylists, it goes without saying that a hair appointment with them costs an arm and a leg. On second thoughts, make that both arms and both legs. Then there’s the London congestion charge and the insane car parking fees, if you drive to the salon. The delicious sandwiches and salads, teas, coffees, tisanes and yes, even vino, you can consume while your conditioning treatment is soaking in below that fetching plastic cap under the hair heater, is also right up there with top restaurant prices. It’s all one seriously financially painful, guilt-inducing, shudderingly decadent frivolity. While you are paying top dollar, you are indisputably getting top results in return. Me, with my problem hair, I’d sooner live on dry bread and water for a month than go anywhere else. Yes, I’d even give up my holidays, if I had to. These guys are master craftsmen, nay inspired artists, and they know what they’re doing. A cut may take almost two hours to complete but no detail, no stray hair, is overlooked and so the do lasts much longer and looks noticeably better than when done elsewhere. I’m a devotee, as you can tell, though not always without a sense of guilty embarrassment.
The Robin Wright? Well, this time my November reinvention seems to have worked out, I’m glad to say, though I still don’t look anything like Robin.. It’s a slow burner though; my family, initially a little shocked by the drastic and unexpected change to my style, are gradually coming around to it. “Yeah” they say ”yeah, that’s actually really cute. It suits you!” they slowly admit admiringly. My daughter even professes to prefer it to my previous longer, flickier look. “Younger” she says “more fun”. Oh golden words! As for me, I’m sort of carefully tiptoing around this new style, a little nervous, not quite sure. Right now it still has the salon fluff and volume, that artful tousledness, so expertly done that it will survive for a week, seducing me into thinking that, yes indeed, I’m confident with the new me. But, and here’s my great fear, what when I finally have to wash it and style it myself? Will I be able to easily recreate this oh so cool marvel of hair artistry, this pinnacle of urban chicness, this effortless gamine glamour? Or, as is quite possible, am I living a nightmare in which Robin Wright terrifyingly morphs into Donald Trump over night? Just in time for my forthcoming family birthday dinner, the big one, the memorable one, the one where no doubt lots of photos will be taken and posted on Facebook? Robin, do not abandon me to Donald, do not deliver me helpless into his power, stand by me in my hour of need! It’s just unthinkable to be slipping into my new decade as ‘The Donald’, though his riches would be useful to pay for all future hair appointments.
John Frieda has salons in London and New York. Many different excellent John Frieda hair products are available on the high street. Available from John Frieda salons, QVC, Amazon and various other websites, is one of the newest and most innovative products, frankly an essential for anyone with root regrowth, the ‘Colour Wow Root Cover Up‘ which comes in seven different shades from Platinum Blonde to Black. Here is a link to a tutorial on how it works for best results: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DyZ4NFlPyNU
John Frieda Hair, 4 Aldford Street, London W1K 2AE
Tel.: 020 7636 1401 www.johnfrieda.co.uk