Interview with Daniel Galvin

Mimi ON Dec 10, 2012 AT 12:36 pm

With over 50 years experience in the hairdressing industry and a pioneer of hair colour, Daniel Galvin is something of a legend. We met him on the Mezzanine level of London’s Corinthia Hotel, beside the luxurious ESPA Life Spa, where Daniel has – not long since – launched his second salon, complete with Movie Makeover Room.

Daniel Galvin

DG: We left our previous salon back in  2003 and moved into a 9000 sq ft building, going from 60 staff to 110!  I was always scared of opening more salons, because I didn’t want the standard to slip – and it has to slip because the more you open it has to, you simply can’t have the same amount of control.

With the boutique atmosphere it’s just so wonderful and it just seemed the right thing to do. Everyone is trained at Daniel Galvin, we don’t take people trained elsewhere. I may be the instigator but everyone is Daniel Galvin, we all use the same technique, so it’s the same high quality result. So that’s the reason we opened this salon so that the quality remains fantastic.

How long have you been in the Corinthia?

DG: Just over one year. This room here (the Movie Makeover Room) was designed to be our make-up room for film work. We do lots of film work. I’ve been doing films since the 60s’, since Clockwork Orange. We’ve done so many through the years, Mel Gibson, for Brave Heart, Richard Gear in First Knight, The Saint . . . so many, we have been doing film so much of the time. In the last year or so we’ve worked on War Horse, Iron Lady, Sweeney, Parade’s End.

Daniel Galvin Makeover Room at the Corinthia Hotel

We do hair for film all the time, mainly because the make-up artists don’t know anything about hair color, they know about make-up and hair, but they don’t about know about hair color, so we got involved. We got involved with Lois Burwell, Steven Speilberg’s personal make-up artist, a number one make-up artist. We use this room to conference with the directors. We have the star and artist here and conference with the director on the screens.

BATD: What is the vogue with colour at the moment?

DG: When it comes to colour there is so much happening, like the candy-shades we saw in the summer. Trends come and go. And the crazy colours that have come back for the catwalk right now. I started crazy colours in the 60s but I did it for a reason, I did it to shock the public. I did these amazing saturated-hue hair colors because I was a very frustrated colourist! Everyone may have been all about the geometric cuts, but I wanted to be a colourist. And yet, only about 10% of clients had coloured-hair, they only wanted it to cover up their grey hairs. So when I had a client and told them the vision I had for their hair colour, they’d tell me ‘no’. They wanted to stay with what was natural, it was the colour they were born with and they didn’t see any reason to change it.

BATD: Do you think people are going back to their roots?  

DG: Their natural color? No, no no. Not if they’ve spoken to me!

BATD: How important is it to stick with a natural hair colour? 

DG: It’s very important to stick with what nature gave us, but to take it beyond that. That’s important; That’s the art of colouring.  But when you want the expensive hair colour look like Chanel, Louis Vuitton, that’s the way it should be, colour should be simple.

We did these crazy colours to shock the public, but this was for the fashion world, this was catwalk. And on November 5th 1971 when the punks, and the Punk movement got a hold of it , we stopped. We simply didn’t do it anymore. We never intended for the public to wear it. The crazy colours have come back on the runway, with false hair pieces. It used to be that models all looked the same with neat little buns, but the hair now has really come to life, it’s the colour that has brought it to life. What is the biggest statement the hair, the clothes, or is it the both of them? Hair now makes a statement. It’s as important.

Daniel Galvin Crazy Colour

People were still not very interested in colour until we started doing highlights. I developed the brickwork style of highlighting, which became really popular when I did Twiggy’s hair. It is now the most used form of highlighting throughout the world. It was building on what was there. The colour was to emphasise the face and natural shades already there.

Colour then began to really take off because the hair looked alive.  Just like in make-up, where lip liner is used to define the lips and eyeliner the eyes, the highlights were a copy of that. They brought out the natural beauty. I believe hair was originally meant to protect the body not to be beautiful, but as we have evolved we see the beauty in it. We add hair colour to make your hair more beautiful than nature ever intended. But we use the natural colour as a base and a guideline; we never go more than three levels lighter than the natural shade. Your hair should never go lighter than it does at the ends in the sunshine. In  1988 I decided to try to introduce hair colour to Japan as well. They have a philosophy there that a woman with natural black hair is the prettiest. We did a series of shows to demonstrate how hair colour is like make-up, it can be used to take the heaviness of the black away and emphasis the face. Two years later we introduced the Daniel Galvin hair range in Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, and Singapore and did a series of hair shows. Japan caught up with the West in hair colour within 10 years, and then overtook it. Colour is now the number one hair service in salons.

BATD: What’s the most important thing when it comes to hair, colour or cut? 

When it comes to hair you can have the perfect colour but if the hair isn’t healthy it can still look bad. It’s the philosophy of the three Cs, cut, colour, and condition. Condition is perhaps the biggest C. Too many people are blinded by what the bottles say they can do for your hair. So many of the supposed conditions only soften the hair to get the tangles out. You need to put moisture back in the hair. Hair is a lady’s ultimate beauty accessory, she wears it 24/7 and can never take it off. People really need to be educated on how to take good care of their hair.

Daniel Galvin 58-60 George Street, London, W1U 7ET, 0207 486 9661
Daniel Galvin at The Corinthia, Whitehall Place London SW1A 2BD

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