The atmosphere was tense at times. After all, a significant amount of work was involved and we had a slightly condensed amount of time. I sense I thrive on stress, it makes me feel empowered. My adrenaline was high and I was enamoured by my situation and surroundings.
The Roundhouse in Camden is a considerably iconic building. Although one of the best-known venues in London for audiences seeking bold, innovative cultural experiences, its use today is a far cry from its beginnings. Once a railway repair shed in the 1800s, this site has seen regeneration in the past 15 years and is now the place to go for cultural arts.
Amelia, the current Wella Gen Now team and I arrived there at 7.30am to be greeted by Gary Gill, Kai Wan and Tom Wright. Our Captain and two Generals for our laborious day ahead. Briefed strategically, there was no time to sit around and we set to work as soon as the models arrived.
Frantically blow drying, tonging and gluing hair wefts, it soon became clear we needed to step up our game if our 7.15pm stage time was to be met. I’ve said this many times before and I’ve no doubt I’ll mention it again. I’m in awe of Gary Gill. His attitude and approach to work is something I thrive to mimic. His ease and sophistication towards each and every hairstyle on this event was something to be described as genius and I am utterly flattered and privileged to work alongside him.
Each style was hand drawn and an exact match was expected to be created. No corners cut and not one hair out of place, this was unquestionably the most prestigious event I’ve worked on.
Flat out would be my only description of the day. With little time to refuel, its high intensity had me more than focused but the memories of last night’s previous events kept a huge grin on my face…
We stumbled into the living room, climbed over the armchair blocking the door and entered what can only be described as a ‘homemade hair salon’.
Darren and I were in Brixton, to visit our friend Josh. In his ‘salon chair’ was a gentleman I’d not quite prepared for. You would never have known Josh had only met him the previous night. From a spectator’s point of view, they had known each other a lifetime.
Rob Philip Henry Quinn eagerly in the chair whilst a not-so-sober Josh performed one of his three-hour haircuts, hilariously stopping every few minutes to play a ‘hairdressing’ song through spotify, to make non-informative phone calls or to have a quick cigarette break. The first hour saw him fading said hair with unplugged clippers.
Rob is an extravagant character, full of la di da’s. Was very out spoken, informative and opinionated. A cluster of descriptive words that spring to mind would be aristocratic, loaded, fancy, toff, toffee nosed, upper crust, well off, or well to do. A trainee dentist who dreams of opening an upmarket teeth whitening surgery. We discussed ideas of how he’d run the business, which would also offer the services of Botox, fillers and hair extensions. Throwing ideas for the surgery’s name across the room, we eventually agreed Henry Quinn of London would be best fitting. Just before we got ourselves together to hit the pub, Rob enjoyably smeared £400 eye cream round my face whilst telling tales of his trip to Los Angeles the next morning to work as ‘The Face’ of a cosmetics company.
Looking around Hootananny’s, we weren’t quite the typical clientele. With Darren in his West Bromwich Albion top and Rob looking like a quaint, middle class, private school boy, we were certainly breaking the mould. I could sense Rob’s discomfort and he quickly made excuses before scampering off to a more desirable destination.
Making our way back to Josh’s place, grabbing a few tins of Red Stripe on the way, it was clear a night filled with laughter lay ahead. Robustly sending Kathryn and Titi photo after photo and short video clips of our carrying on, it’s safe to say I’m just as comfortable with these two as any of my other closest friends.
I stood on the balcony with Amelia and The Gen Now 2014/15 team. Looking around at the tables of peers and industry connoisseurs, I beamed with pride as model after model strutted down the catwalk, showing off our labour of love. Knowing what goes on behind the scenes, including stylists, make up artists, choreographers, dancers, musicians, technicians etc, it’s a one hundred per cent guarantee Wella will give you a world class show and this year was no different.
Leaving London is always difficult for me, it’s a place I feel most creative and I take pleasure in spending my time in the vibrant City. I look forward to my next trip. I might even visit the bar in Soho where Rob Phillip Henry Quinn of London is now working as a Gogo dancer.
Long live the Vef and I bloody forgot to visit the Queen!