Head to Head

Head to Head

on the set of our womenswear shoot, we caught up with global creative director sacha mascolo-tarbuck to talk hairdressing, history and the family business

We’re celebrating 50 years of Toni&Guy – how does it feel?
It’s so exciting to be part of this special issue, it’s a great year for us – 50 years of Toni&Guy! I’m loving the hair story behind this womenswear shoot – everything we’re doing has a feeling of past eras, but it’s not a retro approach, it’s all current clothing. Plus, I’m working with my amazing hair team: Chie, Silje and Cos.

Talk us through the looks you’ve created for our shoot...
For the 60s, it’s a Brigitte Bardot look, so we used label.m styling tools like the Pro Curling Tong and the Pro Triple Barrel Waver. For the 70s, we went for a punk feeling with a fun mohican look. She looks really cool, but there’s still a feeling of ‘now’. For the 80s, of course, it just had to be massive hair. For the 90s look, we cheated an undercut by pinning the hair, and for the 00s style, we gave the model a versatile, androgynous cut.

How has hairdressing changed over the years?
In the 60s and the 70s it was really about dressing hair – styles were focused around rollers, blowdrying and backcombing. Then in the 80s and the 90s it was all about cutting and technique. After that, it evolved into product development and creating different textures with hair. Now we have it all.

What does Toni&Guy have planned for 2013?
I’m putting together a book about our history featuring amazing imagery. I wanted it to be quite factual but with beautiful photographs reflecting each decade and the important things that happened: the salon openings, the awards, the people who made things happen and helped to make Toni&Guy what it is today. It’s a very exciting project. And of course, we’ll be doing London Fashion Week. We also have a new advertising campaign and a big year lined up for label.m. In September, we’re hosting a Toni&Guy festival for our staff at Knebworth, which will be a major celebration with bands, special events and everyone staying overnight.

Why do you think the brand has been so successful?
I think the key is that we are always looking for the next step. At the time when my father (Toni Mascolo) started the franchising, it was all about education and helping staff to open salons. As the creative director, Anthony was exceptional in his hairdressing, in his cutting, in his show work and in his imagery. For the last 11 years I’ve been Global Creative Director. I’ve added a fashion element and worked on product development, taking our brand on from being salon-based. So I think our success is through constantly changing, constantly moving. You can never stand still, you can never be complacent and you always have to be looking for the next best thing.

There is a family ethos which underpins the business, isn’t there...
I know from my father and my uncles, when they opened their very first salon it was all about the family values; treating your salon as if it was your family home – your staff are part of your family, your client is part of your family and you treat everyone as one, and you are all one big team. I think that ethos is something that is still just as relevant today – I can’t do anything without my amazing team, we all work together. This goes for all our hairdressers, our salons and our franchises. When we go to our big events, we have 5,000 people there, but it feels like one big family. And I think this has been instrumental to our success.

Growing up did you always want to be a hairdresser?
Hairdressing always came naturally to me. I found it easy to do. My mum was a hairdresser, along with my dad and my uncle.By the age of 12, I was doing fishtail plaits and complicated weaves – I just found them easy. By the time I was 13, I was cutting mohicans and all sorts of stuff. But my mum really didn’t want me to go into hairdressing, so I studied design. Then I said, you know what, I just really enjoy working with hair, so I’ll do that for a little while and once I get a bit of money, I’ll go back to design. And it then just carried on and one thing lead to another – but I’ve loved my journey.

What do you particularly love about your job?
What I love most are the great people within it. I’ve been in the company for 25 years, so a lot of people who I work with now, I’ve worked with for 15 or 20 years. And I love the creativity, the imagery, creating our campaigns... I love the product development and the packaging design – all the creative elements of it. It’s really varied.

How do you juggle work and family life?
It’s quite tough actually. Once the first two went to school it was easier, now having another little one, three altogether, is quite challenging. But they grow so quickly and I just cherish every moment I have with them. When I’m doing my work stuff I’m really focused on that and when I’m with my family I’m really focused on them. I’m really like two different people, one work person, and one mum, but it works best that way.

‘You can never stand still, you can never be complacent and you always have to be looking for the next best thing’

What are the most valuable lessons you have learnt from your father, Toni Mascolo?
I love working with my dad and I have a really good relationship with him. I think that one of the most important things I have learnt from him is that he works so hard and he has always put 100 percent into everything. The one thing that I absolutely love about him and his business is that I had always thought a really successful businessman was quite ruthless and hard, but my dad is the opposite – he’s so gentle, so nurturing and that’s something I’ve picked up on and emulated. He is always happy to share and help other people grow. It’s such a lovely philosophy, that you can be amazing in business and be really nice, too.

Did you know

In 2011 Toni&Guy hosted an entirely hair-focused show at London Fashion Week. The show was opened by Naomi Campbell.

In 2007 the Model.Me haircare range was launched, in collaboration with Erin O’Connor and Helena Christensen.

The first Toni&Guy academy was opened in St Christopher’s place, London, to host seminars and beginners courses for aspiring hairdressers.

  • Interview: Alex Ashcroft