In memory of Toni Mascolo

In memory of Toni Mascolo

In celebration of Toni&Guy founder Giuseppe Toni Mascolo, we pay tribute to the influential leader who sadly passed away on 10th December 2017

We dedicate our spring issue to our founder and leader, Giuseppe Toni Mascolo. Husband to Pauline and father to Sacha, Christian and Pierre, Toni sadly passed away on 10th December 2017 surrounded by his family, who never ceased to be the most important thing in the world to him – and he to us.

An Italian immigrant, and following in his father’s hairdressing footsteps, Toni and his brother Guy launched TONI&GUY as a single salon in Clapham, south London, in 1963. Over the course of more than 50 years, due to the brothers’ boundless creativity and unparallelled entrepreneurship, they grew it into an internationally celebrated brand comprised of over 600 salons worldwide including the smaller salon group, essensuals, plus 19 TONI&GUY academies and the multi-award-winning professional haircare range, label.m.

‘From humble beginnings Toni and his brothers built a hairdressing phenomenon and superbrand that’s recognised the world over. His dedication, commitment and passion to his family – and wider Toni&Guy family – was a sight to behold’ Jayne Lewis-Orr, Executive Director of Hairdressers Journal International

Highly respected both within the hairdressing community and outside of it, the OBE, Honorary Professor of Durham University and recipient of an Italian Knighthood was, to the end, approachable, humble and generous of spirit. With an impossibly lengthy list of achievements to his name, Toni’s love for his mother country also led him to open a string of cafés and launch his own pasta sauce. But some of his proudest accomplishments were outside of the business world. He and Pauline launched the TONI&GUY Charitable Foundation in 2003, which has raised more than £2 million for many deserving causes and organisations.

An avid Chelsea fan, it was only the weeks when his beloved Blues were playing at home that – even aged 75 – he couldn’t be found inconspicuously cutting hair in one of his west London salons. Ceaselessly hard-working, a real family man and a true gentleman, he is irreplaceable to all who knew and loved him.

Toni's father and mother, Francesco and Maria Mascolo on their wedding day; Toni (pictured centre) with his parents and four siblings at their family home in London


On the 6th of May, 1942 in Scafati, a small town in Southern Italy not too far from Pompeii, Giuseppe (Toni) Mascolo – older brother to Gaetano (Guy), Andrea, Bruno and Anthony – was born into the loving family of Francesco and Maria Mascolo. Despite the threat of danger from the Allied forces bombing Italy, Toni remembered his childhood fondly. Full of love and stability, it was this sense of familial warmth that Toni instilled into his first-ever salon and is something that has become a hallmark of Toni&Guy as a business.

‘My enduring memory of Toni will be the way he looked you straight in the eye and made you feel, for that brief moment in time when he was speaking to you, that you were the most important person in the world’ Gary Kelly, Editor-in-Chief of Estetica magazine

When Toni was 14 years old, against the backdrop of economic uncertainty in Southern Italy, the Mascolo family emigrated to London, initially living in Islington, before making Clapham their home. Having been taught by his talented and artistic father – also an award-winning hairdresser – and with his bright and studious nature, Toni – at just 16 years old – found himself managing Gerard’s hair salon in Stockwell.

Sadly, in 1962, Maria Mascolo, absolutely beloved by Toni who described her as caring, kind and beautiful, passed away. As the family reeled from this tragic blow, a devastated Toni knew that despite his own suffering it was now up to him to hold everyone together and support his father and younger brothers. While still grieving the loss of his mother, Toni and his younger brother Guy were offered the chance to buys Cecil’s, a run-down hairdressers on Clapham Park Road. Toni immediately quit his well-paid job at a central London salon and together the brothers fixed up the salon ready for its opening in January 1963. The salon was to become the first of more than 600 Toni&Guy salons worldwide.

Putting the finishing touches to the first TONI&GUY salon which opened in Clapham in 1963; Toni learned the trade from his talented hairdresser father, Francesco

Bringing their Italian finesse to the somewhat conservative London salon and barbershop scene, Toni&Guy advertised ‘Florentine elegance, Venetian style and Roman flair’ and offered a friendly, very client-focused service. Having inherited some of the original stylists from Cecil’s, including 15-year-old Pauline O’Donnell – who would later become Toni’s wife – the business gained momentum quickly. London fell hard for their softer, feminine styles, which were a refreshing change from the angular crops of the 60s. And by 1965 – as a result of hard work and Toni’s shrewd business sense – the brothers had already opened two more branches in London, becoming both the first hairdressing chain on the high street, and one of the world’s rst unisex salons.

Toni & Pauline outside St George's Catherdral on their wedding day in 1970


The 1970s got off to a very happy start for Toni as he married the love of his life, best friend, and colleague Pauline at the imposing St George’s Cathedral in Southwark. An incredibly giving woman, Pauline had helped the Mascolo family after the loss of their mother, eventually becoming part of the family. Having been friends for a long time, Toni fell in love with her family values, kindness and loyalty. The wedding was a typically familial affair with friends and relatives showing their appreciation for the happy young couple by cooking food and decorating the reception venue. With a never faltering love, he later described meeting her as the best thing ever to have happened to him and finding someone to spend his life with, his greatest achievement. The occasion of his marriage also proved to be the perfect excuse to travel back to Italy. Honeymooning in Sorrento on the Amalfi coast, not too far from where he grew up, gave Toni the opportunity to introduce his new bride to his friends, family and beautiful country. And upon his return to England things were to only get better for Toni and his wife as they discovered that they were to be parents.

‘Toni was so unassuming – cool, calm and kind – you would never know that he had so much wealth and power. He always had a smile, knew who you were and shook your hand. He won’t be forgotten very easily – his legacy lives on in everybody connected to him’ Errol Douglas MBE, Multi-award-winning hairdresser

On the 4th May 1971, Toni’s daughter Sacha was born and – having longed for a baby girl – he couldn’t have been happier or prouder. Sacha would later go on to follow in her father’s footsteps, winning Newcomer of the Year at the British Hairdressing Awards aged just 19, and later join him at the head of the company as Global Creative Director. Not too long after, the happy couple heard the pitter of patter of tiny feet again when Sacha’s brother Christian was born. Then a few years later in 1979, Toni’s third child, another son, Pierre, completed the family.

Toni & Pauline at a black-tie event; Toni & Guy at their first salon in Clapham in the 70s

The 70s were a good decade for Toni, professionally as well as personally, as Toni’s younger brothers Bruno and Anthony joined the family firm. In 1974, Toni&Guy opened the doors to a smart new Mayfair premises, which, with the brothers’ signature Italian style and insistence on pioneering their own very feminine hairstyles, soon became a destination salon. Despite the UK’s economic downturn and high rates of inflation, business for Toni&Guy was booming. Yet while the 70s brought a lot of happiness to Toni and his brothers, they tragically lost their father in December of 1976. A real blow to the family, it now meant that Toni was the head of the family, and as such, he grappled not only with his grief but also the burden of responsibility that now rested on his shoulders.

‘Toni Mascolo is an icon. In business, he
was a man of great integrity, striking the perfect balance of being both professional and inherently personable. On a personal level, Toni was a friend. I will miss his energy, warmth and talent – but I know that he leaves a strong legacy’ Omar Hajeri, Managing Director at L’Oréal UK and Ireland


Toni & Pauline head to their reception after their wedding ceremony in August 1970; Toni opened the first international Toni&Guy salon in Tokyo, Japan in 1985 with former employee and friend Kanji Saiga

Education was always important to Toni and he ensured that it became a fundamental pillar of the Toni&Guy brand by opening a hairdressing academy in St Christopher’s Place, London in 1984. But that wasn’t the only area in which he and his brothers were pioneering. Following Toni’s time in the country conducting business, in 1985 Toni&Guy opened its first ever International Salon in Tokyo, Japan. And just three years later, led by Toni – who was keen to keep exceptional talent within the company and offer hairdressers the opportunity to own their own salon – the first Toni&Guy franchise opened in Brighton. It’s a business model that has seen the company expand throughout the world.

Toni & Pauline with their family on Toni's 70th birthday


In the 90s, both Toni&Guy and TIGI – premium products named so after a legal dispute with Gillette inspired Toni to used the Italian pronunciation of the letters T and G instead – were booming. For Toni, family always came before business, yet as the family grew ever closer the company flourished. By 1996 there were 31 Toni&Guy salons in the UK, while TIGI had developed a full range of high-end products and branched out into hair accessories. A doting and proud father, Toni wanted nothing more than for his daughter – and protégé – Sacha to have the chance to fully flex her creative muscles. So in 1997 Toni&Guy launched its sister brand essensuals, with Sacha and Christian at the helm. It was the fastest growing hairdressing chain, with 50 salons opening in just two years. Toni later talked of how he could never have dreamt how fantastic his daughter would be.

‘It was a great pleasure to meet Toni and I strongly admire everything he has built, and his contribution to the hairdressing industry. He leaves a strong legacy which will continue into the future’ Andrew Kelsall, General Manager at Coty

As a child Toni was always encouraged to be charitable and it’s an attitude that never left him. In 2003, Toni, alongside wife Pauline, established the Toni&Guy Charitable Foundation which so far has raised over £2 million for charities including The Stroke Association and Macmillan Cancer Support. The couple, both devout Catholics, worked alongside a local priest in Southern Italy to build Fondazione Oasi Regina degli Angeli in Ameglio, a hostel and 48 apartments for children with physical or psychological problems.

Toni with his sons Pierre and Christian; Toni with his daughter Sacha

Highly creative and an entrepreneur in the truest sense of the word, Toni later branched out, publishing his autobiography Toni: My Story, opening a chain of cafés and even releasing his own Napolitana pasta sauce, based on a decades-old family recipe. As his businesses reached impossible levels of success, Toni was celebrated on an international scale as awards and honours rolled in. In 2008 he was awarded an honorary OBE for services to British hairdressing industry. Meanwhile in 2013, Durham University Business School made him an Honorary Professor. Not forgotten by his native Italy, Toni and his wife Pauline were honoured with the award of Knight and Dame Commander of Saint Gregory from the Catholic church, the honour was bestowed personally by The Vatican City and Pope Benedict XVI.

But Toni was never in hairdressing for the fame or glamour, always considering it to be a hobby first and foremost. And at the age of 75–until a few weeks before his death on the 10th December 2017 – Toni continued to cut hair once a week in his Sloane Square or Mayfair salon, never disclosing to his clients who he was. Until the end, Toni’s life was marked by his humility, hard work and warmth and we will continue to love him in death, as we loved him in life.

Toni's Lifetime of awards


Named London Entrepreneur in the Consumer Products and Services category of The London Entrepreneur of the Year Awards

2002 & 2003

Finalist in the Franchisor of the Year Awards


Awarded the Cavaliere Ufficiale, an Italian Knighthood


The Fibell Award is bestowed upon him
Awarded an honorary OBE for services to British Hairdressing


Hairdressing & Beauty Benevolent bestow upon him the Outstanding Commitment to Charity Award

Winner of the Outstanding Contribution to Hairdressing and Franchisor of the Year Award at The Sapphire Awards


Winner of the Franchisor of the Year at the Sapphire Awards


The Fellowship for British Hairdressing grant him a Lifetime Achievement Award


Toni and Pauline Mascolo are given the titles Knight and Dame Commander of Saint Gregory by The Vatican City and Pope Benedict XVI

Durham University Business School make him an Honorary Professor

Winner of the International Legend Award at the Association Internationale Presse Professionnelle Coiffure

SFEDI & IOEE Celebrating Enterprise give him the Lifetime Achievement Award


Winner of the Primi Dieci

Award at BAFTA

  • Photography: Toni & Guy Archive