Friday, March 11, 2011

First Look Fridays: Hairstylist Peter Gray

If you've followed this blog at all over the past few years, you'll know that I think the world of hairstylist Peter Gray. Season after season, his creations at shows like Betsey Johnson and Badgley Mischka have inspired and amazed me to no end. So I am thrilled to bring you my interview with him this week! Read on to find out how he first became interested in hairstyling, the brush he simply can't live without, and so much more.

Can you tell me a bit about yourself?
Grew up in Zimbabwe, went to boarding school in South Africa, ended up cutting school friends' hair to get around strict school regulations re hair length etc. Caught the attention of a top salon owner whose kids went to the same school, he offered me a Saturday job which became a life.

How did you first become interested in hair, and what led you to become a hairstylist?
It was the 80's and hair was a vital accessory. School rules and the local barber didn't lend themselves to this and I ended up cutting friends' and school staff members' hair, even the headmaster. I just enjoyed how hair looked and made people feel. I was really into music and the hair that went with it at that time.

Being a Saturday boy opened my eyes to the potential creatively, educationally and for travel, that university was not going to offer. After 2 1/2 years and qualifying in South Africa I headed for London and adventure!

When did you make the move from salon work to editorial, and what propelled you to make the change?
From the very beginning I knew salon life wasn't for me. I worked a few years at Cazaly and Co in London where there was a heavy editorial bias and shows were commonplace before moving to Sassoon and getting into education, where shows and pictures featured heavily. At Sassoon I became their first Editorial Director, doing shoots and ads for the salons/schools and the product company internationally. After 13 years it was time to move on.

Greg Cazaly, David Adams and Ray Allington were my first mentors followed by years helping Eugene Souleiman.

At Sassoon, Avram Finkelstein and Vidal himself mentored and showed me that the shows and the editorial side was where my future lay.

You've worked with some of the world's biggest designers over the years at Fashion Week. What do you love about the experience, and are there any looks that have stood out as your favorites?
The challenge, the inspiration and finally the adrenaline! I try [to] approach each designer as a unique situation, and to put in and get the most out of each and every show! Martin Margiela for Hermes and his own shows are my all-time favorite collaboration!

Look-wise I've had the privilege to work with so many talented people, the most rewarding look is always the one that marries with the collection best!

What are your top 5 hair essentials?
1) Good quality combs -- Japanese

2) Mason Pearson Brush

3) a powerful hairdryer (Parlux)

4) Dressmaking elastic

5) Thickening product

What are your top 3 hair tips?
1) Spend the money on quality shampoo and conditioner.

2) Don't try to achieve catwalk looks without the appropriate base products in your hair.

3) Don't follow trends, always follow what you feel.

What is the most rewarding part of what you do?
Every single job has its own rewards -- working with a fantastic team, whether photo or hair, and sharing ideas with them is the most rewarding part!

Being a hairstylist must be fun -- but what do you do in your spare time?
Direct music videos and short films.


  1. The Beauty of Life, really a nice blog to know about your beauty and to get also.

  2. it's soo interesting to see how people get into the industry they do, thanks for the interview.

  3. I completely agree with the above comment, the internet is with a doubt growing into the most important medium of communication across the globe and its due to sites like this that ideas are spreading so quickly.