By Chrissy Iley
My hair and my soul have always been inextricably linked. I’ve always thought its such a part of who I am – who anyone is.
I’ve always been obsessed with hair, ever since I was three years old and cut my dolls hair off because I loved the idea of transformation. And I have been very lucky in finding very talented people who can make my unremarkable limp hair the best it can be. Oh yes, queen of hair with ongoing relationships with the best stylists in the world – that’s me. Yet I was in a hair colour crisis.
How could this happen? I’d been wowed by Giancarlo at Serge Lamont John Frieda New York but whatever he had done was his own secret formula and no one seemed to be able to repeat it. And when various other luminaries touched my hair, a terrible thing happened. The colour didn’t take. I’ve coloured my hair since I was 14, and to now learn that its natural colour is in fact no colour is just the most horrible thing that’s ever happened.
I remember as a kid I watched this black and white movie where, to show the passage of time, Joan Crawford’s hair changed from lustrous black to grey overnight. Now she was old and no one wanted her. The image haunted me and now was this me that suddenly hair dye didn’t work? Sure, over the years colourists have used the word resistant but I didn’t really know or care what that meant. But here we are, suddenly when my hair needed it most, there were giant white roots on the sides. And I don’t mean grey, I mean white. So white it looked bald. A lady at John Frieda NYC recommended the Andy Le Compte salon.
The receptionist there, clearly sometimes psychic, said that she thought I’d be good with Christopher. I always like people with the same name as me, perhaps because I’m a narcissist. I didn’t know how curiously comfortable an experience with Christopher would be but it’s not comfortable cosy, it’s comfortable because you’re in the hands of a wild minded genius. The connection was instant. I felt like I was in the 1970s movie Shampoo except of course Christopher is a gay man and I was ready to be his ‘ mascot.’
Christopher Pierce had pierced by heart before he even opened the colour tube. He looked at my hair and said it was ‘ vacant.’ And it was. It was like the hair of a ghost. An empty parking lot on my head. Not really there. I wasn’t really there either. I was who am defined by my hair was undefined. Nobody.
He began swirling on colour like he was a swirling assistant to Jackson Pollack. And there’s the moment where you go there’s nothing I can do because my head is in the hand of an artist. He swirled, he highlighted, he talked. We talked about our mothers. Anybody with a similar mother always gets me. I found that I was doing the thing I never do – confessing to my hairdresser. I know people do this but I’m so aware of it and I’ve had so many different stylists and colourists I under share as a point. But not this one. While I sat waiting for the results, I felt quite at home in the Andy Le Compte Salon. Cutting edge, world class but cosy.
Leanne Citron did my blow dry. It sounds like a movie star name. She certainly styles many of them. She herself is from Darlington and her father used to own a chain of hair salons in the north east. I remember passing them as a child. She is magnificent with a blow dry. At the end of it, a stylist that I’d known from John Frieda who’s now at this salon, told me what I was already thinking. This is the best hair you’ve ever had. Everybody’s told me the same.
I looked up my stylist and colourist afterwards, knowing that they are some of the most sought after in the business with high profile clients coming to them to maintain the integrity of their hair so they can go movie to movie, show to show. I am not a movie star but my hair could be. It is shiny, vibrant, caramel creamy golden blonde and pale blonde, luminous. It’s not vacant. It’s there and so am I. Thank you Christopher Pierce my heart for the best hair colour I’ve ever had.