From soft tousles to razor-sharp edges, there is one hairdo set to make waves this summer and that’s the iconic bob. From ready-to-wear runways to the red carpet, short lopped off locks are already a hit among leading ladies from Scarlett Johansson to Sienna Miller. Side parted and scrunched, these new crops are in contrast to the sleek polished bobs that Vidal Sassoon made famous in the 1960s.
At George Northwood’s namesake salon on Wells Street, straightening irons have been swapped in favour of curling tongs by the women who come in their droves asking for the ‘Alexa’ – the wavy bob he created for Alexa Chung.
So popular is this particular hairdo among swathes of stylish women that last month, the master hairdresser, who also counts Salma Hayek and Rosie Huntington-Whiteley among his celebrity clients, decided to launch his very own bob bar.
Here, customers can pick from 4 different styles on a specially created bob menu. These range from the choppy Alexa crop to a sleek style inspired by Margot from the Royal Tenenbaums. If you prefer to shake things up you can also mix and match, fusing a No.1 with a No.2 or even a little of all four. Should nerves get the better of you, George even has wigs to try on before you commit to the cut.
As for the rise of the bob and other drastic chops, George adds: “Women are really experimenting with their hair now that we are slowly coming out of the recession. They want to make a big statement to get noticed. Social media has been great for us. We saw a lot of people pinning images of 60’s bobs onto their Pinterest boards, so we decided to jump on the trend and do something with it.”
Unlike other more traditional salons in the West End, George’s has more of a hip East London edge to it. Interior inspiration stems from Shoreditch House, to the Conran shop and as a result, shelves are lined with fashion books and quirky knickknacks. The Horse Box Gallery, a global touring gallery, is responsible for the artworks, which line the salon walls.
George also appreciates that time-starved women don’t want to sit in a salon all day, though if they do, his is equipped with workstations amongst the bespoke up-cycled furniture, which adds to the cool private member’s club vibe.
Images © Alice Lubbock
This is George’s first solo venture after 12 years spent working at some of the capital’s leading salons. “The area is everything for me,” he says. “I wanted to be central but also off the beaten track. Wells Street may not be far from Bond Street, but has a slight residential feeling which I really like.”
The day I visit the salon marks a year since it first opened and the celebrations are well underway. Not that George will be letting his hair down just yet. “I find it really hard to sit back when things are good,” he muses. “I’m an adrenaline junkie who is not happy unless I’ve got too much on my plate.” With that you just know he is itching to mess with the next customer’s hair. Intentionally of course!