I’m privileged to pose 10 questions to The First Ever Person to become ‘Three Time British AVANT-GARDE hairdresser of THE YEAR, won four national titles and was made a member of The British Hairdressing “Hall of Fame!”
NO LIMITS was a lovely thing to have done and the audiences at all three performances were fantastic! Unfortunately – Covid and Lockdown arrived sadly, which stopped all of our plans in their tracks but (Please God) and just like the proverbial “Bad Penny” (and General McCarthy too!) I Shall Return!
2: Tell me how you gained an apprenticeship at Vidal Sassoon and how your life exponentially changed?
As a fifteen year old boy, growing fast and disliking school even faster; This young Man’s fancy was driven by football, cricket and all sports generally but I was totally mesmerised and obsessed by pretty girls! Realising that I could not kick a football, or bowl a cricket ball in a Mayfair Hair Salon but I could get to meet and speak to lots of beautiful women; hairdressing was the obvious career choice and very fortunately for me, Vidal Sassoon signed me into apprenticeship at his Grosvenor House, Park Lane, London Salon.
3. Over the years you’ve have been prolific in avantgarde hair styling and captured the utter imagination of many revered models, but what style would you say, “You’re most proud of?”
Outside of The hair industry, I don’t believe that the term ‘AVANT-GARDE’ has much meaning for consumers. Although, I trained with Vidal and our expertise was ‘Precision Cutting’, the year that I went to Milan in Italy and assisted and worked with the “MAESTRO” – Aldo Copolla, gave me the opportunity to study under and work alongside, probably The Greatest Hair “Dresser” in The World. No cutting but fabulous, soft and dressed feminine hair. That approach, combined with my disciplined mode of cutting, gave me a relatively different way of working with hair. Trying to concentrate and master the ability to control and finish a hairstyle beautifully but not just with scissors alone!
4: South London to Hollywood, it’s quite a bold move, did you ever feel like a fish out of water, or did you find it easy to blend with the glitz of Hollywood?
I went out to live and work in Hollywood in 2003. I had a number of well-known and American based ‘Celebrity Clients’ during that time and so if was an obvious career move for me, it also gave me a number of new challenges and opportunities.
5. What kept you going when you had faced a great deal of adversity in terms of your health?
Both of my sons!
When I went through my health issues (throat cancer) surgery and recovery; my driving force to recover and survive was the need to stay alive and be there for my two sons. Unfortunately, I lost my own father when I was eight years old, it left an enormous hole in my life and I was determined that my own two boys would not have to endure the same loss.
6: Your synergy with Trevor Leighton was implicitly stunning, how did you both meet and commence working together?
It has been my very good fortune to have worked with a number of superb and very well respected photographers throughout the world, with some of whom I have had terrific times, jobs and many wonderful experiences.
Trevor Leighton and I just seemed to gel together really well from the start, similar work values, taste levels and we have always shared the same sense of humour and lunacy. Over the years we have collaborated on many different projects and ventures together and have worked in many different countries as far away as Australia and even South Korea. Trevor was also my photographer of choice with ALL of my award winning photographic collections!
“You can’t ask me that, as I want to work tomorrow! I’m not letting Keith get away in not replying to my question and I’ll force it out of him when we next meet!
8: Did you ever worry about being too outlandish or controversial?
No, not really. Workwise and having been privileged to have worked with my Top Four all-time Hair-Heroes, Aldo Coppola, Robert Lobetta, Trevor Sorbie And Vidal Sassoon, studying with them and learning from them all has been an Incredible Privilege. They all taught me so many different things and they all had different strengths and attributes, but the common denominators were their continual desire to learn, develop and grow but above all … Maintain impeccable taste and keep things fresh. Being different is a great approach to your work but NEVER do it – not just for the sake of bring different and never be scared to try new things. If you want to grow you must be prepared to fail, just not too often!
9. You have two wonderful Sons and neither followed in your footsteps, are you surprised about this?
No, it’s something that I have actively encouraged; I really want them both to carve out their own career paths. Both are doing well in their chosen arts. Ryan is a Filmmaker: Jamie is a DJ. I suppose that we all have those shared Creative Harris Genes!
10. Favourite meal and where at?
I have two answers, because I cannot separate them (as different as they are!)
The RITZ Hotel – London
The Dining Room at night is beyond compare.
The Pan Fried Foie-Gras is indescribably delicious.
DOYLES Fish Restaurant in WATSON’S BAY, SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA. Everything on the Menu is superb but THE MIXED FISH PLATTER will stay in your heart and mind, forever. The Food together with the view over SYDNEY HARBOUR really is Extraordinary!