Tucked away from view, The Hidden Hut is (perhaps sadly for its fans, but happily ofr its owners) fast becoming famous, thanks to glowing publicity from The Sunday Times and Caroline Quentin’s TV journey around the county. Yet, new found fame or not, actually getting a table requires no less resourcefulness and stamina than it takes to get a table at the Fat Duck or The Ivy. But take my word for it, the effort is more than repaid.
Parking just outside the pretty village of Porthscatho on the Roseland Peninsula, you trudge across 2 fields before glimpsing the soft sand of Porthcurnick Beach and the inevitable plume of smoke rising from the barbecue. Guests sit together on long tables and inevitably conversation gets round to how people have managed to actually book their places. (Like the Facebook Page, Follow @hiddenhut on Twitter and keep emailing.) The experience is very special. The atmosphere is everything it could be. The dice with the weather adds to the excitement and the food is cooked to perfection. I’d love to tell you not to go…..but I really think you should.
The hair and the temperature just kept getting hotter in Miami this week where TIGI Global Creative Director, Nick Irwin and the TIGI US Session Team, were working on the 2014 Swimwear Shows.
The great thing is, we can use all this creative hair artistry right now and get ourselves way ahead of the 2014 beach trends.
Here are looks from 4 of the shows headed up by Nick (with some great points of reference)
Mara Hoffman is an absolute favourite of the Team at TIGI. And what’s not to love about her ethnic inspired prints and feminine shapes. We say: absolutely covetable. For her 2014 swimwear collection Mara took inspiration from India. The hair was ironed flat and sprayed with Catwalk Your Highness Weightless Shine Spray. A middle parting was created from forehead to the crown point and the hair was then secured into a tight ponytail. A false hairpiece was braided into a tight fishtail and then added to the ponytail, using Catwalk Sleek Mystique Look Lock Hairspray to add control. To finish the look the hair was adorned with the beaded and tassled decorations more usually seen on a camel – all to create a very different ethnic chic!
Do you remember that iconic shot of Ursula Andress as the Bond Girl, coming out of the water in her white bikini in Dr No? That’s the inspiration.This look was about exuding confidence and luxury. The models had to look as if they had just stepped out of the sea. To create this effect, Nick and the Session Team applied Catwalk Curlesque Strong Mousse into the hair and combed through before directionally drying the hair away from the face. The hair lengths, down the back, were set into waves by firstly clipping the hair into place and then painting with Session Series Wet Look Gel. Just before the show began, the clips were removed.
The inspiration at Wildfox was Studio 54 meets Charlie’s Angels. (Or think Grace Coddington on the cover of her autobiography.) There were 2 defined looks at this show. The first look had a sleek crown and big, wide texture. This was created with a long middle parting. The hair was sprayed with Catwalk Sleek Mystique Look Lock Hairspray before pinning into barrel curls. The second look had a low, side parting and was held from the face by Kirby Grips or flowers. On both looks the curls were back-brushed to create a mass of loose waves and the hair was then heavily sprayed with Session Series Finishing Spray. With the temperature on the runway hitting 30 degrees –this was an absolute must!
The reference for the Minimale Animale show was the surf movie Point Blank. This was all about LA surf chic through the late 80s and early 90s.
The hair was heavily gelled and moussed with Catwalk Session Series Wet Look Gel and Curlesque Strong Mousse. This achieved the desired texture and shape – hair that was still damp from the surf but almost dry, as if the models had just dropped their Mini Mal boards at the water’s edge and had run their fingers through their hair to push it off their face.
“I’ve been leading the TIGI Session Team backstage at Fashion Weeks for the last three years, working with some top designers both sides of the Atlantic. When you’re backstage with all the pressure that it brings you need to have a really strong group of people around you that you can trust and rely upon,” says Nick Irwin, TIGI Global Creative Director. “When I work with new hairdressers or when I’m training hairdressers in session styling, the first thing I do to test their skills is ask them to create a ‘perfect ponytail’ for me. This might sound an easy task, especially to girls who are used to brushing their hair back and sticking it through an elastic band. But, don’t be fooled, to get a smooth, sleek ponytail that hangs perfectly and looks amazing is a feat that requires technical skill, a good eye and the ability to keep cool under stress. I need everyone who works backstage with me to be able to achieve the ‘perfect ponytail’ with ease and confidence.
A ponytail requires several elements to get it right. Product choice is important. The products selected need to control, smooth and give the desired hold. Good product knowledge is fundamental too so you understand the results you can achieve. Perfect blowdrying techniques are a definite pre-requisite. It may be that the hair needs to be flat and controlled, but equally it might need to have volume or a ‘lived-in’ finish. Visual appreciation is important too. Where a ponytail is placed can make or break the overall look. You have to decide whether or not to use a parting, how to tie the hair and what is needed to achieve the desired finish.
I look for good execution, knowledge and application of techniques, confident product usage and perfect finish. The other important thing – is how long it takes. Time is never on your side backstage. Simple things are often the hardest to do. You can’t hide mistakes when you do a ponytail, so you have to be competent and confident.”
On my mantelpiece sits an invitation to a very special wedding. It’s going to be an amazing and extremely beautiful occasion I just know: absolutely creative and mind-boggling. The bride is the daughter of my ex-brother-in-law, of whom I am very fond. She is beautiful, an artist who has a lovely fiancée musician. Money is really no object in making this day totally awesome and memorable. I want to remember myself too, beautiful and confident.
Of course I am a totally unimportant aspect of this occasion, but as I know every single guest is going to make a big effort to look absolutely stunning and fabulous, I too am equally pressed to ensure I too look the part. To be honest I’ve already bought a dress and quite expensive it is too, by my normal spending standards, (though it was actually half-price in a swish designer sale). My reason for pre-purchasing is that I thought I could then justify to myself the purchase of an expensive pair of shoes with a delicious bag to match nearer to the big date in September. Now I especially know that I should also buy some heavy-duty, hold-in everything, Spanx, or one of those new corsets from M&S that supposedly make you look like Kim Kardashian. But quite frankly I want to be fit and toned in case it’s stinking hot and I can’t bare the thought of unsexy clingy underwear. Now I realise 2 months is not long to completely change my look (well maybe not completely) but I’m going to have a go.
Already I don’t like the tops of my arms (of course). But the dress is sleeveless so that’s a challenge in itself. I’ve got the kettle bells, so I’m planning to get flicking those babies everyday and spinning them round my head. Then I’ll be doing box press-ups with my hands close together to get those triceps yelling ‘ouch!’ and repeatedly lifting weights to tone the biceps. This is going to take drive and focus and I’m not convinced I can so this on my own.
Fortunately I have a secret weapon: my friend, Helen Tite, owner of The Core. She’s my fitness guru. She’s already turned me from a lazy slob into a fanatic Pilates almost-expert and a grooving Zumba follower. The trouble is, whilst I have a ‘core ‘of steel, there’s a layer of flab over those hard abs. Now I’m looking for a quick-fix -that will hopefully melt the wobbly bits and get me happy and honed. So I’ll be doing a Bootcamp type outdoor class every Saturday at 9am, and whenever I can I’ll be getting myself to Pump and hopefully throwing in some Personal Training.
Then I need to look at my diet. To shift a few pounds I usually have to go hard on myself and give up all the goodies from tea and coffee to the vino and Prosecco, and suffer the insane headache that goes with the onset of this regime. Last time I tried it I went most peculiar in Sainsbury’s car park. My daughter thought I was having a stroke and I just drove into the side of a car. (Fortunately the owner said: “Don’t upset yourself too much, it’s only a ruddy Skoda!”) Anyway I think I’m going to brake myself into this gently. Drop the sugar, spuds and pasta and eat lean and fresh.
It’s quite obvious I am going to become a total bore over the next few weeks, but you know what, it’s worth it. There are going to be a lot of the 400 (yes really) guests that are going to have known me for a long time and I want them saying: “Doesn’t she look amazing”, not “Wow what happened to her!”……….And, if I do get complements I just might write another blog boasting about myself. So look out in mid-September.
1.Why did you decide to become a hairdresser?
My parents were hairdressers and my 3 older brothers became hairdressers too and truly I never considered doing anything else.
When I was 12 years old I started working in the salon with my father after school, at weekends and during the holidays and by the time I left school at 16 I was already qualified.
2.You have been “British Hairdresser of the Year” three times, how did you achieve that? Did you ever imagine that you would succeed so much?
I have worked hard to achieve what I have achieved. But I’ve also had a very strong team to support me. My brother Bruno continually pushed me and inspired me to push my artistry, and my wife, and makeup artist, Pat, has been at my side helping me develop ideas and create incredible imagery.
3.Have you styled the hair of many celebrities?
I have worked with many celebrities over the years, but as I have always travelled a lot, my main work has been with models. With celebrities, much of the time you are helping to create their vision for themselves, but when I am doing my own shoots with a model, I can design the hair, the image, the lighting and the overall concept. That is my favourite way to express myself.
4.You are a creative director, a hair stylist, a business man and a photographer. Which of these do you like the most?
I enjoy every aspect of my work, but I get the most pleasure from working on a creative project. This might be a show, a photo shoot or a creative project. It’s all about pushing yourself and creating new ways to express yourself.
5.From what sources do you find inspiration?
Inspiration comes from everywhere and it’s important to be open to ideas. It might be fashion from the catwalk or fashion that I see on the street worn by the experimental creative young people that you find in many cities –but particularly in London. It might be art –both classic and modern, the work of a photographer, a film, music or architecture or it might be an idea I get when travelling or having a conversation. The important thing is to be open to ideas.
When you’re a Twenty-something
“You can be experimental when you’re 21 but if your colour is going to work it’s still important that it enhances your skin tone and your hairstyle and works for your image and this should always be communicated to clients” Says Christel.“Pixie Lott’s pallid blonde tones really bring out her brown eyes and work with her youthful image. She’s a pop-star young girls want to identify with and her look is wearable and pretty.”
30 – somethings
“Fearne Cotton is ‘edgy and rock-chick’ but also pretty and feminine. She regularly changes the tone of her blonde – adding slices of colour to suit her mood…..She’s an experimental blonde and I like that, yet her look is accessible and her colouring easy to reference for anyone in their 20s or 30s.”
“Gwyneth Paltrow is the absolute in blonde chic: her hair is effortlessly beautiful and has pure, ‘clean’ colours. It shouts ‘expensive’ and is created to beautify, make hair look shiny and healthy and naturally blonde. Anyone would want her colour.”
Middle age? The Big 5 −0 and more.
“My ultimate blonde! Madonna has changed her blonde-ness over the years from harsh bleached blonde to a softer, more flattering tone – though I have to say, it hardly reflects her age. On stage her look is fierce and powerful, yet when shot off-stage, her hair is flattering and softens her skin tone. I like that.”