The Forum talks with Guy Kremer

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Multi award winning, celebrity hairdresser Guy Kremer invites me into his beautiful Hampshire home and apologies profusely for ‘the mess’. Yet strewn over the enormous dining table is not a mess but the representation of a many faceted man.

There is a pile of ‘get well’ cards from his many friends, which he assures me will all be answered. Guy has spent six weeks recovering from major back surgery and has spent the time ‘getting his life in order’- his personal papers in neat piles. Items from his collection of crystal adorn the table, sideboard and windowsill along with all manner of objet d’arte, but perhaps most telling is Guy’s own artwork, his brushes have only just been laid down.

“If it was not for my painting I would have gone crazy these last six weeks! I am passionate about Picasso and Chagall so my paintings are often copies of their works. I would fill my house with Chagall if I could!”

He proudly shows me a large note in which, in between Guys own artwork, are countless written messages of love and thanks from his celebrity clients from the world of fashion, music and stage many of whom are now friends. The items on the table are indicative of his personality and life. “I am a Leo- a creative- I love to keep busy.”

Guy’s love of hair was borne from watching his mother’s being styled, which led to him becoming fascinated with the endless possibilities of styling hair. By fourteen he had started a hairdressing apprenticeship, came to England at the age of twenty one and opened his first salon in Winchester at the age of twenty four. “I was drawn to Winchester forty five years ago, I love small cites with a real sense of history and beautiful architecture. It makes me feel connected, not only to the place but also to history itself and my part in it.”

What is beauty to Guy?
“It can be any thing at any time; Flowers, art, nature. Even these Versace coffee cups” Guy has made coffee in cups that are delicate and exquisite. “It is ever changing, as a creative person I find beauty everywhere. It’s about what you see and about what you feel.”

Does he think fashion is always beautiful?
“Not always no, it is constantly changing. What I like to wear one season I may not like the next. In terms of hair, it is not about fashion so much as creating an individual look for my client”.

Guy Kremer’s reputation is global. When he’s not working at his Winchester salon he is travelling the world giving educational seminars, shows and working with celebrity clients. He also writes a regular column for Style Speak magazine. He has also developed the Guy Kremer hair product range.

To what does he attribute his phenomenal success?
“Hard work for sure! I do remember in the very early part of my career a woman said to me ‘Yes, but you are only a hairdresser’; that was the biggest insult of my life. Those words have stayed with me and driven me on. She did not realise that to be a hairdresser is to be a creative, an artist, to be inspired everyday. You have to eat, sleep and breathe hairdressing – give yourself to it- it’s not simply a job.

I was lucky to be on The Style Challenge television program and from there I regularly appeared in The Times, Telegraph and Express – television opened a lot of doors for me. Yet in a way I was so busy I didn’t realise I was becoming ‘famous’ if you like. I remember the first time I was asked for my autograph, I thought they were joking! My mother told me never to get above myself and I never have. I cannot abide snobbery and conceit.”

I wonder what inspires Guy to create such amazing and beautiful hairstyles?
“I love the 1950’s. Everything so tailored and perfect, people really bothered with their appearance, they had a total image. British hairdresser Vidal Sassoon and French hairdresser Alexande de Paris were hugely inspirational.”

Being In such high demand how does Guy consult
with a new client?

“Consultation is so important, as is psychology. If a client arrives with a photograph it is a starting point. You are able to begin to understand how they would like to be seen. But you have to adapt according to the type of hair the client has, the shape of the face, the colour and skin tone. Also what they like and dislike about their hair as it is and how they are able manage their hair themselves.”

“During this process you get a feel for the personality, how confident they are and how they hold and present themselves. All these things are important when you are creating an individual look for a client. The very best reward is when a client turns to you and says ‘I love it’.”

It is said that hairdressers are like counselors, Does Guy agree?
“Yes absolutely. Trust and confidentiality are key. Sadly, I have seen many clients go through breast cancer treatment, which has inspired me into doing charitable work for Breast cancer and Leukemia research. I often style hair for charity fashion shows with the Alresford based Moda Rosa and work with Sally Taylor for the Haven Trust. It’s a fantastic way for me to give back.”

With all the beautiful art objects Guy owns, which things couldn’t live without?
“Ah easy! My hands, my scissors, my best friends and my dogs!”

What next for Guy Kremer?
“I am so excited about returning to work after six weeks – I can’t wait to get back! Our Colour Director, JC, is opening a salon in Lymington under the Guy Kremer brand and is using all Guy Kremer products, so I am supporting that franchise. I have never wanted to own a chain of salons, as I say – I am happy in Winchester!”

“Also, a close friend will be opening a Lifestyle Café adjoining the salon which is incredibly exciting for us all.”

GG