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Multi-award-winning bridal and celebrity hair designer Vicki Lord talks to Kelly Andrews

Up, up and away: Image 1 Multi-award-winning bridal and celebrity hair designer Vicki Lord talks to Kelly Andrews about creating the perfect up do silhouette, 2020 trends, and her top tips...

"I used to do my own hair as a child, and have been creating my own up styles from the age of five," Vicky says. She left school before the age of 16, and went to work in asalon where she learned that Vidal Sassoon was interviewing for apprentices. "Everyone told me I should go, but I said 'I can't do that!' I was just working at a little salon in Allington at the time." Nevertheless, her friends and family were persistent in their encouragement and eventually Vicki caved! She remembers, "I gathered all of my nearest and dearest together to model every hair-up style in my arsenal, and create aportfolio. The interview panel was impressed with what I'd put together, and told me they'd never had an apprentice produce anything like it before. Out of 50 candidates, I was one of only a handful to be given the opportunity to become an apprentice."
Following her time at Vidal Sassoon, Vicki became a freelance hairdresser, under taking further specialist training as she worked. She explains: "I did a hair extension course with Balmain and became one of their trainers. Later, I went on to become a regular session stylist, but hair-up has always been with me it's my passion."

The silhouette is everything
With a vast knowledge and 30 years of experience when it comes to creating innovative looks, nothing excites Vicki more than advocating the silhouette as a planning tool. “Hairdressers should understand shapes,” she explains, and continues, “We work with them all the time. When you’re learning to cut hair you’re taught how to consider face shapes, and I take the same ethos into my designs. I’m constantly thinking about the silhouette I’m creating. For example, those with a square jawline shouldn’t have anything at the sides of the face, as it’ll look wider than it is. Likewise, with oval face shapes wearing the hair high will overly elongate. So, the first thing I do with my brides is sit down and sketch out the dress with hair styles, thinking about the face shape and neckline.”

Up, up and away: Image 2 Keen to share her knowledge on this subject, Vicki regularly heads out on the road to some of the country’s biggest wedding fairs to talk to brides in person. She says, “So many brides have come to me with a Pinterest board of styles they like, and I have to say to them: ‘Hang on, look at your face shape then look at that picture again. Do you still like the style?’ I’ve been championing this idea for more than 20 years and I’ve tried to teach it to other hairdressers. It’s really important. In fact, I actually think brides should think about their hair before they choose their dress – say ‘yes’ to the hair! Think about it, if you have your heart set on wearing your hair down and nothing will sway you, you should be looking for a figure hugging dress or a fishtail design.”

Let's make it happen! 
“Fashion goes round and round in a circle. I look at the latest catwalk trends, but most of the time you become the trendsetter,” Vicki says when asked about her inspirations. She continues, “My muse is the bride herself. Seeing her dress and her wedding set-up – is it boho, contemporary, vintage? That’s what gives me my moodboard.” 
I asked Vicki to give us the inside track on the top wedding hair trend for 2020, something she’d already given a lot of thought to: “I’m noticing that dresses are becoming a lot sexier with a lot of deep V’s and low backs. With that in mind, I want to bring back a Mediterranean high-gloss look. There are so many undone styles, so I’d love to see some structure and creativity. Think Kim Kardashian and Audrey Hepburn with those sharp centre partings. It’s a timeless look that’ll never date.”

Career highs
As a session stylist Vicki has worked with celebrities from Jodie Kidd to Tess Daly, but one in particular gets the award for creating her most surreal moment. She tells us more: “I loved working with Macy Gray’s hair, it was so cool to make her look different, I did a mohawk on her. I had to stand in the wings while she was performing, ready to make any adjustments and as she came off stage she headed straight for me saying, ‘Hey Vicki how ya doin’? I love the frizz, you’ve done a massive job on the frizz, but aw man can ya take the grips out?’ So there I was, pulling out hair clips, when next thing I know, Macy Gray’s head is in my lap, I’m giving her a scalp massage, it doesn’t get weirder than that,

Up, up and away: Image 3 but it was my best moment."
Vicki’s favourite celeb client right now is Shona McGarty, otherwise known as Eastenders’ Whitney Dean. “I love giving her a red carpet look that’s the complete opposite to her on-screen character – something demure and classy,” she explains. Her ultimate dream of a client though would be the incomparable Lady Gaga. Why? “She’d wear my crazy sculptural hairpieces!She needs me in her life! It will happen one day,” she laughs.

Top tips 
If you’re trying to grow your hair for the big day, you’re not alone, but that doesn’t mean you should neglect your locks. Vicki says, “Regular trims are paramount. If you’re scared of having too much taken off, have your hair washed and straightened at the salon and just have the ends trimmed dry. “Use regular conditioning treatments. I’d highly recommend using Amika’s Soulfood once a week. Free of sulphates and parabens, it’s also vegan and cruelty free. Olaplex is also a great product and will improve the structure of your hair. I couldn’t live without my T3 heat styling products and Batiste Dry Shampoo either. “You might also want to think about clipins or extensions. I’m Balmain’s ambassador and love their products. I’d say 90 per cent of brides, models and celebrities will have hairpieces in. No one has that much hair! If you’ve got a big dress you need big hair or you’re going to end up with a bridesmaid’s do and you’re the one who needs to stand out.”

Up, up and away: Image 4 Girl power
Vicki launched her own fresh and contemporary hair salon in Canterbury, Kent in the spring of 2019, where she and her talented team specialise in their own fields including cutting, styling, colouring, hair extensions, hair up and, of course, bridal. "We have the bridal suite and academy upstairs and the salon downstairs, as well as Kent's very first braiding bar." The multi-award-winning hairdresser says she now wants to inspire others: "I really want to drive my academy forward. Plus, in the future I'd love to have my own chain of salons, and launch a range of hair extensions and products. Who knows what the future holds?" A newly single mum of a 10-year-old and a 15-year-old Vicki is determined to be a positive role model for her children: "I've gone through an emotional rollercoaster and I've come out the other end thinking 'I can do this, and I will do this.' Women are stronger than we think we are. Work-life balance is hard, but there are more important things than dirty dishes. Lifeis for living!"

Find out more at www.vickilordhair.com