As Style Director of Daniel Galvin, StyleNest talks to renowned stylist James Galvin to find out what it’s like to work in a family business and finding inspiration on the streets of London.
Honouring the family name with 22 years of commitment at the legendary Daniel Galvin salon, James Galvin gives StyleNest his top tips for summer and shares his secret spots of London.
Living up to the Galvin reputation, James is the go-to stylist amongst celebrities, Londoners and even us StyleNester’s. With patience and years of practice, James is a stylist so trustworthy that you can walk into the salon blindfolded and be confident you will come out looking transformed.
Your great grandfather was a hairdresser, your father, Daniel Galvin and both your brother and sister are hairdressers. Hairdressing is obviously in your blood. Do you think you were always destined to go into the family trade?
In spite of the fact that hairdressing seemed like an obvious path for me, I originally rebelled against it. From the time that I finished college I worked in the salon sweeping the floor, making the coffee and supporting the staff. I always loved the atmosphere of the salon but I also had a passion for motorsports which I wanted to explore. For two years in a row I won sponsorships to race professionally and did really well. But, by the end of these two scholarships I was 22 and decided that it wasn’t going to be a sustainable career. I returned to the salon but, having explored my passion, I had much more drive to succeed and I threw myself into hairdressing. I’ve been here 22 years now and love it more and more every year.
Your father is the go-to colourist and your sister took on that tradition, what made you decide to become a stylist?
My mum and my Uncle Joshua were both stylists and really inspired me to look into this side of the industry rather than colouring, the path which my brother and sister had already followed before me. I had a natural ability in styling – I love starting a haircut and watching a shape evolve section by section. For me, working with my hands with only a pair of scissors and a comb makes it such a creative and personal experience.
You have two little girls and you are very much a family business. Have your little one’s shown any interest on taking on the tradition?
At the moment it doesn’t look like it…a couple of years ago my youngest daughter, Leni-Mae, who is 9, wanted to be a part-time hairdresser and part-time tattoo artist and my oldest daughter, Liliana, who is 13, wants to be an actress.
Can you clue any StyleNest readers in on any exciting projects you might be working on?
Within the next year we’re really busy – we’re hoping to expand the business and develop some more products and, of course, we’re continuously thinking up new techniques.
Your salon is in the heart of Marylebone. Where are your favourite haunts in this area? Best places to shop / eat / drink?
Marylebone is fantastic and it just keeps getting better & better. In terms of food – Natural Food Store, Ginger Pig and the Fromagerie are fabulous independent stores. I love The Kooples for clothes and Le Relais de Venise is amazing for a good steak, fries and a glass of red wine.
What hair trends are going to be big next year and how can our readers incorporate them into their everyday routine?
Fringes remain a big thing, longer layers are feminine and elegant and slightly blunter ends are going to give women a bit of an edge.
What can we expect to see from you in 2013?
I’ve been involved in a few TV projects and done the odd bit of editorial, but most of the time I’m here working on the salon floor with my regular (and sometimes irregular) clients.
We love the atmosphere of the salon, stylish and sophisticated yet always relaxed and friendly. How would you define the ethos of the salon and what makes your salon different to others?
In spite of our size we very much see ourselves as a local salon and many of our clients have been coming in since we opened our doors on George Street 35 years ago. We’re a family run business and many of our staff have been here for decades. We have an internal training scheme, which lasts three years where everyone is instructed up to the same high standard.
With the summer approaching, what’s the best way to avoid dry and damaged hair?
Unfortunately, the worst combination for hair is salt, sun and chlorine as it strips the colour out and dries out your hair.
– Try to keep your head covered as much as possible – use a summer hat or a hair mask.
– When you have been in the swimming pool or sea, make sure that you rinse out the water after you get out and then cover the hair with a protection mask or milk.
– Stay away from acidic products as they give blonde an orangey hue.
– Fill your vanity case with summer appropriate hair products. We recommend the Kérastase Soleil range, made specifically for hair in the sun, sea and chlorine.
Where do you get your inspiration?
I take my inspiration from fashion, music and above all, the London street vibe. I basically use all these influences and then tailor-make styles for each client.
Client trust is a fundamental part of hairdressing. How do you go about achieving that?
Basically the most important thing about an appointment is the consultation. To create a perfect hairstyle a hairdresser really needs to be able to understand the client’s lifestyle. You have to talk to clients’ on a very personal level to be able to create the look that they or I envisage.
You have worked for publications like Elle and Vogue as well as leading the hairstyling team on Britain & Irelands Next Top Model. How do you ensure you don’t get swept up in the showbiz world?
To be truthful, it’s really not very showbiz. Of course, there are aspects of the industry that are glamorous but no one should be too high-and-mighty to sweep a floor or pick up a towel. We all started in the same place. I also have a wife who keeps me in the right frame of mind and two beautiful daughters who we have to keep grounded too. Primadonnas aren’t welcome in our household.
Where do you feel most at home working?
In George Street. I’ve had 22 years amongst a really fantastic team with a host of really interesting clients.
You have had such a successful career as well as a beautiful family. What would you say is your proudest moment?
The births of my daughters who bring so much happiness into my world.
What advice would you give women who want a dramatic hair change? Colour or cut?
Firstly, don’t make any dramatic decisions if you’re in an emotional place. I have many women who come to me looking for a change because they’ve just split up with their partner and I always advise not to rush. But if you definitely want this change pull out pictures of the style you’re looking for – it makes it so much easier for the hairdresser to get a strong vision of the look you’re going for. And also make a decision as to what you want the look to say about you; do you want to stand out? Do you want it to be low or high maintenance? And if you’re making your dramatic change at a new salon, make sure you go to the salon on the back of a recommendation so that the trust is there.
Can you give us some quick-fix tips for those dreaded “bad hair days”?
Dry shampoo is a must, pony tails never go out of fashion and sea salt spray adds texture to boring, lifeless hair.
What are your hair secrets?
Focus on the 3 Cs of hairdressing: To make the best of our hair we need to concentrate our efforts on Colour, Cut AND Condition.
For more information or to book an appointment with the legendary James Galvin, visit www.danielgalvin.com.