60’s 70’s 80’s Christchurch Hairdresser’s Reunion Party!

The recent October hairdresser’s reunion in Christchurch on Labour weekend was the perfect opportunity for many hairdressers past and present to reunite, catch up and celebrate numerous lifelong friendships and associations. The event was a night to remember sponsored by L’Oréal Professional Products and MC’d by their GM Gary Marshall. The event was hosted by Terralane Fay Briggs- Luscombe, Grahame Davis, Arna Topschij Mules and Antonio Fernandez.

The guests arrived to great retro sounds of 70’s and 80’s music with large screen slide show depicting images of guests, salons and hairdressers, fashion and hair through the decades. Mixing and mingling with many old friends and associates some from overseas with everyone laughing and joking. Many were very surprised to see each other after such a very long time in a great reunion atmosphere.

Gary Marshall spoke in depth of the historical trends and water shed moments of the hairdressing industry, the energy it produces with each new trend and its general influence in the fashion industry with the likes of Vidal Sassoon, Mary Quant as well as the contemporary and super creative avant garde hair artists.

Well-deserved honours were given to the many early hairdressing industry pioneers, individuals, salons and suppliers of the 1950s and 60s in New Zealand such as Leonardo, Fay and Ian Petrie’s Hairdressing College, Ron Vincent’s ‘Studio Vincent’ Salon, Beaths Salon’s Peter Mann, Esteban & Maureen Fernandez’s New York salon group Dunedin, Eelco Wiersma, Russell Hyslop Salons and star stylist Anthony Stuart, Margaret Yates Salons and salon product supplier Spencer L Ayrey.

Tribute was also given to a few salons past and present as there were too many to mention being a great testament to the vibrancy of the industry to this day. David Bradford Studio and Academies, Heavy Hair, Harlow Hair Group, Ian Nicholson, Antonio Fernandez and Grahame Davis partners in Trimmers Salon, Antonio Fernandez, Shayne Radford, Steven Braxton and David Hamilton’s Bananas & Guavas Wellington Salons, Ian and Jane Nicholson’s Strands also their Scissors and Nicolson’s Salons ,Brent Gibson and Mark Walker’s Clip Joint, Ritz Salon, Mr Snipps, Peter Mann Smile Salon, Grahame Davis’s Paul Davis Salon and Grahame Davis of Bliss Salon Christchurch, Bruno Barberrellis, Carl Watkins, Ruben Blades, Terralane Fay Briggs Luscombe’s Sahara and Cabana Hair Co. Reece and Michelle Williams of Progressive Salon Supplies.

Presentations were then made for the special L’Oréal lifetime achievement awards to hairdressing industry icons David Bradford, Peter Mann and Grahame Davis for excellence, creativity, mentoring, education and creation of opportunities for many stylists and for their overall dedication of and support of the industry in general.

It is appropriate to mention at this point that the genesis for many of New Zealand’s top hairdresser’s careers was David Bradford, his studio, salons and academies. David began his hairdressing career training at Fay and Ian Petrie’s Hairdressing College and also assisting top Swiss hairdresser Artur Visser who had come out to New Zealand for 12 months on a star tour. David then trained and worked with Beaths extraordinary Peter Mann and later David worked for the brilliant Ron Vincent at his ‘Studio Vincent’ salon in Lichfield Street. Excelling in New Zealand’s top hairdressing competitions at a young age and then opening his first salon at age 19yrs. Within a couple of years later buying Ron Vincent’s salon in Lichfield Street and by the age of 22 employed 20 stylists and apprentices working and training at the newly named David Bradford’s Studio.

Petrie’s International Hairdressing College was unfortunately razed in a major fire and David bought the name, client list and restarted it on the top floor of the David Bradford studio building in order to re-establish a prominent educational centre for the industry. Then two years later in 1974 Paula Ryan started her modelling agency on the second floor between the Salon and the academy. In the following 20 years David’s college trained over one thousand hairdressers for the industry with the in demand high quality six month courses.

A number of talented stylists started their career in the David Bradford salons between 1966 and 1976. Shane Radford, Antonio Fernandez, Steven Braxton, Diane Drake, David Hamilton, Terralane Briggs, Gary Mackie, Michelle Scott, Rhys Williams, Steven Black, Roger Campbell and many more.Great hairdressers who came to work in David’s salons at the time included Anthony Stuart, Grahame Davis, Sandy Andrews, Stewart Davis,Richard Edinburgh, Paul Davidson, Christine McLelland, Liz Creagh, Anne Niven, Wayne Birmingham and many more.

In 1969 David travelled to London and visited top hair shows and saw a selection of the best hairdressers demonstrations and hair work. Then returned viaOrange County, CaliforniawhereSue and Danny Rothery were at the forefront of the new cut and blow wave revolution that Vidal Sassoon started in London. Sue’s mother was Jean Orchard, a great teacher and hairdresser of an earlier generation.

Sue and Danny returned to live in Christchurch a year later inspiring the set up the first Heavy Hair Shop in White Hart Arcade in Victoria Street beside Barbara Lee’s first fashion boutique. Shane Radford, Antonio Fernandez and Steven Braxton were the first stylists there. Within a very short time it was wall to wall with clients and booked out solid for the next 3 years. The success was repeated in Wellington the following year when David opened another Heavy Hair at the Plimmer Emporium.

1974 David took 6 months off, went skiing and travelling in Britain and Europe. By this time he had established Heavy Hair shops in Queenstown, Christchurch and Wellington. David Bradford’s Studio and the International Hairdressing College were still operating with around 40 staff.Mid to late 70’s the Heavy Hair salons were rebranded to Harlow Hair Group and themed with Jean Harlow images. Further salons David opened were Broadwave in Hornby Mall and Dessange in Dunedin.

Many of the stylists who started or worked with David Bradford through the 1960s and 70s started their own successful salons in Christchurch, Wellington and throughout New Zealand. A good number of others went overseas. Many of them became very successful having long productive careers.

The reunion evening continued with marvellous L’Oréal hair care prize packages that were won by six ladies to enjoy. NAK also supplied best dressed ladies and best dressed man’s prizes that were very well received by the winners. The Pegasus Arms venue and crew were incredible looking after everyone in a perfect setting by the beautiful Avon River, in our dearly beloved Christchurch. Everybody revelled well into the night to Al Parks great live band, The Latter Day Sinners who were exceptional. Everyone enjoyed the fantastic company and much-loved music of the 70s and 80s. After all hairdressers love a good party and one was certainly had with many great friends on a night to remember!

By Antonio Fernandez