John Vial, hairdresser extraordinaire, is a whizz with the scissors and his blow dries will turn you from drab to fab in an instant.
He honed his skills at Vidal Sassoon and rose up the ranks to be creative director, a post he held for over 12 years. He is now regarded as one of the industry’s greats.
Known for his creative prowess, John has impeccable styling credentials having worked backstage for some of the most prestigious brands on the planet including Hermès and Narciso Rodriguez. He has also worked with the likes of Annie Leibovitz and Rankin.
What, in my opinion, makes John a genius is that he looks at you as an individual and gets your hair type in seconds. He would never, unlike some stylists, give you a cut or style that is not suitable for you. He calls a spade a spade and tells you what your hair can or cannot do. His passion about hair comes shining through.
I was over the moon when I heard that he had opened a salon near to where I live, tucked away around the corner from Chelsea’s Sloane Square. Salon Sloane as it is called, is nicely decorated and well-laid out. It has a sophisticated ambience injected with a warm and intimate feel.
It is a joint venture with Belle Cannan, another highly-respected hairdresser, whom I first met at Nicky Clarke’s. Belle also started out life at Vidal Sassoon. She and John, in 2003, helped to put Real Hair, another Chelsea salon on the map.
John looked at my hair and asked how I liked to wear it. “Straight,” I replied. “Do you mean straight or smooth,” he replied. “Remember, I came from Vidal Sassoon so straight to me means Japanese straight.”
I asked him which way he thought would suit be better. The answer was Japanese straight as he felt that ends turned under were not modern.
“Hair now should look natural not forced,” he said. “Even if you have to blow-dry it first and then put in texture. It is the equivalent of the no make-up look. You might look as if you are not wearing anything but you have used a lot of products.”
Colour now, according to John is super muted and flat. “There is no warmth in it,” he added. It should look as if it has not been coloured.”
John credited the Japanese YS Park G1 Curl Shine Styler Hair Brush (from £53.36, amazon.co.uk) he used for doing the work, though I doubt that. It might make life easier but the skill is in how you blow-dry and John would be an ace at that whatever brush he used.
I looked amazing when he finished, that was until I got caught in the rain. I was devastated to think all that fantastic work had been wasted. When I got home, I bumped into my neighbour who could not stop raving about my hair. “I just got caught in the rain,” I replied. “Look in the mirror,” she said. To my utter astonishment, my lovely locks were still poker straight. Not one bit of frizz in sight. It was a miracle or should I say John is a miracle.
Even if you cannot get John or Belle, you know whoever you go to will be trained to an exceptionally high standard. This is not just another hair salon, it is a game-changer.
By Daralyn Danns
For more information visit www.salonsloane.com