25 April 2024

The genius of Trevor Sorbie celebrates 50 years of hairstyling

In 2014, the Grand Master, Trevor Sorbie, celebrates both his 65th birthday as well as 50 years in the hairdressing industry.

And the first man ever to win British Hairdresser of the Year is forging ahead like never before! Trevor began working with his father after leaving school at 15 with no qualifications. He worked there for 5 years, and then left to take a six-month course at the Richard Henry School of Hairdressing. In 1972 shortly after graduating, he landed a job at Vidal Sassoon in London. Here Trevor pioneered the new geometric look sported by style icons such as Mary Quant and Mia Farrow, clients were pop stars, models and society girls. Vidal Sassoon quickly made Sorbie his Artistic Director, with clients like Rex Harrison and Paul McCartney.

Four times winner of British Hairdresser of the Year, Trevor was also the first hairdresser to be awarded an MBE from the Queen. His investment in talent and encouragement of his protégés is demonstrated in some of the huge hairdressing icons who have developed their careers thanks to his input: Eugene Souleiman, Antoinette Beenders, Angelo Seminara, Sally and Jamie Brooks and current Artistic Director Johanna Cree Brown.

Trevor currently heads 4 salons and his products are known throughout the world and his artistic team is in constant demand for shoots and shows. Trevor’s own passion now focuses on his My New Hair charity, cutting wigs for cancer patients and campaigning and educating across both the hair and medical professions.

Trevor comments of three of his most legendary styles:


By the mid 70s, London’s fashion scene was exploding. Sassoon has revolutionised women’s hairdressing by re-inventing the bob. Before that, hair had been worn up, either in bouffants or beehives, but the loose flat hair of the Sassoon era signalled a new beginning. I joined Sassoon’s and my big break came when I created a haircut, which I called the Wedge. This was the first hairdressing picture to be published as a double-page spread in Vogue magazine. Seeing my work in print was inspirational. The Wedge captured the spirit of the time and was flaunted in nightclubs around the world. I now understood the power of invention. If I could achieve this once, then surely I could do it again…”


“During this period, I was a stylist at the John Frieda salon. His method of finishing at that time was finger drying. It was a great technique but took ages. One day I was extremely busy; I had three clients waiting, and was under a great deal of pressure. My next client had thick, red, porous, wavy hair and, of course, she wanted it finger-dried. Because of the backlog of clients, I asked her if I could speed up the process by adding heat. I found that by taking a handful of hair, squeezing it in my hand and applying heat, then allowing the hair to cool, I could create volume. I realised that I had inadvertently discovered a new method of drying. I experimented using this technique on all types and lengths of hair. Each time, even on the finest hair, I achieved incredible results, adding volume and texture I’d never seen before. Thus, scrunch drying, perhaps my greatest invention, was born…”


Punk was a generation of young people who were anti-establishment. Their hair was an aggressive statement of their feelings. It was a glorious celebration of youth and it inspired me because it was the opposite of everything that was happening at the time. I took my inspiration from the streets and turned it around. Instead of allowing hair to lie flat, I made it stand out. Instead of blunt cutting, I razor cut to create texture. Instead of applying colour all over, I applied it to just the ends. It was an experiment, combining all these techniques that created the Wolfman, which I presented at the World Hairdressing Congress Show at the Royal Albert Hall in London.”


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