Gary Gill - elysium.e Interview

Freelance Hairstylist. GARY GILL

Editorial @ Glass. American Vogue. Esquire. (etc.)

" I think I offer honesty, humility and integrity with my styling "

As is typically the case, a craftsman/woman is only as good as the training they undergo. So far as internationally renowned hairstylist Gary Gill is concerned, stints at the acclaimed Toni & Guy and Vidal Sassoon academies seemlessley flourished into an ongoing session styling career. A career that proceeds a period of owning the reputed London salon 'Monroe Hairdressing' where Gary currently pushes aesthetic appeal as the Creative Director of the award-winning team.

With an esteemed back catalogue of works within the pages of American Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, GQ Style, Vanity Fair and I-D, Gary regularly rubs shoulders with the hefty industry names. Also offering his qualified aptitude for hair collaborating with the fledgling trend-setters that embellish such fresh publications as Glass, Wallpaper, Volt and 125.

Gary’s style has been described as undone, effortless, and natural with an edge of absolute raw beauty. Currently based in London, Gary continues to rapidly build a comprehensive portfolio. With such a hectic schedule we enthusiastically snatched a 10 minute window, during which we discussed hair training, Elvis Presley and American convicts (naturally)...

*Glass Magazine _ Hair&Grooming: Gary Gill _ Photography: Neil Kirk _ Stylist: David Nolan _

ElysiumEditorial: Ex-Salon owner, competition aficionado, session hairdresser, show stylist, make-up maestro, creative director etc. Where are you currently focusing your talents?

GaryGill: My Talents are focused on Men’s hair and grooming, Women’s session hair and industry education

EE: We adored your recent editorial stint for _ Glass Magazine. A set of visuals that illustrate a subtly manipulated quiff, tailored to sit in conjunction with a military wardrobe, a safe set of staples occasionally highlighted with a modern texture. Would you kindly explain the way in which you approached the aesthetic achieved in the set?

GG: I used a book called 'Least Wanted,' I love the images that come from this book. They are all images from NYC police dept in the 50s and 60s & have a certain military feel to them that reminds me of images of soldiers enlisted into the army

EE: As you develop beside your editorial career, we wondered what has to date been your most inspiring shoot?

GG: Two shoots spring to mind as the most inspirational to date, one was a shoot I did with Photographer Gerald Jenkins for 125 Magazine called 'Poor Cow' and the other is a menswear shoot I did with Neil Kirk for Glass Magazine called, 'Life is a Waking Dream'

EE: Glass, Volt, 125 : American Vogue, Harpers Bazaar, ID / London Graduate Fashion Week : Louis Vuitton, your scope of creative contribution is vast. We assume aiding fledgling talents is a passion of yours?

GG:I love working with new younger creatives of all types, it certainly keeps me on my toes

EE: Your work is well documented as being ‘undone, effortless & natural’ in its appearance. We assume it’s important that your creations are relatively accessible?

GG: Yes accessible, but also raw and undone, I love the feel that models could have done their own hair, it feels honest

*Hair&Grooming: Gary Gill _ Make-up: Julie Jacobs _ Photography: Neil Gavin _ Stylist: David Nolan _

EE: Though you might achieve a natural image of raw beauty, we’re well aware such a picture of effortlessness is typically a testing task, what product is your current go-to aid?

GG: Yes creating that undone look is actually quite difficult to achieve on film, one of my favourite products is 'Perfect Setting' by Wella Professionals

EE: Due to its very nature, hair is so incredibly fine and ‘fiddly,’ does manipulating such a canvas require a healthy store of calm and a patient hand? If so, is this a trade viable to a select person, or is this craft entirely inclusive to beginners?

GG: I think it takes a long time to become calm and assured when you do hair, especially under pressure. Constant education is essential, knowledge = confidence, when you have confidence you can do the most fiddly discipline’s with complete ease

EE: Such exquisite movement can be optimized through the hair, a sense of lightness often impossible to match through fabric – we assume this fluidity maintains priority in an editorial sense? Or do you find that the hair is often styled as an afterthought to the wardrobe?

GG: A feel of natural movement is imperative to an editorial, I do find I have a strong idea of what I want to achieve with the hair relative to the wardrobe, but as with all creative things, it becomes a process

EE: Whom do you aspire to style, is there an individual that seems to optimise the way in which you approach and present your hair?

GG: I would like to style some real movie stars like Scarlett Johansen and Robert de Niro. I would have loved to have gotten my hands on Elvis Presley's hair

EE: You have been gifted a ‘Visionary Award’ by the ‘Alternative Hair Show.’ Such esteemed praise would see many a creator become coy and ultimately hesitant to accept such a title. What do you feel you offer to the industry?

GG: I think I offer honesty, humility and integrity with my styling


EE: An imperative figure in the industry was once quoted as saying, ‘if you have a sense of style and purpose and a will you don’t want to compromise. You must always do what you feel is right.’ Would you agree, is there such a thing as a healthy dose of creative stubbornness?

GG: Yes I do agree with that, but all creativity is subjective. There are odd occasions when I listen and compromise my direction, though this has always been the correct decision and I'm always glad of this alteration. Similarly there have been times when I have said this has to be my way, its important to know when to say 'NO'

*Previously Unpublished _ Hair: Gary Gill _ Make-up: Natsumi Watanabe _ Photography: Daniel O'Connell _ Stylist: Harris Elliott _

EE: That same figure was also vocal about his work ethic, claiming ‘creating beautiful hair is not just my job; it’s my way of life.’ A little melodramatic perhaps, does work always trump play?

GG: If you want to work at a high level within the industry, yes you have to be prepared to give up a lot. Work comes first 95% of my time, hair at this level is definatly my way of life

EE: Speaking of boundless creativity causing a stir in the industry, who would you site as the hair counterpart to Phoebe Philo of Celine?

GG: Eugene Souleiman has always been the best in my eyes, James Pecis is currently causing a stir

EE: On the catwalks this AW2012 we’ve seen a strong emphasis on a centre parting, healthy looking hair slicked back into an achievable ponytail. In an industry hectic with creative thoughts, what looks do you personally see gaining momentum on the street?

GG: I see the fringe coming back and styles that have a nod to the 70s

EE: Would you be so kind as to attach an image _ related to hair or random _ that best represents the direction the industry is currently heading?

*Gary believes that long locks will be prevalent in the not so distant future of Mens Hair _

EE: For anyone currently reading this text and considering the industry as a potential career route, do you have any stellar advice to impart?

GG: Assist the right people, give it all you have and never think you’re too good, always leave room for improvement

& FINALLY _ (*cue the playful, slightly off-kilter questions)

EE: After your work, what is your best talent?

GG: Being a good at DIY

EE: If someone was to write your biography, what would you think the title should be?

GG: 'He is Not What You Think'

Elysium(E): A place or state of perfect happiness – When are you at your happiest?

GG: At home with my girlfriend eating good food and watching a movie

*Hair: Gary Gill _ Make-up: Julie Jacobs _ Photography: Michael Labica & Sandrine Dulermo _ Stylist: Neil Stuart _ Model: Lily Cole _

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