Meet Kathy Gilbert and Mark Jones, co-owners of Crown Hair in Darlinghurst Sydney.
Mark is an expert cutter and Kathy truly appreciates the relationship between colour and texture... An infusion of partners made in heaven.
It’s hard to pinpoint just where we began, because we’ve known each other and worked together on and off for around 20 years. If pressed, we might say it started with a quiet after work drink at the Albury in the 90's.
MJ : Back then I was cutting at Garland and Garland in Paddington, which was raw and loud and outrageous, and Kathy was a colourist up at Antony Whitaker in Woollahra - very stylish and polished. Very different places, but what they had in common was a real wealth of experience.
KG : They were exciting and innovative places to be. And it grew from there…
Since those heady days, we have honed our crafts at some of Sydney’s edgiest and most beautiful hairdressing salons. Our paths crossed and crossed again as we grew into our careers, and in 2011 we knew it was time to do our own thing. We are proud to lead our polished team of professionals. At Crown Hair we have created the sort of place we want to work in, and that our clients love.
IF : Tell us what you think is the biggest challenge in hairdressing today.
KG : Recently there has been a definite move towards longer hair. This has created the associated problems of people not wanting their hair trimmed regularly because they are growing their hair longer. The area of individuality is now based around hair colour and hairstyling.
This is exciting for Colourists but creates the greatest challenge. It is how to keep the condition and integrity of the hair through colour changes, and the secondary issues created from the effects of using heat tools for styling changes. Long hair is old hair that has a lot of history and needs all the help it can get. Iles meets that brief for us.
IF : What’s the most enjoyable part of your job?
KG : Making hair colour beautiful! I like being able to show people they can have not only beautiful hair, but beautiful coloured hair.
MG : I love making people happy and feel good about themselves.
IF : Why did you choose the path of hairdressing and was it easy to fall into this work?
KG : Originally I didn’t choose hairdressing, I chose to leave school. In the city of Melbourne where I lived there were a lot of cool hair salons doing some great hair. An apprenticeship looked interesting because it was the time of the Vidal Sassoon revolution.
After completing my apprenticeship at 20, I left hairdressing for 8 years and then made a choice to come back as a Colourist, which was where I had the most interesting training in my apprenticeship. I chose to go back to a salon where there was a Colour specialist, with a view to become the best Colourist I could become. I realized I loved the collaborative aspect of working side by side with great haircutters.
MJ : Back when I started, hairdressing was very cool and graphic in the time of the 80’s. I loved that hair was sculpted and strong (Grace Jones was a huge influence at the time). I was lucky to find a small team of highly trained hair stylists in London that were connected to the fashion industry.
IF : If you had not made the decision to be a hairdresser, what would you have been?
KG : I would have been a milliner or a nurse.
MJ : If my Dad had his way, I would have been a plumber.
IF : What is your greatest strength?
KG : My greatest strength is my interest in knowing people.
MJ : My greatest strength is to question.
IF : Your favourite hairdressing tools?
KG : Tint brushes because good tools make it possible to achieve the best results. Tint brushes are to a colourist like a hair brush is to a stylist, for me personally. My favourite by far are Framar International. I also love YS Park Combs and clips, and the new Dyson Hair Dryer is one of my new favourite hairdressing tools. It leaves the hair fibre smooth and the quality of the hair is impeccable. It doesn’t burn or blast hair.
MJ : My hands and my eyes.
IF : Tell us about your relationship with Iles Formula. How did you discover us and which formula is your favourite?
KG : We were introduced to Iles through a boutique distributor called Morph Hair that meets our philosophy. Crown Hair is holistic, in our approach to hair care where hair quality and integrity is a primary factor in beautiful hair and we felt that the Iles Formula was a product that matches that ethos.
MJ : I also heard about Iles through a good friend of mine (Val Garland) talking about it and of course Wendy being Australian made it all the more special. I love the Haute Performance Finishing Serum.
IF : What was the most challenging job you made?
MJ : One of my most challenging jobs was to shave 3 guys from a Russian punk band with a pink ladies razor. That’s all I had, and wasn’t the brief at all. Needless to say, it was hilarious.
IF : What was your worst hair moment and why?
KG : I had a client return to Australia from India, and whatever had bonded to her hair whilst she was there caused a chemical reaction. It was very alarming to notice smoke coming from her foils. It should go without saying that the foils were removed immediately.
MJ : After pleading with my client to please take her pearls off for cutting a very sharp bob using very sharp scissors, she told me she never took them off. Of course, the sound of pearls dropping onto tiled floors was very depressing…
IF : If you could style anyone’s hair, who would it be and why?
MJ : Two people that spring to mind are Salvador Dali and Sigmund Freud. Both of them needed Iles Formula Haute Performance Finishing Serum, but how good would the conversation be!
IF : Where do you pull inspiration from?
KG : I take hair inspiration from the world I live in; nature and the art world both provide a great source of inspiration. Instagram is also a bountiful source of inspiration!
MJ : Hair inspiration to me is all about seeing what’s going on around me. I am all about texture and movement.
IF : Your advice to hairdressers starting out?
KG : My greatest piece of advice to young hairdressers is to be excited about learning, and there are so many areas of knowledge. Hairdressing is multifaceted; skill, technique, aesthetic and interpersonal relationships. These are all really important aspects to hairdressing that you will constantly be developing.
MJ : Be open, listen to your clients and more importantly get inspired.
Thank you Kathy Gilbert and Mark Jones, we loved your interview and certainly you had us smiling at some of your worst hair moments in life.
187 BOURKE STREET
T/ +612 9331 7771