Move over Fab Four! Merseyside’s new top trio triumphed at The Coterie Liverpool

by | Oct 15, 2019 | Partnership, The Coterie

From being backstage at London Fashion Week to working on a tropical island for seven weeks with Leonardo DiCaprio, last night’s (October 14) Coterie gathering brought together a trio of stars from across the hair industry to discuss their journeys with our VERY FIRST Liverpool audience for the final Coterie of the year.

Hosted by Creative HEAD deputy editor Deborah Murtha, a 75-strong crowd came together as Nick Irwin, Paddy McDougall and Nicola Clarke delved deep into their career history to share invaluable insight and advice, along with some serious name drops along the way.

First up on the floor was the dynamic duo of Paddy McDougall, winner of The It List It Guy 2018 award, and his mentor Nick Irwin, a renowned session stylist. As a firm believer in supporting young talent, Nick has worked with Paddy on several projects, including shoots for Hunger magazine. For Nick, giving the next generation the opportunity to assist is “about giving back – the moral compass. I want to give people the opportunities I had. If you help enough people to get what they want, you get what you want.”

As a frequent globe-trotter over the years, styling shoots and shows as part of Toni&Guy’s Art Team and as TIGI’s former global creative director, Nick’s passion for the industry has remained unwavering through his determination to keep achieving career milestones. He said: “I still have the same drive and hunger as I did when I was an apprentice. It never leaves you. When I reach a goal, I think, what’s the next thing I want to do? I’m not scared to fail, there’s always something else to reach for.” Partially joking, Nick added: “my wife thinks I have two marriages – one with her and one with hair.”

In between his incredible projects, does Nick ever take the time to unwind?  He said: “Working in fashion – as well having all the disciplines in hair, you need to know your references from the start. It becomes less about the hair – it’s about everything around it, the bigger picture. My evenings are spent with my head in a book. It’s my hobby, my passion. I love the details. And I’m strict on this with my assistants.”

Likewise, as a blossoming talent on the session circuit, Paddy has assisted the likes of Duffy backstage at Fashion Week, but it hasn’t always been easy. “I was always interested in fashion, but I made the mistake of listening to people saying I couldn’t do it, living in Glasgow. But I gave it a go – and got an opportunity to work with Johnnie Sapong. That was my first session experience.”

Alongside his work in the session world, Paddy also spends his time at Glasgow salon group, Rainbow Room International. On this he said: “I love my work at the salon – the interaction with clients. But session – fashion – every day is an education.”

Back in 2014 Nick made the decision to go solo, leaving behind his role at TIGI in order to pursue his session career. Though not an easy decision to make, Nick is clear this this was the right choice, sharing that “six years ago, I was on the board at TIGI – and I wanted a change. But when I left, I was really nervous; I was giving it all up for one thing: editorial. We’d left behind the money, the security, but I was in my mid-40s and thought, it’s now or never. It would be too much to say I cultivate my future, but nothing is left to chance.”

Since then, Nick has gone on to form a  long-standing collaborative relationship with photographer Rankin, racking up high-profile covers and campaign credits. For this creative duo, it all began back in the ’90s, when both worked on a shoot with Anthony Mascolo for an iconic Dazed cover. “It was Anthony who introduced me to Rankin – it was a very important moment in my career. Guido was with us [at Toni&Guy] at the time; there was so much energy and so many influences around us. It’s a time I will always cherish.”

In more recent years, Nick and Rankin also worked on a shoot for Hunger Magazine, which still remains one of Nick’s favourite projects today. He said: “It was about 10 years ago. It’s hard to shoot the back of a head – I wanted to do something different. It was the time when Instagram first blew up – emojis were everywhere! Rankin currently has an exhibition in Italy – and this image is on big billboards all over Milan!”

Aside from working with Rankin, Nick also credited Anthony Mascolo for encouraging his creativity right from the start, as he “never put the reins on – he’s a great creative leader. I try to manage young people in the same way.”

Despite his young age, through constant support from the likes of Nick, Paddy has already racked up credits including Marni, Topshop Unique and Louis Vuitton – plus, he’s been named global ambassador for Indola. Prior to being chosen for the role, Paddy said: “I learned as much as I could about the brand – then brought my own style. They liked it. I’ve just shot a third campaign. I have a set vision for my work and I’m keen to bring that to the brand.”

When it comes to finding creative vision, Paddy believes that “there isn’t a moment, it’s a constant process.” He recalls his first shoot with Indola, which was shoot on location in the streets of Barcelona to showcase new colour trends for the season ahead. He said: “shooting this way is Indola’s USP – everything should be transferable. It’s fashion, but it’s not crazy.”

One particular shoot Nick and Paddy worked on together was ‘Misfits’, in collaboration with Rankin for Hunger magazine. An ode to the youthful rebels of the 1960s and beyond, the shoot was created to celebrate the next big names in hairdressing. On this, Nick said: “you pass on the gauntlet if you like, and you maybe see that thing that he [Anthony Mascolo] saw in me, in Paddy.” Featuring beehives, messy bobs and Jane Birkin-esque fringes, when creating the shoot “casting was the most important part” in the process for Nick. As for more joint projects in the future, this dynamic duo agreed “it’s an ongoing thing.” Nick added: “I feel like we collaborate all the time.”

From one rising star in the colour world, to the lady responsible for colouring the tresses of Hollywood starlets around the world – it’s of course the incredible Nicola Clarke. Having previously spoken at The Coterie in Leeds in 2016, Nicola joined us in Liverpool to lift the lid on her incredible career.

Taking it back to her early career, Nicola recalled how she has “been doing this since I was 13. I hassled my local salon in Essex for a job, then fresh out of school at 15, I started working full time for Robert Wright at The Berkley Hotel – I did every job there, learnt everything I could and finished my training but what I really loved was colour. At the time I was obsessed with Vivienne Westwood and Sam McKnight was doing the hair in the late 80s/early 90s, it was my dream to meet him and work for him.”

Little did she know that years later she would have the opportunity to assist Sam across Fashion Week, working on shows every season in between her work with celebrity clientele. Nicola also shared how the first time she met Sam was while working backstage at Harvey Nichols for a show starring Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders. She said: “There was due to be a guest model and that’s when Naomi Campbell, along with Sam McKnight, rocks up. There was a tiny commotion, as Sam’s hair pins had been misplaced and I had some, so I piped up, elbowed everyone else out the way and assisted him. I told Sam I wanted to work for him and he told me to speak to his agent – I hounded her every week and eventually got an assisting gig, I freelanced for him for the eight years after that.”

Though Nicola credits some of her achievements to luck, it’s apparent that she has never stopped working hard. “I think I’ve been lucky, but a lot of it isn’t luck too – it’s passion, you’ve got to work hard. My family know I have to drop things short notice, if Madonna calls…you’re available. The hard work has never bothered me; even at the beginning, what I was doing in my work life was so much more fun and varied than my social life. Hairdressing isn’t a 9-5 job, there are so many different avenues, like film, like fashion, so many departments, tons to do and try.”

And try she certainly has! From working on The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio to working with Gwyneth Paltrow on Shakespeare in Love and The Talented Mr. Ripley, Nicola’s colour work has transcended across film, fashion and beyond. On this, Nicola said: “when working on film you have to understand it’s not about me, or what I want to create – it’s about doing the job they need. Making sure the hair is the same when they walk through the door and exactly the same three days later.”

As the lady behind the impeccable colour of some of the world’s most photographed faces, we’re talking Kate Moss, Cate Blanchett, Kate Winslet and Kate Bosworth, for Nicola it’s all about knowing the person you’re working with. “Knowing your subject is so important. I know Gwyneth Paltrow isn’t keen on product, so I’ll find her things that leave her hair natural when she’s finished on shoot. While Kate Winslet, she’s happy for you to play with her hair for ages.”

Over the years Nicola has also formed a long-standing relationship with Madonna, and she recalls their first meeting with laugher: “when I met Madonna for the first time, I was the girl sitting in her room listening to The Smiths, I wasn’t listening to her music. I wasn’t thinking about who the person was, I was worried about whether I do the hair well, if I would please someone, what my peers would think. When you work with these names, you have to remember they are just real people!” Nicola added: “Madonna is like a sponge, you have to be on your game. She’s respectful, she wants to know what you’re doing, what it’s about. She’s an incredibly intelligent women, she likes to learn all the time, she’s inspiring to be around.”

On top of all of that, in September 2017 Nicola opened her own beautifully crafted salon in partnership with John Frieda. She said: “I’d achieved lots of personal goals, worked with the people I really wanted to and I didn’t want to work in another salon. John [Frieda] had been asking me to run a space, we talked about it and I’d said I would want it to be my way – he let me lead and listened to what I wanted from choosing materials to the vibe.”

Ever keen to encourage creative partnerships while bringing together friends from across the industry, Nicola’s space has become home to a whole host of incredible talent. “I grew up in hairdressing where you were either Toni & Guy or Sassoon, very separate, you didn’t mix. It’s definitely changed and I wanted to create a creative place, interesting for hairdressers that didn’t want to do session but bring in names like Tracey Cunningham, Tyler Johnston, Zoë Irwin, Sam McKnight, that would be creative and spark ideas.”

And spark ideas tonight certainly has! Special thanks to the night’s kind sponsors BaByliss PRO, who provided every guest with one of their latest styling tools.

Check out more from the night in our Facebook gallery>

Creative HEAD on Instagram

A beautiful bow from @davidebarbieri_ for @mspike at the BAFTA Film Awards 🎀Intricate, elegant and effortlessly chic, the elevated hair up perfectly complimented Rosamund's Dior gown.#hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #hairbow #awardshair #bafta #baftafilmawards #hairup #updo #occasionhair #hairstylist #celebrityhairstylist
A beautiful bow from @davidebarbieri_ for @mspike at the BAFTA Film Awards 🎀Intricate, elegant and effortlessly chic, the elevated hair up perfectly complimented Rosamund's Dior gown.#hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #hairbow #awardshair #bafta #baftafilmawards #hairup #updo #occasionhair #hairstylist #celebrityhairstylist
A beautiful bow from @davidebarbieri_ for @mspike at the BAFTA Film Awards 🎀Intricate, elegant and effortlessly chic, the elevated hair up perfectly complimented Rosamund's Dior gown.#hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #hairbow #awardshair #bafta #baftafilmawards #hairup #updo #occasionhair #hairstylist #celebrityhairstylist
A beautiful bow from @davidebarbieri_ for @mspike at the BAFTA Film Awards 🎀 Intricate, elegant and effortlessly chic, the elevated hair up perfectly complimented Rosamund's Dior gown. #hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #hairbow #awardshair #bafta #baftafilmawards #hairup #updo #occasionhair #hairstylist #celebrityhairstylist
18 hours ago
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FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SALON SMART 👀Creative HEAD magazine’s annual business networking event returns to London next month. We'll be providing a whole day of new insight, learning and inspiration, delivered by industry experts and innovators.Hosted at a London riverside venue, Salon Smart provides a chance to re-energise body and mind with a jam-packed agenda featuring solo talks, group discussions, topical debates and live Q&A. Throughout the day you’ll find opportunities to network with your peers and gain invaluable connections that could become lasting partnerships.Get inspired to progress your business to the next level. Join us at Salon Smart! To get your name on the guest list, get your ticket at creativeheadmag.com/store. Plus, if you sign up to Creative HEAD emails, you'll receive a £20 discount on your first Salon Smart ticket!#SalonSmart24 #Hair #Hairdressing #Hairdresser #Salonowner #Barbering #Barbershop #BarbershopOwner #UKSalon #IrishSalon #SalonBusiness #SalonSmart #SalonManager
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SALON SMART 👀Creative HEAD magazine’s annual business networking event returns to London next month. We'll be providing a whole day of new insight, learning and inspiration, delivered by industry experts and innovators.Hosted at a London riverside venue, Salon Smart provides a chance to re-energise body and mind with a jam-packed agenda featuring solo talks, group discussions, topical debates and live Q&A. Throughout the day you’ll find opportunities to network with your peers and gain invaluable connections that could become lasting partnerships.Get inspired to progress your business to the next level. Join us at Salon Smart! To get your name on the guest list, get your ticket at creativeheadmag.com/store. Plus, if you sign up to Creative HEAD emails, you'll receive a £20 discount on your first Salon Smart ticket!#SalonSmart24 #Hair #Hairdressing #Hairdresser #Salonowner #Barbering #Barbershop #BarbershopOwner #UKSalon #IrishSalon #SalonBusiness #SalonSmart #SalonManager
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SALON SMART 👀Creative HEAD magazine’s annual business networking event returns to London next month. We'll be providing a whole day of new insight, learning and inspiration, delivered by industry experts and innovators.Hosted at a London riverside venue, Salon Smart provides a chance to re-energise body and mind with a jam-packed agenda featuring solo talks, group discussions, topical debates and live Q&A. Throughout the day you’ll find opportunities to network with your peers and gain invaluable connections that could become lasting partnerships.Get inspired to progress your business to the next level. Join us at Salon Smart! To get your name on the guest list, get your ticket at creativeheadmag.com/store. Plus, if you sign up to Creative HEAD emails, you'll receive a £20 discount on your first Salon Smart ticket!#SalonSmart24 #Hair #Hairdressing #Hairdresser #Salonowner #Barbering #Barbershop #BarbershopOwner #UKSalon #IrishSalon #SalonBusiness #SalonSmart #SalonManager
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FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SALON SMART 👀Creative HEAD magazine’s annual business networking event returns to London next month. We'll be providing a whole day of new insight, learning and inspiration, delivered by industry experts and innovators.Hosted at a London riverside venue, Salon Smart provides a chance to re-energise body and mind with a jam-packed agenda featuring solo talks, group discussions, topical debates and live Q&A. Throughout the day you’ll find opportunities to network with your peers and gain invaluable connections that could become lasting partnerships.Get inspired to progress your business to the next level. Join us at Salon Smart! To get your name on the guest list, get your ticket at creativeheadmag.com/store. Plus, if you sign up to Creative HEAD emails, you'll receive a £20 discount on your first Salon Smart ticket!#SalonSmart24 #Hair #Hairdressing #Hairdresser #Salonowner #Barbering #Barbershop #BarbershopOwner #UKSalon #IrishSalon #SalonBusiness #SalonSmart #SalonManager
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SALON SMART 👀Creative HEAD magazine’s annual business networking event returns to London next month. We'll be providing a whole day of new insight, learning and inspiration, delivered by industry experts and innovators.Hosted at a London riverside venue, Salon Smart provides a chance to re-energise body and mind with a jam-packed agenda featuring solo talks, group discussions, topical debates and live Q&A. Throughout the day you’ll find opportunities to network with your peers and gain invaluable connections that could become lasting partnerships.Get inspired to progress your business to the next level. Join us at Salon Smart! To get your name on the guest list, get your ticket at creativeheadmag.com/store. Plus, if you sign up to Creative HEAD emails, you'll receive a £20 discount on your first Salon Smart ticket!#SalonSmart24 #Hair #Hairdressing #Hairdresser #Salonowner #Barbering #Barbershop #BarbershopOwner #UKSalon #IrishSalon #SalonBusiness #SalonSmart #SalonManager
FIVE THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT SALON SMART 👀 Creative HEAD magazine’s annual business networking event returns to London next month. We'll be providing a whole day of new insight, learning and inspiration, delivered by industry experts and innovators. Hosted at a London riverside venue, Salon Smart provides a chance to re-energise body and mind with a jam-packed agenda featuring solo talks, group discussions, topical debates and live Q&A. Throughout the day you’ll find opportunities to network with your peers and gain invaluable connections that could become lasting partnerships. Get inspired to progress your business to the next level. Join us at Salon Smart! To get your name on the guest list, get your ticket at creativeheadmag.com/store. Plus, if you sign up to Creative HEAD emails, you'll receive a £20 discount on your first Salon Smart ticket! #SalonSmart24 #Hair #Hairdressing #Hairdresser #Salonowner #Barbering #Barbershop #BarbershopOwner #UKSalon #IrishSalon #SalonBusiness #SalonSmart #SalonManager
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There’s just FOUR WEEKS to go until Salon Smart returns to London for a jam-packed day of inspiration, advice and networking for salon and barber shop owners and managers. Hear from like-minded experts from across the industry, as they help YOU to build a better business. Not got your ticket yet? Spaces are limited, so head over to creativeheadmag.com/store to secure your spot. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! #salonsmart24 #hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #salon #uksalon #salonowner #salonmanager #barbering #barbershop #businessevent #hairevent #irishsalon
There’s just FOUR WEEKS to go until Salon Smart returns to London for a jam-packed day of inspiration, advice and networking for salon and barber shop owners and managers. Hear from like-minded experts from across the industry, as they help YOU to build a better business. Not got your ticket yet? Spaces are limited, so head over to creativeheadmag.com/store to secure your spot. Don’t say we didn’t warn you! #salonsmart24 #hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #salon #uksalon #salonowner #salonmanager #barbering #barbershop #businessevent #hairevent #irishsalon
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Our final show of Sunday saw us backstage for @helenanthonyofficial with @schwarzkopfprouk and hair lead Philipp Haug of @hauglondonhaus ✨A fusion of textures, Philipp and the team delivered undone waves alongside swept back sections, held in place with some OSiS G Force gel. On models with shorter strands, OSiS Flex Wax was used to sweep the hair back for a feeling of strength, while ends were left more natural with movement. Chic, sophisticated and with a sprinkling of glamour, it made for the perfect style to accompany the strong tailoring of the clothing collection. #londonfashionweek #lfw #helenanthony #schwarzkopfprofessional #osis #sweptbackhair #sessionstylist #bts #behindthescenes #runwayhair #slickedbackhair
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In what we’re dubbing ‘Super Sunday’ at London Fashion Week, we also headed backstage with Most Wanted Legend @annacofone for the @holzweiler show with @authenticbeautyconceptuk 🤍Anna and the team enhanced the natural texture of each model, delivering a super flattering finish packed with hydration and shine, with a small silhouette close to the head. Key products included the Enhancing Water, Flawless Primer and Indulging Fluid Oil.The end result was relaxed, effortless hair which worked perfectly alongside the statement, oversized silhouettes of the clothing.#londonfashionweek #lfw #authenticbeautyconcept #holzweiler #naturaltexture #sessionstylist #sessionhair #catwalkhair #runwayhair #bts #behindthescenes #naturalhair
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Day three of London Fashion Week included a visit to the backstage of @supriya_lele with @babylissprouk and hair lead @sydhayeshair ✨Effortless, undone cool girl hair was the main focus for the show, with Syd and the team working their magic to enhance the natural texture sported by model’s. For those with super straight lengths, a slight wave was added for additional movement.The star of the show for creating the desired finish? The BaByliss PRO Falco hair dryer, a session essential for Syd and the team! #supriyalele #babylisspro #londonfashionweek #lfw #backstage #bts #sessionhair #sessionhairstylist #sessionstylist #naturaltexture #behindthescenes #runwayhair
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3 days ago
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We had a serene start to our Sunday at @eudonchoi with @authenticbeautyconceptuk and hair lead @adamgarland__ 🤍Enhancing the natural texture of the hair through heavy use of Airy Texture Spray, Adam then used a balloon to encourage some texture in the middle of the hair sections as well as using small amounts of the Working Hairspray. The overall vibe to the hair was all about balance and flow, working to enhance the silhouette and contour before adding a low pony at the nape. Simply stunning! #londonfashionweek #lfw #eudonchoi #aw24 #sessionstylist #sessionhair #bts #behindthescenes #authenticbeautyconcept #lowponytail #naturaltexture
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It’s a grand ol’ show to prepare for this evening as @richardphillipart leads the hair team for @patrick__mcdowell A/W24. 🤩Using @myorganics_uk Richard and team created bouffant styles, “inspired by opera divas of the past” for 21 models, as well as natural, textured hair looks for 20 additional singers and musicians as part of the opera cast and live orchestra for the show. The looks worked with a variety of hair types and textures, resulting in stunning, striking silhouettes.Excitingly, Richard has a previous and current mentee from the Creative HEAD Activator programme on the team and is due to head to Paris Fashion Week for his debut as hair lead at a PFW show. #hair #hairdressing #hairdressers #hairstyling #hairstylist #lfw #lfwaw24 #AW24 #londonfashionweek #fashionweek #patrickmcdowell #richardphillipart
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For show two of Saturday at London Fashion Week we headed backstage for @erdem A/W24 with @authenticbeautyconceptuk 😍Leading the hair team was @adamgarland__, who drew inspiration from Erdem’s main reference, which was 20th century opera singer, Maria Callas. Staying away from a more traditional ballerina bun, Adam created a look dubbed as the ‘Bel Canto Wrap’. Key products included Enhancing Water for prep and Working Hairspray to create the base.#londonfashionweek #lfw #erdem #backstage #bts #authenticbeautyconcept #hairup #sessionstylist #sessionhair #updo #behindthescenes #editorialhair #erdemaw24
For show two of Saturday at London Fashion Week we headed backstage for @erdem A/W24 with @authenticbeautyconceptuk 😍 Leading the hair team was @adamgarland__, who drew inspiration from Erdem’s main reference, which was 20th century opera singer, Maria Callas. Staying away from a more traditional ballerina bun, Adam created a look dubbed as the ‘Bel Canto Wrap’. Key products included Enhancing Water for prep and Working Hairspray to create the base. #londonfashionweek #lfw #erdem #backstage #bts #authenticbeautyconcept #hairup #sessionstylist #sessionhair #updo #behindthescenes #editorialhair #erdemaw24
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