Focus On: Efi Davies – The Avant-Garde Supremo Who Just Made The 2024 Most Wanted Hair Icon Shortlist

Why Toni&Guy’s International Artistic Director has her eye permanently on the next generation.

by ATHERINEEXPLORE > PORTFOLIOS

 

Toni&Guy’s International Artistic Director, head of the Avant-Garde and Long Hair Departments and leader of the Session & Editorial and Styling & Finishing courses, and now taking her place on Most Wanted’s prestigious Hair Icon shortlist for the first time… It’s fair to say that Efi Davies is one of the industry’s most impressive creative talents.

An innovator whose mastery of braiding and hair up styles knows no bounds, Efi is pivotal when it comes to conceptualising and art-directing the editorial and avant-garde concepts within Toni&Guy’s global collections and campaigns, working closely with Global Brand Director Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck and Global Creative Director Cos Sakkas (who is also on the Hair Icon list).

But none of it would have happened if Greek-born Efi hadn’t decided 25 years ago to pay a visit to her sister in London… Instantly hooked by the fashion and music scene, Efi took a job as an assistant at Toni&Guy, where founder Toni Mascolo took her under his wing and ignited her dream of pushing boundaries within the industry. 

Creative HEAD caught up with this incredible artist as she took a break from Fashion Week…

 

Toni&Guy’s International Artistic Director, head of the Avant-Garde and Long Hair Departments and leader of the Session & Editorial and Styling & Finishing courses, and now taking her place on Most Wanted’s prestigious Hair Icon shortlist for the first time… It’s fair to say that Efi Davies is one of the industry’s most impressive creative talents.

An innovator whose mastery of braiding and hair up styles knows no bounds, Efi is pivotal when it comes to conceptualising and art-directing the editorial and avant-garde concepts within Toni&Guy’s global collections and campaigns, working closely with Global Brand Director Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck and Global Creative Director Cos Sakkas (who is also on the Hair Icon list).

But none of it would have happened if Greek-born Efi hadn’t decided 25 years ago to pay a visit to her sister in London… Instantly hooked by the fashion and music scene, Efi took a job as an assistant at Toni&Guy, where founder Toni Mascolo took her under his wing and ignited her dream of pushing boundaries within the industry. 

Creative HEAD caught up with this incredible artist as she took a break from Fashion Week…

What would you say are your strongest points as a hair artist?

Oh, that’s not a very easy question to answer… I try not to repeat myself and like consistently to evolve and come up with new ideas to share. I love pushing the boundaries of traditional hairdressing, constantly experimenting with something  unique. It doesn’t happen very often but it’s all about experimenting, right?

Do you have such a thing as a typical week? If so, what does it look like?

No two weeks are the same. Whether teaching at the Academy, working backstage at a show or on set on a collection, I strive to transfer my skills, knowledge and experience to the young creatives around me, who I expect one day will go on to make my work seem old-fashioned. Every week brings its own challenges and opportunities, so life is always unique and interesting.

You’re the International Artistic Director at Toni&Guy, which is a REALLY BIG DEAL. What elements of your role give you the most satisfaction?

It’s the opportunities to inspire and be inspired, the ability to mentor and nurture new talent, and the chance to innovate within the industry. I have lived the dream and hope that it’s now my turn to pass on the torch.

These images are from my current collection using macramé techniques on synthetic hair that I melted and stretched to create beautiful bob shapes, precisely interlacing the models’natural hair to sit how I wanted it. It creates a poetic yet futuristic feel.

The last three weeks (or months): where have you been, who have you worked with, and what have you been planning?

The last few weeks have been packed full of creative shooting and prep days. We have been heavily involved with London Fashion Week Men’s and were a part of the British Fashion Council’s 40 Years of London Fashion Week exhibition. I had the honour of having two of my avant-garde creations on display that celebrated Toni&Guy’s 20-year partnership with the British Fashion Council.

Looking back, who/what has got you to this point in your career?

A lot of hard work and determination. Every origin story requires a bit of magic and mine came in the shape of Anthony and Toni Mascolo. I will be eternally grateful to them both for seeing something in me, taking me under their wing and, through the sheer power of their own passion, opening my eyes to the idea of innovation and creative vision within the industry. Also to our CEO, Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck, who has been behind me throughout my career, giving me amazing opportunities and encourouging me in everything I do.

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FREE education for hairdressers, by hairdressers 🙌Join @sta__studios for a whole host of unique creative gatherings designed to support you in mindful and meaningful ways. The carefully curated line-up of events is tailored to help you navigate life in the dynamic world of hair, offering opportunities for growth, networking, and inspiration. From a masterclass with @conorjmd and @samantha.cusick designed to elevate your social media presence to a hands-on workshop with @sarahblackstudio which will allow you to embrace your artistic side, there is something for everyone and at no cost! Yes, these events are all free and open to everyone!Head to www.sta-studios.com/events to find out more and get your name on the waitlist!#AD #freeeducation #stāconnected #stāsocial #stācreative #stāstudios
FREE education for hairdressers, by hairdressers 🙌Join @sta__studios for a whole host of unique creative gatherings designed to support you in mindful and meaningful ways. The carefully curated line-up of events is tailored to help you navigate life in the dynamic world of hair, offering opportunities for growth, networking, and inspiration. From a masterclass with @conorjmd and @samantha.cusick designed to elevate your social media presence to a hands-on workshop with @sarahblackstudio which will allow you to embrace your artistic side, there is something for everyone and at no cost! Yes, these events are all free and open to everyone!Head to www.sta-studios.com/events to find out more and get your name on the waitlist!#AD #freeeducation #stāconnected #stāsocial #stācreative #stāstudios
FREE education for hairdressers, by hairdressers 🙌Join @sta__studios for a whole host of unique creative gatherings designed to support you in mindful and meaningful ways. The carefully curated line-up of events is tailored to help you navigate life in the dynamic world of hair, offering opportunities for growth, networking, and inspiration. From a masterclass with @conorjmd and @samantha.cusick designed to elevate your social media presence to a hands-on workshop with @sarahblackstudio which will allow you to embrace your artistic side, there is something for everyone and at no cost! Yes, these events are all free and open to everyone!Head to www.sta-studios.com/events to find out more and get your name on the waitlist!#AD #freeeducation #stāconnected #stāsocial #stācreative #stāstudios
FREE education for hairdressers, by hairdressers 🙌Join @sta__studios for a whole host of unique creative gatherings designed to support you in mindful and meaningful ways. The carefully curated line-up of events is tailored to help you navigate life in the dynamic world of hair, offering opportunities for growth, networking, and inspiration. From a masterclass with @conorjmd and @samantha.cusick designed to elevate your social media presence to a hands-on workshop with @sarahblackstudio which will allow you to embrace your artistic side, there is something for everyone and at no cost! Yes, these events are all free and open to everyone!Head to www.sta-studios.com/events to find out more and get your name on the waitlist!#AD #freeeducation #stāconnected #stāsocial #stācreative #stāstudios
FREE education for hairdressers, by hairdressers 🙌Join @sta__studios for a whole host of unique creative gatherings designed to support you in mindful and meaningful ways. The carefully curated line-up of events is tailored to help you navigate life in the dynamic world of hair, offering opportunities for growth, networking, and inspiration. From a masterclass with @conorjmd and @samantha.cusick designed to elevate your social media presence to a hands-on workshop with @sarahblackstudio which will allow you to embrace your artistic side, there is something for everyone and at no cost! Yes, these events are all free and open to everyone!Head to www.sta-studios.com/events to find out more and get your name on the waitlist!#AD #freeeducation #stāconnected #stāsocial #stācreative #stāstudios
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Golden hour meets holographic princess from colour queen @hairbygerrileigh 🌅 Absolutely beautiful creative colour, crafted at the Manchester Wella Studios. #hair #hairdressing #hairdresser #wellahair #wellagoldenhour #wellauki #goldenhour #holographichair
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I have worked with Tolu Coker for several seasons and have an amazing relationship with her. I create bespoke hair pieces and headdresses to complement her collections and love being educated on her culture and how I can follow it through into the hair.
This image shows one of my favourite moments from last fashion week in February. The Toni&Guy Session Team and I created beautiful clean yet edgy finger waves. Everything was tailored to the individual model, which made it look really natural.
This is ‘New Wave’ from the Toni&Guy 2007 Kaizen collection. It was the first haircut I did for a Toni&Guy collection and I absolutely adore this image.

Your ultimate creative collaboration – what would that look like? Who would be in it?

Throughout my career I have had the priviledge to work with incredible people – stylists, photographers, make up artists and designers – and I am grateful to them all for their friendship and influence. 

What excites you about hairdressing right now?

The continuous education and sharing of knowledge within the industry. Whether through demos or social media platforms, the constant exchange of new ideas and techniques helps us all to evolve and push the boundaries of what we can achieve in hairdressing.

What frustrates you about hairdressing right now?

The decline of the younger generation. Less and less  Not enough young people coming into our industry.

What’s your opinion on why so many hair pros work for free backstage and on set, and how do you think they can establish more value for the work they do?

Many in the hair industry are driven by passion and a love for their craft, so find themselves agreeing to work for free. While it’s okay to do that occasionally and it gives you great experience, it’s really important to make sure you get proper credit for your work and that your contributions are acknowledged. It’s also important to keep a strong image bank of work to document your work across social media as much as possible!

This image is from my avant-garde Crystal collection from 2010. It is very important to me because it’s created from the model’s natural hair, using a boning technique to create structure and add height
These pictures are from a shoot I did for the Journal Magazine with David Mannah. I trapped the hair inside of resin, pushing the boundaries to create something cool. The futuristic bob incorporates some 1920’s influences through the cut, and with the Mohawk I wanted to create an edgy, punk feel.

Describe your perfect Fashion Week experience.

I have worked with Tolu Coker for several seasons and have an amazing relationship with her. I love working on her shows. It’s a true collaboration, where we meet and disuss her ideas and inspirations and I create bespoke hair pieces to complement her designs. She has educated me so much about culture that I have taken and used in my own work. For AW24 I created and dressed 20 wigs in three days!

What can be done to encourage more young people into the industry?

As hairdressers, it’s crucial to transfer our passion and excitement to the younger generation, keeping them motivated and inspired – they are the backbone of our industry and future. One way to do this is by attending open days at schools, where we can educate and inspire students in an environment where everyone feels comftorable.

And these questions from a couple of your peers!

From Naomi Brooks, The Hair Sanctuary, Manchester: When you are going through a creative block, what do you do to get back in the flow and get your creative juices flowing again? 

Hi Naomi! We can all find outselves stuck in a bit of a block from time to time. The first thing I do is take myself out of situation that has caused it. I might go for a walk, or start working on something new. Sometimes, a bit of rest and a change of scenery are just what I need to return to my work with fresh eyes and renewed energy.

From Siobhan Haug, Haug London Haus, London: What’s been your most memorable overseas trip, and why?

Hi Siobhan! A lot of them have been with you ☺…. I will never forget going to Tokyo in 2010 and seeing my avant-garde collection for the first time, live on stage. It was such a proud and honorable moment for me. I will never forget it.