UP-CLOSE AND PERSONAL WITH PETER GRAY
Peter Gray, the man who is responsible for the styling on our inaugural cover, is, in one word, a maverick.
The imaginative and innovative Zimbabwe-born stylist began cutting hair as a way to stay out of trouble in boarding school in South Africa. His hobby turned into a job, and Gray soon took up a position as a Saturday boy at a local salon. While his parents eventually encouraged him to attend law school, it became crystal clear that the flourishing stylist had other plans.
While working at the salon for close to three years, he found confidence to move forward in his career after being gifted Cutting Hair the Vidal Sassoon Way. The book left him inspired, and his boss at the salon encouraged him to fly to London to join Sassoon. While Gray first failed at this undertaking, he began to establish his name as a new and noteworthy hairdresser while working alongside session hairdressers in the bustling British capital.
Working for Sassoon proved to be kismet, however, and after a few years, Gray soon reapplied. He was accepted and was quickly transferred to Manchester, and it was there where he began touring, travelling and styling the hair of extremely popular bands of the ‘90s, including The Stone Roses and Oasis. He eventually moved back to London and taught for Sassoon for about fourteen years.
His more recent venture, Noise, is something Peter describes as his real passion, and as pure creativity just for the sake of it. He explains that 90% of his work revolves around photoshoots, advertising, and motion and stills for editorial, so the creation of Noise brought him back to hairdressing. “I really enjoy the education aspect of it, I really enjoy pushing the boundaries of hairdressing and what’s expected from hairdressers. It’s a totally different show, because you only get 15 minutes and it takes away the whole ego because there’s no speaking. You’re judged on what you produce in 15 minutes flat.”
The vibe of a Noise show is electric and artistic, and because of the time limit, there is a dash of anticipation added to see just how the hairdressers measure up. Participants are allowed to style between one and three models, while working with a team of no more than four people. Products used are not the main focus of these shows; rather, the spotlight is on the ingenuity of the hairdresser and their team.
“There’s no promotion of any brand’s products per-se,” explains Gray. “It takes away the power from the brands, which has been the dictated format for so long. Some of the brands included are prepared to collaborate on a silent level just in order to be a part of the creativity.”