Monday, 30 May 2011

Vintage Hairstyling For Camera Course

Toni Carter of Classy Chassis models for Nicki Grainger. Photo by Claire Shannan
Training in the hairdressing industry means keeping up to date with trends, techniques and sharpening skills to produce ever improving services for clients. So with "vintage" appearing everywhere from tv shows to catwalks, the opportunities for hairdressers, freelancers and enthusiastic amateurs have exploded. If you saw the recent "Great British Hairdresser" television series, it's clear that salon based hair artistry is only part of the picture, and at Vintage Hair Lounge we come from a background of creative styling for the screen, which is why our newest course, launched in May 2011 focusses on performance for camera. A hairstyle that can punch above its weight, looking sleek and interesting under the camera's unforgiving gaze, requires excellence in creating a strong shape, clean finish, and high visual impact. And if the same output is accessible to salon clients, you win on all fronts!

"I have loved the whole experience. I have learnt so much just within two days" - Taidi

Joanna by Karl. Photo by Claire Shannan

Our two day course emphasises the key skills which lay the foundation for all types of vintage styling from the 1920s through to the 1980s, set against a thorough overview of the history of modern ladies' hairdressing. In understanding the development of shapes and techniques, students are given a working knowledge of the social and cultural influences that affected the way women wore their hair at different times in the twentieth century. Once this grounding is absorbed, it becomes easier to make sense of the techniques to create specific shapes for the period desired, and helps break the illusion that all "vintage" styles are interchangeable era by era, a mistake that even top hairdressers make when recreating vintage looks.

 "Loved it! I was throwing myself in at the deep end having never done hair styling but felt very supported and comfortable" - Nicki

Louise models for Taidi. Photo by Claire Shannan

For salons, there are great opportunities to develop vintage hairstyling services, and for individual artists there is huge potential for nurturing a retro portfolio of work both inside and outside of the salon. Given how brilliantly our students performed in just two intensive days, the Vintage Hairstyling For Camera Course is now a proven gem in hairdressing training and at just £325 inc VAT, it's also amazing value for money.

More photos from our May course can be found on our Facebook page and full details of the course are listed at Courses Plus.

Monday, 23 May 2011

Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) From Kill Bill to Gang Girls

Miss Annie in screen shot from Gang Girls, directed by Sharon Holloway

When Quentin Tarantino chose the 1966 Nancy Sinatra cover version of Sonny Bono's Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) for the soundtrack of his movie Kill Bill Volume 1, it became one of the most iconic songs in film history. The haunting tones of Billy Strange's melancholic guitar and Nancy's beautiful voice was stunningly apt for a storyline centered on a traumatised woman seeking justice. The PSM remix did even more to mark the track out as a further reinvention of the song's lasting sentiments.

So when our short film Gang Girls was in the stages of pre-production, it wasn't long before we too recognised the power of this song to be able to reinforce the storyline of a young woman searching for her identity in the sixties when the youth culture of mods OR rockers was firmly embedded in her upbringing. In just over three minutes, I had the challenge as a director of finding an obviously sixties song which could be refreshed and which could still add another dimension to a visual piece which contained no on screen dialogue from our cast. The lyrics of Bang Bang both coveyed an inner turmoil and a resolution for the protagonist, one obvious reason behind the decision of Tarantino to use it to highlight the plight and the journey of The Bride, played with such passion by Uma Thurman in his 2003 Kill Bill film.

With the spectacular Miss Annie, of Bournemouth's The Regular Joes and The Kitty Kat Cabaret Club fame, on board (Miss Annie also features in Gang Girls), and ready to go in to the studio to record a soundtrack for us, I was confident that a brilliant new version of Bang Bang was capable of being created. My live interview on local Radio Station Radio Solent last night, in which both Cher's original version and part of Miss Annie's new version were played was such an exciting moment. It provided further recognition for the choice of song and Miss Annie's powerful vocals if ever that was needed. The interview can be heard on BBC iplayer until 29 May 2011 here.

Don't get me wrong, I'm neither pretending to be the next Tarantino, nor am I wedded to copying his work, but I am admirer for the Kill Bill films, because with so few female directors around at the top of the film industry, finding inspiration for strong female storylines on the big screen doesn't often stretch to retro action movies! I also applaud him for integrating the 5, 6, 7, 8s in his soundtrack and the film - Japanese beehives and great music all in one hit!

Returning to the great Nancy Sinatra for a moment, it cannot be denied that her look was also an inspiration for the hair and make-up design on one of our retro girl gang members, Maddy Hobbs.

Maddy Hobbs in Gang Girls. Hair & Make-up Design Vintage Hair Lounge. Photo by Scott Chalmers

So if you've not seen Gang Girls yet, grab a cuppa, give yourself a three minute break and watch and listen here.

Gang Girls, featuring Shana Swash and Miss Annie is now heading for the big screen on the film festival circuit. More news will be posted here.

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Southampton Hair Salon Redefining Vintage

What do you want from a modern hairdressing salon? Great cuts that last. Colour expertise. Outstanding customer service. Tips and hints on maintaining a great style in between salon visits. A relaxing atmosphere that makes you feel good about yourself and your hair. The demands are high, the challenges are great, but at Vintage Hair Lounge we work on the basis that "vintage" isn't just about a fashion look or a way of life, it's about excellence. Simple as that.

We rather like this dictionary definition of vintage.
"adjective. Denoting something from the past of high quality, especially something representing the best of its kind"

That certainly covers more familiar territory when it comes to wine, cars and clothes for example. A wider understanding of the concept of "vintage" extends to the style of something, as in "historical", "retro" or "antique". So when we apply that thinking to hairstyling we are not just thinking about the recreation of period hairstyles, as in the shapes and styles of the 1920s through to the 1980s, we are also thinking about the contribution to the process of traditional skills, and an approach which is fundamentally about quality personal interaction.

The fact that so few hairdressers and hair salons can offer vintage hairstyling or traditional wet shaving for men is a sign that these once key foundation hairdressing and barbering skills have diminished in the industry and industry training. But it doesn't necessarily follow that the reason for this is lack of demand from the public. Being able to set, style and dress hair in traditional ways, or skillfully use a razor on a guy's face aren't just faddish add-ons to modern services. The skills reflect an expertise in the craft of hairdressing and barbering which are always being built upon, reinvented and added to as new tools, methods and products are developed.

So if your hairdresser or barber has these skills you can be reassured.

We often hear that some hairdressing salons have become conveyor belts, rushing clients in and out without a great deal of personal attention. Like whizzing round the supermarket, sometimes convenience in these time-poor lives we lead, is a massive bonus. But in hairdressing, you live with the results of your salon visit every day thereafter and a bad service, carried out in an indifferent environment is certainly not how modern hairdressing started 100 years ago. We now have such advancements in the technology and science of hairdressing tools, methods and products, that hairdressing should be regarded as a high quality high status profession bursting with talent on every front. In some instances that is absolutely true, but it is by no means the case across the whole industry.

So when you are looking for a great hairdresser and a great salon, "vintage" is virtually an unofficial trademark of quality, whatever the service. Like a fine wine, you will be getting the best.

Vintage Hair Lounge, 118 High Street, Southampton SO14 2AA    02380 337109  Online booking at

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

The Release of Gang Girls

Shana Swash in Gang Girls. Photography Scott Chalmers. Hair & Make-up Vintage Hair Lounge
When it came it was like Christmas! Gang Girls release at midnight on 17 May 2011, just 37 days after the Southampton film shoot was a triumph. Many of our cast, crew and Facebook followers woke up to see the finished article as if they were finding that Santa had left them an extra lovely present in their inbox this year.

Andy Wilks, Chair of Isle of Wight Film Network did an amazing job on the edit and grade, no mean feat, when despite the whole shoot lasting just 4 hours, we'd actually shot over an hour's worth of high definition colour and black & white footage in that time in 4 different Southampton waterfront locations. It needed to be cut down to under 3 minutes to sync with the wonderful new recording of Bang Bang (My Baby Shot Me Down) by Miss Annie of The Regular Joes and The Kitty Kat Cabaret Club in Bournemouth. And it took our most celebrated Cassie Leedham just 40 minutes to design the iconic film logo and send it to Andy to be added to the ongoing film edit.

So without wasting any more time, cast your eyes over Gang Girls......

Thanks to all the scooter clubs involved and Victory Wheelers for the splendid cars; all our cast and contributors are credited in the film, and of course there are many more supporters that helped us make this happen.

Pat Murphy in Gang Girls. Photography Scott Chalmers

And a bit of insider information, it is true that our lead actor Shana Swash now has a mum who can't get the song Bang Bang out of her head! So a special thanks to all the wonderful mums who have supported their daughters throughout this production. We couldn't have done it without you.

News on Gang Girls can be found in regular updates at and


Tuesday, 17 May 2011

Revolution Magazine launches with a Vintage flavour

Lauren Fernandez on front cover of Revolution. Photography Scott Chalmers. Hair & Make-up Vintage Hair Lounge
Here's something fun to get your teeth into. Brand new style magazine Revolution has launched and can be read at

Lauren Fernandez in Revolution. Photography Scott Chalmers. Hair & Make-up Vintage Hair Lounge 
Lauren Fernandez in Revolution. Photography Scott Chalmers. Hair & Make-up Vintage Hair Lounge    
Lauren Fernandez in Revolution. Photography Scott Chalmers. Hair & Make-up Vintage Hair Lounge   

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Vintage Hair Lounge Create Gang Girls

Maddy Hobbs. Photography by Scott Chalmers

The 10th April 2011 was an extremely sunny day in Southampton, the day on which Gang Girls was shot. Unit base was our High Street salon Vintage Hair Lounge and from 8.30am we were all hands on deck to create the hair and make-up looks for our retro girl gang played by Shana Swash, Maddy Hobbs and Chloe Cruse.

With Classy Chassis clothing taking care of the costume, with some great accessories provided by London film Costume Designer Andrew Joslin, weeks of concept design went swiftly in to action, with the key inspiration for the looks from Nancy Sinatra, Twiggy and Brigitte Bardot.

Gloria Holloway and Julia Jones work on hair for Maddy Hobbs. Photography by Scott Chalmers

Gloria Holloway and Julia Jones work on hair for Maddy Hobbs. Photography by Scott Chalmers
Once our photographer Scott Chalmers arrived to do some shots in Southampton's Oxford Street before the main event, we welcomed the arrival of the delightful Shana Swash and fifty scooters that caused quite a stir pitching up outside the salon ready to start the shoot.

Sharon Holloway works on make-up for Shana Swash. Photography by Scott Chalmers
Sharon Holloway works on make-up for Shana Swash. Photography by Scott Chalmers
By 12 noon we were ready to set up for the first shots in the nearby French Quarter City Walls. This is where the film opens and we see the Shana's gang awaiting the arrival of her new scooter followers.

In an extraordinary feat of organisation and enthusiasm, and notwithstanding the baking sun, we quickly moved on to the Red Funnel terminal outside Kuti's Royal Thai Pier before finishing the afternoon in the Town Quay car park, which stretches out in to Southampton's River Test, a great sea front backdrop which didn't disappoint. We wrapped the shoot at 4.30pm. In just 4 hours Vintage Hair Lounge had made a film!

The arrival of Shana Swash, Maddy Hobbs and Chloe Cruse in Gang Girls. Photography by Scott Chalmers

Gang Girls is due for release in May 2011. More updates soon.