It's official: John Frieda's Margaret Street salon in Fitzrovia has fast become 2018's one-stop shop for London's coolest — and blondest — residents. The location was revamped late last year with beloved celebrity colorist Nicola Clarke at the helm, thanks in part to Frieda's knack for nurturing talent and supporting his protégés' visions globally throughout his salons. As anyone who's familiar with her work already knows, Clarke's appointment as the creative drive behind the new-and-improved location was an obvious choice — and a smart one, at that.
"I've been working with John since 2001," Clarke explains. "He successfully collaborated with Serge Normant in New York, so I knew that I could do the same here in London, with my own twist. We have a great working relationship and he trusts me.” Frieda echoes that sentiment: "Having worked with her for over 15 years, I know that Nicola’s global renown makes her the perfect person to lead the business into the next stage, offering both new and existing John Frieda clients the exceptional standards we are known for, with Nicola’s own inimitable twist."
If you aren't aware of Clarke's reputation, a brief overview of her clientele is enough to tell you how much she can be trusted with color, and by whom. Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett have spent time in Clarke's chair since 2000, with Clarke flying worldwide to adjust the actresses' shades and tones for work and red-carpet appearances. Madonna, Carey Mulligan, Margot Robbie, and Sienna Miller all credit Clarke for their color maintenance, and none other than Kate Moss has been a loyal client since the '90s. Her customers span industries of entertainment and finance, media and modeling, who all come back to Clarke time and time again.
"I'm best known as 'the queen of blondes,' but that's just a small part of my work. I love coloring red, brunette, pink..." Clarke explains. "I do a lot of styling for red carpets and collaborate with actresses' stylists and makeup artists. I think it's important to be versatile."
And if that list isn't enough of a guarantee that the Margaret Street salon will be this year's buzziest hair hangout, you can bet that Clarke's "handpicked hair squad" will back it up. "The team is really important to me, and I’ve got colorists and stylists that I’ve worked with for a long time that have great skills in different fields," she tells Refinery29. "For instance, I have the amazing Jessie, who is the best in town for all the film work we work on, while Shannon is a cool girl if you want a pink, bleach, or just complete change. John is my glam boy for our red carpet looks, and I trust Francesca and Carmel with any of my celebrity clients. Francesca even stepped in for me when Kate Winslet needed a red carpet hairdo — I trust all my team who I think are the best in town."
Bringing together some of the world's most sought-after stylists, Clarke has created a hub of creativity, where no style, color, or cut is too challenging for her superstar lineup. During opening week, Tracey Cunningham and her team of stylists brought their L.A.-influenced cool-girl hair for a stint in London Town; Clarke has also secured the salon as a base for mega stylists Leanne Citrone, Renya Xydis, and longtime friend Sam McKnight, who will all work from Margaret Street when they're in the UK.
City dwellers, rejoice: There will be a special focus on the pollution-tackling Detox Blowdry, which seriously fights product build-up and the effects of hard water and chlorine, while rebuilding hair to a super glossy finish. "But we have lots of big plans this year," Clarke teases, "so you'll have to wait and see."
In terms of which trends and movements we'll be seeing from Clarke in 2018, she's thrilled about the return of... the haircut. "It's great because it's been all about growing hair out for too long," she says. "The blunt cut is still a big trend, but it will get more extreme this year, pairing it with a bob and blunt bangs." Can such an extreme cut be for everyone? "It can feel like a scary one to have, and is definitely a strong look, but can be really flattering and interesting if done right."
For color, she sees a move into warmer tones. "Golden sunsets or experimenting with copper — either through balayage or as a block, uniform tint, generally, warmer colors are making a comeback over traditional ashy shades. They're more flattering, too," she says. "I'll match with a gloss treatment for a super luxe look."
When Clarke predicts a trend, we listen. No doubt John Frieda's Margaret Street salon will draw England's finest celebrities and influencers alike, all after Clarke and her team's Midas touch. Time to book an appointment, stat... for whenever it is that you can manage to get one.