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What I Know About Style

James Pryce

July
6

Mane man to K-Mid on her big day, stylist extraordinaire James Pryce on styling the Middletons, getting to grips with fatherhood and his favourite west London hangouts

When did you realise you wanted to be a hairdresser and how did you get into it?

I’m from a family of hairdressers, my dad still cuts hair even in his 70s. My mum was at Leonard of Mayfair—the hairdresser credited with creating Twiggy’s signature look as well as establishing the careers of other successful British hairdressers, including John Frieda, Daniel Galvin and Nicky Clarke. When I left school I got my first job at Daniel Galvin at 17 and didn’t look back.

Was there ever a plan B?

I always wanted to do something creative—I was what you might call a rascal at school, but always enjoyed creative subjects. I thought I wanted to do graphic design or advertising at one point.

I was at a really academic prep school in Hampstead and it didn’t play to my strengths, but when I started hairdressing I instantly fell in love with it. It was great to be part of an industry I could thrive in.

How did you get tasked with styling Kate’s hair on her wedding day?

I’d been doing Carole’s hair for a while, and she introduced me to Catherine, Mike and Pippa at the Richard Ward salon in Chelsea, and then one day, out of the blue, Carole called and asked me to do her hair for Kate’s engagement pictures. And then it all sort of snowballed.

Obviously, with both parents being hairdressers my family were insanely proud. I’m not sure anything could have come higher in their eyes.

The wedding day was a totally surreal experience. I got Kate ready at The Goring hotel, got driven to the Abbey, where I was the last person to enter before Kate. I remember a sharp intake of breath as I saw her silhouette against the abbey door, the relief of seeing how beautiful she looked was immense. Having lost my mum a few years before, I remember looking up and thinking just how proud she would have been.

After the wedding it was straight over to Buckingham Palace to get her ready for the balcony kiss pictures. Being there on such a big day was incredible.

Other than styling the most famous hair in Britain, what has been your most exciting job so far?

I imagine I peaked early with Kate.

Did you plan and re-plan Kate’s wedding look for months beforehand, or was it decided fairly last minute?

As with any bride, we tested and retested to get it perfect, but she has such amazing hair we never wanted to hide it or do too much to it.

We hear you’ve recently moved to Larry King in Chelsea from Josh Wood Atelier in Holland Park—were you ready for a change?

As a stylist I wanted to work somewhere where cutting was the priority—Josh Wood Atelier was and is great, but it’s definitely more colour-focused.

I’m really happy at Larry King as the focus is really on cutting. He also does a lot of men’s hair, which is unusual for such a high-end salon. (Ed’s note: David Gandy was in the seat while I was here) Our main clientele in still women, but we do a lot more men than most women’s hairdressers. The One Direction boys come here as well as the Kaiser Chiefs.

I never got into colour as I love the transformation a great cut can produce. I’m obsessed with using natural hair texture and face shape to a client’s advantage and this is what really drives me.

Do you have a favourite west London hangout?

I live in Kensal Green so spend a fair bit of time on Chamberlayne Road. I love The Whippet pub for roast dinners. I also love The Distillery and Electric on Portobello, and Granger & Co on Westbourne grove for brunch. Although I have a two year old called Poppy, so honestly you’re more likely to find me in the park than the pub these days.

Where is your favourite place in the world and why?

Iguasu waterfall in Brazil is the most mind-blowingly beautiful waterfall in the world. I went there for my for honeymoon, and actually got married the same year as Kate so that was a crazy time.

I also love snowboarding, so The Three Valleys in France is another favourite, and it has great après.

Follow James on Insta @Jamespryce_hair
Larry King hair: Men’s cut and blowdry £85, Women’s cut and blowdry £180

After cutting a brand new grown-out fringe James styled me to perfection using the fabulous Dyson dryer, which left my hair silky and smooth, then tonged me my very own Kate Middleton waves. Weeks later I’m still loving the versatile, bouncy shape and may have developed a Prycey (sorry) habit!

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