Nicky Clarke reveals that pandemic changed the attitudes of workers
28th April 2022

‘They wanted to do less and be paid the same’: Celebrity hair stylist Nicky Clarke says the pandemic changed the ‘attitudes of workers’ as he closes his famed Mayfair salon

  • Nicky Clarke, 63, said the Covid pandemic changed the attitudes of the workers
  • He said Mayfair salon was forced to close due to rising costs and fewer clients 
  • Stylist added that his famed salon was not able to continue at such a high level

Nicky Clarke has said the pandemic changed the ‘attitudes of workers’ because they wanted ‘to do less days but be paid the same’.

The celebrity hair stylist, 63, whose clients have included Princess Diana, the Duchess of York (who performed the opening ceremony), Margaret Thatcher, Elizabeth Taylor and David Bowie, is shutting his Mayfair salon after 30 years.

Speaking to Eamonn Holmes and Isabel Webster on GB News today, Nicky explained: ‘The thing that the pandemic has changed, not just in terms of the clients coming in and not wanting to be in Mayfair, also I think, attitudes of the workers.

‘You’ve got so many people really, that are wanting to do less days and, being paid the same amount of money, but I think mostly it was the fact that we set a standard that was at a very high level.

‘We did something very, very new… and we weren’t really able to continue at that level.’

Nicky Clarke, pictured, has today said in a GB News interview that his hair salon in Mayfair had to close due to rising costs and the changing attitudes of clients and workers after the pandemic

Nicky, pictured here with partner Kelly Simpkin, has cut and styled the hair of thousands of high profile clients over the years including Princess Diana and the Duchess of York

The 63-year-old’s Mayfair salon, pictured, has played host to celebrities including Diana Ross and Naomi Campbell 

His chat with the television presenters comes after the Daily Mail yesterday revealed that he had told his devastated staff on Monday that the salon would be closing. 

Nicky, who has cut and styled the hair of thousands of high profile clients over the years including Princess Diana, the Duchess of York and David Bowie, has also seen higher costs have a huge impact on his business.

Speaking on Tuesday, Nicky announced the closure of the salon, explaining: ‘This prestigious salon has been in Mayfair for over 30 years and has been a huge part of our lives, both personally and professionally.

‘However, the last two years have been the toughest we have experienced, with Covid-enforced, long-term closures, rising rates and overheads making the salon no longer economically sustainable.’

He added: ‘This was not an easy decision to make, we have spent months exploring alternative solutions to keep the salon in business but unfortunately these have not come to fruition.

‘All staff impacted will be paid fully and all our obligations to them fulfilled. We’re incredibly grateful to the dedication and hard work of every single member of staff.’

Nicky is pictured with Elton John and his band doing charity haircuts in aid of the Princess Diana charity in 1997

Nicky added in today’s discussion on GB News: ‘I’ve got hundreds and hundreds of wonderful messages from clients, but also from members of staff that just said that was just the best time of their lives.’

The stylist, 63, who was raised in a London council flat, founded the business with long-term girlfriend, Lesley Clarke, 68, thanks to a £20,000 loan, and the pair turned it into an empire which was said to be worth £60 million.

He later split from Lesley after confessing to having an affair with a Vivien Westwood model, but the pair remained close, with Lesley even accompanying Nicky when he received an OBE in 2008.

Presenter Isabel quipped on today’s GB News interview that Nicky must have heard hundreds of secrets from high profile clients over the years. 

He replied: ‘I used to say that I could write tomorrow’s front page. Nicky continued: ‘The reason I could say that was because I was entrusted with an awful lot of information.’

The 63-year-old, pictured here with ex-partner Lesley, founded the business with her using a £20,000 loan and the pair are said to have turned it into a £60 million empire 

And he revealed that the salon near the Connaught Hotel had a secret entrance so that clients could come to the salon without being seen by press photographers. 

He said that while many of his clients have reputations for being divas, he never saw that side of them.

Nicky added that he was starstruck by boyhood heroes including David Bowie and Bryan Ferry.

The 63-year-old said: ‘I could probably say that I probably did most of the older divas – Margaret Thatcher, Diana Ross’s, Naomi Campbell, they were fabulous with me, they were just lovely.

‘It’s really when you’re doing your boyhood heroes, you know – David Bowie and Bryan Ferry and all, and actually, it’s just I’m a huge Bowie fan. I used to camp outside his house when I was 13.’

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