Industry News

Choose Beauty: Vivienne Mackinder

Arlene Tolin | July 10, 2011 | 6:17 PM

Performance Artist

Vivienne Mackinder’s career began a little more than 30 years ago when, while working as a professional dancer, she became fascinated with hair design and make-up.

“I gave up dancing,” she says, to make the transformation from an “on-stage” to a “backstage” performance artist.

To learn the trade inside and out, Mackinder first attended the London College of Fashion, studying design for film and theater. But in 1975, she enrolled for training at Vidal Sassoon.

“I was asked to join the company while still a student. I worked in the salon, taught at the school and began editorial styling. From there I went on to become artistic director, and that was my introduction to the hair show business.”

Mackinder recalls her initiation into the fast-paced Sassoon environment as “a scary beginning.” She was learning the craft from Sassoon artists at the pinnacle of the profession but, she admits, she remained very naïve.

“I was a protégé of the greatest hairdressers in the world, including Annie Humphreys and Christopher Brooker, but had no idea how privileged I was. If I’d known, I would’ve had a nervous breakdown,” she laughs.

After her stint with Sassoon, Mackinder toured with Trevor Sorbie as his artistic director, finding new outlets for her flourishing talent through print and editorial assignments. “I saw the world via shows and seminars,” she says of the experience.

Today, as an independent entrepreneur, Mackinder is co-producing the fourth film in her documentary series profiling industry legends, titled “I’m Not Just a Hairdresser,” and on the construction of, which includes fashion footage and on-line tutorials for 87 cuts, color and dresswork.

Each step-by-step is preceded by a motivational message from a high-profile designer—a “huge undertaking” that Mackinder describes as a glimpse “inside the artists’ minds.”

When not involved with her pet projects or on the road conducting in-salon seminars or photo workshops, Mackinder keeps it real. She still makes time to see clients at the Oscar Bond Salon in Manhattan.

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