In 2009 Vivienne Mackinder was honored with the NAHA Lifetime Achievement Award, and she had already won five NAHAs prior including three years in a row in the Avant- Garde category.
Mackinder and her inventive approach meet the definition of “pre-eminent in the application of new techniques” and she continues to remain in the vanguard of hairdressing.
At 19, aspiring dancer Mackinder hung up her toe shoes and took up scissors. Mackinder trained in her native England at the London College of Fashion learning wig making, sculpting, the fundamentals of classic application and the history of hairdressing.
“We learned the why behind the how,” says Mackinder.
Her dream of being onstage did not align with her innate need to innovate. “I found I had no facility for repetition; I liked to do things once.”
A friend’s advice directed her next move. “Sometimes, people will make a statement that changes your life if you embrace it. A friend said: ‘Vivie, darling, if you’re going to go out there and work you must work for the best of the best and no compromise.’”
The best were her two mentors: Vidal Sassoon and Trevor Sorbie. “With Sassoon, I learned how to be an architect with my scissors. Trevor taught me how to be a sculptor with my razors and how to dress hair.”
She acted as artistic director for both industry icons while honing her skills as a stylist and discovering her facility for educating. She soon found herself directing shows and appearing on platform. “I’ve spent much more time on the stage than I would have had I stayed a dancer.”
Being the Best
Today, Mackinder’s base is New York. She is an in-demand session stylist, platform artist, speaker and educator. Mackinder created HairdesignerTV. com, an online educational academy. She also conducts live classes and is unfailingly generous in offering guidance to young stylists.
Mackinder advises: “Visit salons and see if there is anyone doing what you would like to be in five years. Look at their image, the quality of their work and how successful they are.”
“It is critical that a salon has an investment in education with accountability. Finally, don’t be too impatient to become great.”
Mackinder with her mentor, Vidal Sassoon. Sharing the Vision
Mackinder is Fashion Director for Intercoiffure (“It’s been an amazing journey”), she consults on education for Simplicity Hair Extensions and has become a certified John C. Maxwell leadership coach.
“As an artist you have to be able to say, what is my next reinvention? I want to help salon owners and managers. It’s about building teams. I collaborate and share visions and goals. That is part of being a leader. You can create anything if you can collaborate.”
“Every day, I get to celebrate and create beauty—the joy in this has never worn off.”