By 1970, I was in full flight as a hairdresser, working in central London as creative director at Harrod’s Beauty Salon Knightsbridge.
During this time, my days were spent working at Vogue, Harper’s Bazaar, Nova, Vanity Fair working with top photographers David Bailey, Helmut Newton, Bert Stern, Norman Parkinson, Barry Lategan, David Montgomery, and Clive Arrowsmith, just to name a few.
I had just started my creative job in “Harrods the best departmental store in the world” The beauty salon was owned and run by the large American corporation Seligman and Latz who ran over a 1000 salons around the world.
My job at Harrod's was to create stories and pictures for the PR department. My photographic shoots were almost daily, and my show work for L'Oreal, Wella, Schwartzkopf and Clairol kept me busy on many weekends. When I had the free time I was planning other photo shoots or going to Paris with Vidal to see the big fashion shows.
My publicist was a young cockney girl, Caroline Neville, that handled my wife Maxine in her French boutique ‘Maxine Leighton’ in Conduit Street just off Bond Street. Caroline was the best PR then and still is. I was creating unusual titles for photo shoots, such as ‘The Gary Glitters’ – ‘The Biggest Wig in the World’ – ‘The Million Dollar Hair Do’ - The David Bowie or DB (Ducks Behind as I called it then). Caroline had the touch to release these stories through the year to the national media.
One of Caroline’s clients was a young man called Laurence Graff who was fast becoming one of the top jewelers in London. I worked with him on the image you see in this story. We used a million dollars worth of jewels to work with which I’m pretty sure had never been done before. Laurence Graff had a revolver with him and somewhere I have the photograph of him holding it with the model and Harold together. I think the only time such a hairdo was put together like this was with Cleopatra! With the shot that Eamon did in 2013 to celebrate the 60th Anniversary in the diamond business, I need to ask the question: how many guards were outside and inside the studio? With over 40 shops around the world, Laurence Graff remains one of the most sought-after, respected and treasured names in the jewelry industry.
Caroline placed the story and my photographs in 'The Evening Standard’ and the rest is hair history!
Credits for the first black and white photo 1969 December
Jewels by Laurence Graff
Hair story and creation by Harold Leighton
Photography by Vic Singh
Publicity by Caroline Neville
2013 Hair by Eamon Hughes
Photography by David Slijper
All Jewels by Graff Diamonds