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Belsize Park barber to Oliver Reed, Sean Bean and Oliver Letwin blames David Beckham for decline in men’s hairdressing

PUBLISHED: 13:00 11 October 2013

Hairdresser Peter Anthony at working on one of his last cuts. Picture: Polly Hancock

Hairdresser Peter Anthony at working on one of his last cuts. Picture: Polly Hancock

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An old-fashioned barber who styled countless high profile figures has lamented the decline in men’s hairdressing – as he closes his Belsize Village salon after nearly three decades.

Hairdresser Peter Anthony outside the salon he ran for 28 years. Picture: Polly HancockHairdresser Peter Anthony outside the salon he ran for 28 years. Picture: Polly Hancock

Peter Anthony, 64, cut the hair of actors Oliver Reed, Richard Wilson and Sean Bean, boxer Henry Cooper and Conservative MP Oliver Letwin in a career that began in the 1960s and took in stints in Mayfair and New York.

He founded his Haute Coiffure studio in Belsize Lane in 1986, but the salon closed its doors on Saturday after 27 years.

“It felt very daunting and very sad, but I think it’s the start of a new chapter for me,” he said.

“It’s the end of a good era and I’m going to miss all of my clients. A lot of them were very eminent and very friendly and I’m going to miss them.”

As he hung up his scissors, Mr Anthony said he was among the last of a dying breed, with few high-end stylists focusing on men’s hair these days.

“Unfortunately there’s no apprenticeships anymore for barbering, for men’s hairdressing,” he said.

“There’s a massive amount of ladies’ hairdressing schools, but barbering is a dying trade.”

He laid some of the blame for this decline at the feet of David Beckham, saying the footballer’s decision to shave his head started a worrying trend.

“He didn’t do a lot for the business,” he said. “He created all these boys with very short haircuts, he started all that.

“Now it’s getting so bad in men’s hairdressing, there’s not many of us left.”

Mr Anthony got started in the trade when he was a teenage rock guitarist, who used to cut his bandmates’ hair.

He often took an unconventional approach to running Haute Coiffure. He worked exclusively by appointment, turning away anyone who arrived at the door, while his premises were decked out in unique fashion, with a grand piano, bar, mirrored ceiling and countless portraits of celebrity customers.

The barber added: “You become a bit of an amateur psychologist for clients. They tell me problems they would not tell their doctor.”

Regular client Ronel Lehmann, chief executive of a marketing and communications agency, lamented the salon’s closure as the “end of an era”.

Mr Lehmann, 49, who first visited Haute Coiffure in 1986 when he lived in Belsize Crescent, said: “He’s a wonderful man and he has been the heart and soul of Belsize Village for many years.

“It’s the end of an era, he is an institution in village life and will be missed by the community.”


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