With a career spanning almost 40 years, Nicky Clarke OBE is recognised as one of the best hairdressers in the world, establishing his own mark as a pioneer in the industry. He has styled the world’s most famous faces including Royalty, pop icons from David Bowie to Duffy, and movie stars - Christian Bale for Batman, Freida Pinto, Penelope Cruz, and Sienna Miller.
Nicky Clarke’s fascination with hairdressing began in his early teens and he started his career aged 17 at legendary hairdressers House of Leonard, going on to complete his apprenticeship in a record 10 months instead of the usual three years. By the age of 18 he had already been styling hair for illustrious fashion shows including Zandra Rhodes and Yves Saint Laurent; he also achieved his first Vogue spread covering six pages of fashion.
In 1976, he left House of Leonard under the tutelage of John Frieda to work at the John Frieda Clifford Stafford salon in Marylebone, fast becoming their most productive and innovative stylist in the salon and photographic studio, and expanding his own hair gallery with hair test shots. Clifford Stafford and John Frieda parted company in 1980 and Clarke continued with what has now become the John Frieda salon. From 1980-1990 he was the most sought after and expensive hairdresser in the country, dividing his time equally between the salon and magazine shoots for major publications including Vogue (British, American, Italian), Harpers & Queen, Tatler etc. Clarke created many celebrity hairstyles during this period, including iconic looks for Duran Duran, Brian Ferry, Brooke Shields, and Diana Ross, and Selina Scott’s short sporty cut.
In 1988 and again in 1989 Clarke won the most prestigious industry award 'Session Hairdresser of the Year'. In 1991 he opened his first salon in Mayfair to unprecedented acclaim in a ribbon-cutting opening ceremony by the Duchess of York, attended by many celebrities and every national newspaper. Numerous awards followed, including ‘London Hairdresser of the Year’ in 1992, 1994 and 1995, ‘British Hairdresser of the Year’ in 1994, ‘British Fellowship of the Year’ 1994, and ‘Image of the Year’ 1994.
In 1993, Clarke launched his haircare product line - the first luxury haircare brand to hit national supermarket shelves. 1997 saw the launch of his incredibly successful electrical product range, and in 2000 he published his book Hair Power.
He first appeared on television in the mid ‘80s leading to a weekly slot on This Morning in 1994 which lasted nine years, and he joined the team of BBC’s Style Challenge in 1996. Other appearances include The Clothes Show, Ten Years Younger, and From The Top for Channel 4. Most recently he took part in The Jump, Through the Keyhole, Ant and Dec's Saturday Night Takeaway, The Paul O’Grady Show, Celebrity Come Dine With Me, Newsnight, BBC documentary Trouble at the Top, and gameshows Pointless Celebrities and Celebrity Fifteen to One in 2015.
In 2008 Clarke was awarded an OBE by Her Majesty the Queen for Services to Hairdressing, and in October 2014 he won ‘Outstanding Contribution to London Style’ at London Lifestyle Awards.