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Edward Darley and the colour of Sassoon

Edward Darly from Sassoon Edward Darley is the UK Colour Director for the prestigious Sassoon brand. Over 23 years has shaped some of the most defining looks from Sassoon, and educated hundreds of colourists with an unwavering passion and dedication.

Where it all began

"My upbringing is as far removed from my job today as you could possibly imagine," says Edward Darley, UK Colour Director at Sassoon. "I lived in a tiny village called Follifoot in the wilds of Yorkshire and was a gamekeeper’s son, so it was the classic English country life – all hunting, shooting and fishing. When I got to 18 I realised I didn't fit in and decided to re-invent myself in the city."

Edward began his hairdressing career in a small salon in Harrogate called 22 Over 7, the owners of which had trained at Sassoon. It didn't take him long to realise that Sassoon was where he wanted to be. He also realised that colour was the way to go.

"Training at 22 Over 7 took place in the evenings and I took to colouring techniques like a duck to water, and seemed to be better than everyone else! I have always loved exploring colour and the surprise of waiting to see the results is magical. When I finally arrived at Sassoon, I fell in love with the camaraderie of it all – it’s more than just hairdressing. I'm honoured to be filling the shoes of those who have gone before me," says Edward.

Finding inspiration

Edward’s country background still provides incredible inspiration. "I love the understated – I love monochrome but I also admire English eccentricity – clothes that seem normal in the country but when worn in the city suddenly become bizarre: plus fours, Barbour jackets and Wellington boots. I’d never go down the flash road! My inspiration also comes from the creative team I work with; I am honoured to have 38 colourists working around me, continually searching for new ways to express the Sassoon look."

Sassoon hair model

We've always wondered, when colourists are surrounded by so much inspiration, and of course, so many opinions, how does an Art Team decide what that brand’s specific colour trends are going to be each season?

"I work alongside International Creative Director Mark Hayes, UK Creative Director Bruce Masefield and the rest of the UK Creative Team to develop and create four Sassoon seasonal collections a year."

"Putting together each collection is a truly inspirational process. Sometimes it will start with a definite idea, or a particular style period or with the most abstract of concepts. It takes a long time to define the colour palette and each key trend to ensure they are all relevant and wearable for the Sassoon fashion-forward audience."

Edward feels that Sassoon techniques are the key to his success – "they offer a way of achieving whatever you want with your hair colour. When you know the method you can do anything you want, and that’s when the creativity begins".

And what about celebrity influences?

"It is very important to look at the world of celebrities and what is happening around us," says Edward. "The salons are bursting with creativity and the teams give exceptional guest service, ensuring each guest leaves totally happy with their hair colour. Sometimes a guest is inspired by their favourite celebrity and they bring in a picture in for us to interpret," says Edward.

What advice would you give to someone who wants to be the very best colourist they can be?

"Passion, dedication and commitment are all important factors to be successful. But most of all, enjoy what you do every day."

Trends, past and present

The latest collection for Spring Summer 14, Bi-Couture, explores ‘The Mallen Streak’ which complements the outfits of the models like a fashion accessory.

"Here a minimal amount of hair can make maximum impact: it can be easily personalised using different colour combinations and techniques, plus placed strategically, it can really amplify the shape and balance of the overall look," says Edward.

The Bi-Couture colour palette is inspired by nature; natural brown and mother of pearl blonde is accented with violet; light browns are shot through with warm hints of iridescent rose gold that shimmers when touched by light and rich browns flash with supernatural Mallen Streaks of strong violet, smoky grey and vibrant saffron. Shade builds on shade and tone builds on tone, giving a three dimensional beauty to the hair by extending and amplifying its lines. A feeling of volume is created via darker colour through the nape of the hair building to a lighter surface, accentuating textured elements of the cut.

Indola Candy Gangster model

So, are there any colour trends that Edward wishes would die a death?

"Ombré – it’s a tired trend. Colour should convey an individual’s personality and trends should be adapted to stay current. Sassoon is all about individual suitability – a Sassoon colourist will advise on skin tone and lifestyle to make the right choice for you," says Edward.

First published in the Capital Hair & Beauty magazine.