Simon Daniel is the salon director at Belle Toujours, a luxury one-stop hair, barber and beauty destination that’s recently opened on Cardiff’s Cathedral Road. The 32-year-old spoke to Emily Woodrow from Wales Online, and even revealed a few details about a certain celebrity whose hair he cut a few years back.
What inspired you to become a hairdresser?
I’m not sure really, a combination of a family history – my grandmother and two of my aunties were hairdressers – plus being on the receiving end of a lot of bad haircuts as a child. You could say I decided to take the matter into my own hands.
What’s the story behind Belle Toujours, owned by former footballer’s wife Claire Bellamy?
I’ve been Claire’s hairdresser for a number of years and it was something she had mentioned she’d wanted to do for a while. Last summer Claire approached me as she felt the time was right to develop her ambition. She felt I was the right person to partner with as we’ve established a mutual trust and friendship with each other, as well as sharing the same vision and values.
How did you come up with the name Belle Toujours?
We both decided we wanted to offer something luxurious and stylish, so naturally we thought of Paris, one of the most chic destinations in Europe. We knew we didn’t want a shop front or a typical salon façade and wanted a name that would reflect the beauty of the building with the luxury of the brand we were creating, Belle Toujours translates as ‘forever beautiful’ in French – we felt that was apt.
What sets Belle Toujours apart from other salons?
I think we have set a certain standard, from the luxury environment to the calibre of staff – all our employees have been handpicked using a head hunting company. Everything we offer is first class, from the brands we use to our customer service. We’ve added special touches which you would expect to find in a leading five star London-based salon such as a complimentary drinks menu and designer fragrances to spritz yourself with in our rest rooms. Our philosophy is affordable luxury – despite being awarded the prestigious five stars by the Good Salon guide our prices are surprisingly competitive.
You have been referred to as hairdresser to the stars; can you name some famous clients?
I have styled a lot of Welsh personalities over the past few years, from rugby and football players to singers and TV personalities – Charlotte Church is a regular client.
What’s the juiciest gossip a celebrity client has ever shared?
Now that would be telling. I have great relationships with my clients built on mutual trust and as a professional it’s my job to remain discreet. However I once got asked to style a certain ex-husband of Liza Minelli, David Guest’s hair when he was in town a few years back. Unfortunately I was busy at the time so sent a colleague who divulged that he vainly proclaimed throughout that he looked ‘so young’ for his years and encouraged my colleague to agree. In truth she thought that he looked ten years older but of course she didn’t tell him.
Who would your dream celebrity client be and why?
I would love to get my hands on Vivian Westwood, she is such an icon in the fashion industry and I think she’d look fantastic with a sleek bob, think Twiggy during the mod era, low side parting and cropped behind ears. I’d also make her colour warmer introducing honey hued tones. Also the beautiful HRH Kate Middleton has stunning glossy locks but tends to play it safe. A mid-length bob with subtle lighter tones framing the face would be flattering and on trend.
Who has inspired you throughout your career?
Industry related I have always looked up to Vidal Sassoon. He was an amazing individual who set the bar and helped shape the industry into what it is today. I would also have to say the general public as you get so much from observing the way non-industry people interpret hair fashion.
What are your ambitions?
To open Belle Toujours salons throughout the UK, but at the moment we’re focusing on the success of our first salon and hope the public buy into our vision. We’d love to have the team working on fashion shoots and shows too – that would be a great experience for them.