Hair stylist Nicky Clarke forced to shut Mayfair salon after 30 years as Covid closures take toll

When the first lockdown ended in 2020, long tails snaked outside hairdressers and barber’s shops.

But now Britain’s most famous hair stylist has suddenly closed his flagship Mayfair salon after more than 30 years – blaming the pandemic for killing the West End.

Nicky Clarke, 63, whose clients have included Princess Diana, the Duchess of York (who performed the opening ceremony), Margaret Thatcher, Elizabeth Taylor and David Bowie, left staff at his salon opposite the Connaught hotel devastated on Monday when he informed them ‘ with great regret’ he was shutting down immediately.

Nicky Clarke has announced he will close the iconic Mayfair hairdressers in West London that helped propel the hair stylist to fame after building pressure from Covid-19.  Clarke, who became famous as the hairdresser of many celebrities, said international clients have been unable to visit, and Mayfair is no longer a residential area, meaning the business cannot rely on passing footfall to make up losses

Nicky Clarke has announced he will close the iconic Mayfair hairdressers in West London that helped propel the hair stylist to fame after building pressure from Covid-19. Clarke, who became famous as the hairdresser of many celebrities, said international clients have been unable to visit, and Mayfair is no longer a residential area, meaning the business cannot rely on passing footfall to make up losses

‘This prestigious salon has been in Mayfair for over 30 years and has been a huge part of our lives, both personally and professionally,’ Clarke said.

‘However, the last two years have been the toughest we have experienced, with Covid-enforced, long-term closures, rising rates and overheads making the salon no longer economically sustainable.’

Clarke, whose business empire was said to be worth £60million before Covid struck, added: ‘This was not an easy decision to make, we have spent months exploring alternative solutions to keep the salon in business but unfortunately these have not come to fruition.

‘All staff impacted will be paid fully and all our obligations to them fulfilled. We’re incredibly grateful to the dedication and hard work of every single member of staff.’

Fergie cuts the ribbon as hairdresser Nicky Clarke lends a helping hand at the Royal opening of his Mayfair hairdressing salon.  Clarke founded the business with his long-term girlfriend, Lesley Clarke, 68, thanks to a £20,000 loan.  But the pair, who have two grown-up children, split up after Nicky had an affair with Susie Bick, a Vivienne Westwood model.  However, they continued as business partners

Fergie cuts the ribbon as hairdresser Nicky Clarke lends a helping hand at the Royal opening of his Mayfair hairdressing salon. Clarke founded the business with his long-term girlfriend, Lesley Clarke, 68, thanks to a £20,000 loan. But the pair, who have two grown-up children, split up after Nicky had an affair with Susie Bick, a Vivienne Westwood model. However, they continued as business partners

A haircut with Clarke, whose hands were once insured for £1million, costs £650. On one occasion, he was booked by L’Oreal to style film star Isabella Rossellini’s hair. ‘I did three blow-dries for £12,000,’ he explained.

He founded the business with long-term girlfriend, Lesley Clarke, 68, thanks to a £20,000 loan. But the pair, who have two grown-up children, split up after Nicky had an affair with Susie Bick, a Vivienne Westwood model.

However, they continued as business partners. Lesley told the Daily Mail: ‘It’s heart-breaking. I’m really sad. It’s something I never thought would happen, but the pandemic took its toll on us.

‘The lack of footfall in Mayfair, the rents, the rates, no travel because we have a lot of international clients. Mayfair isn’t a residential area any more – we couldn’t even rely on passing trade. It was a joint decision.

‘We tried very hard to keep it going and we both put our own money in. It’s like losing a child. The staff are like a family.’

Clarke, who was raised in a London council flat, received an OBE in 2008 and was the first crimper to appear in Who’s Who.

He says he’s committed to keeping his salon in Birmingham open, as well as his electrical hair tools business. Last year, he married fashion designer Kelly Simpkin, 40, with whom he has two young children.

They met 12 years ago when Kelly was a stylist in his salon. He admitted to finding being an older father challenging, saying: ‘I should be driving Ferraris, not changing nappies and getting up at six in the morning.’

Clarke, who was raised in a London council flat, received an OBE in 2008 and was the first crimper to appear in Who's Who.  He says he's committed to keeping his salon in Birmingham open, as well as his electrical hair tools business.  Last year, he married fashion designer Kelly Simpkin, 40, with whom he has two young children.  They met 12 years ago when Kelly was a stylist in his salon

Clarke, who was raised in a London council flat, received an OBE in 2008 and was the first crimper to appear in Who’s Who. He says he’s committed to keeping his salon in Birmingham open, as well as his electrical hair tools business. Last year, he married fashion designer Kelly Simpkin, 40, with whom he has two young children. They met 12 years ago when Kelly was a stylist in his salon

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