Where It All Began
Toni and Guy Mascolo opened their first hairdressing salon in South London in 1963. It was an ambitious move for the two brothers. Their family had only emigrated to England seven years previous, yet Toni and Guy, still only in their late teens, had gained the confidence to start up their own business.
Having arrived in England from their native Italy in the 1950’s, The Mascolo family settled in Clapham, South London, with eldest sons Toni and Guy both following their father’s footsteps into hairdressing.
Toni soon realised how much he enjoyed working as a hairdresser and continued to work alongside his father building a large clientele at Viccari’s salon in Cox Street, Mayfair. When this salon was sold, Francesco secured a place at the award-winning renato’s in Dover Street, where guy his younger son joined him to fulfill his apprenticeship.
Following three days of unemployment (the only such period in his lifetime), a young Toni Mascolo grew a moustache to create a more ‘mature’ appearance and became the manager of South London salon, Gerard’s, at just 16. Always keen to better himself, it wasn’t long before Toni moved back to Victoria Street, near Westminster, enjoying a high profile clientele and working gruelling fourteen-hour-long days in an effort to save enough money to buy his mother a house of her own. Meanwhile, Guy moves back to South London where his talent sees him headhunted to join busy Clapham salon, Cecile Moss.
12th December 1962 saw the tragic loss of their beloved mother and the realisation for Toni and Guy that they would now have to support their father and three younger brothers, the youngest of which, Anthony, was just five years old.
In 1963 Guy was offered the opportunity to take over the salon where he worked. Despite the huge risk involved, Toni elected to leave his well-paid job in a central London salon to join his brother in Clapham, though it would mean abandoning the large, loyal client base he had built.
In January 1963 the first TONI&GUY salon opened its doors and the brothers worked hard to build the business. With a large rent to pay, it was a struggle to survive. Having inherited some busy stylists from the original salon, including a young Pauline O’Donnell (later to be Mascolo, when she marries Toni in 1970), helped to boost the salon’s business, which quickly gained momentum. The brothers’ early promotional activity included leaflet drops in the local area advertising their ‘Italian style’.
A time of extreme change in youth culture, the 1960’s saw an explosion in fashion as attitudes were changing. TONI&GUY offered a unisex service in contrast to the traditional culture of salons and barbershops that were unable to cope with the new graphic shapes for women and men’s longer styles. By the end of 1964 the salon was fully booked and the brothers realised that they were destined for bigger things.
The 70’s marked the emergence of the TONI&GUY name in the British National press and trade journals throughout Europe, as well as a move to London’s famous west end.
Finding a location in the west end was no easy feat for a couple of young Italian hairdressers without financial backing, but the brothers knew it was a move that they needed to make. The first central London salon was established in 1973 and the opening of this base marked a significant turning point for the TONI&GUY brand. Sudden press interest in the Mascolo brothers’ work enabled them to diversify their talents.
Whilst Toni and Guy were based at the salon continuing to build a financially strong business, Bruno and Anthony (the youngest brother) now joined their older brothers, promoting the TONI&GUY name by focusing on photographic sessions and magazine work. The brothers’ refusal to slavishly follow styles and techniques added a unique twist to their work. Offering clients a stark alternative to the strong geometric styles revolutionising hairdressing at the time, the brothers’ approach was commercial, feminine and blow-dried with round brushes for a softer finish.
Within two years, the mayfair salon was fully booked. The original Clapham salon is sold to finance the huge expansion needed to meet demand. Toni returns to the west end to join his brothers – TONI&GUY had become a destination salon.
The brothers ‘new wave’ approach to cutting and styling hair had become something other hairdressers wanted to learn from, while their shared talent for working with long hair continued to inspire their industry peers. For the first time, the TONI&GUY artistic team, including young stylist pat stokes (later know as Mascolo after she marries Anthony in 1986), began to conduct seminars and shows to packed audiences, touring throughout the world. Always pioneering in their approach, the brothers realised the potential in recording these live experiences and launched a series of educational videos for hairdressers to learn from, together with the tools needed to recreate the looks of the era.
During the 80’s, the TONI&GUY artistic team continued to develop the demand for TONI&GUY education, which saw them regularly travelling all over the world to showcase their work by conducting shows and seminars.
In late 1979, the brothers established the TIGI brand. TIGI gel was the first of many products launched, closely followed by TIGI rollers and TIGI scissors. Education was expanding fast and the TONI&GUY video library continued to support the artistic team’s teaching – all underlining the strong commitment the Mascolo brothers had to education.
In 1982 a second London salon was opened in Sloane Square, Chelsea and the first educational base was launched in 1984, with an academy solely dedicated to education, in St Christopher’s Place, London. In 1985 Bruno moved to America to establish a base in Dallas, Texas with an aim of developing a stateside presence.
The UK operation continued to grow and in the later part of the 80’s, Toni made the pioneering move into franchising. Driven by a desire to keep exceptional staff within the company, Toni offered trusted hairdressers the opportunity to own their own salon, without having to leave the security of TONI&GUY. The first hairdressing company to expand in this way, by the end of the decade Toni had launched salons in Twickenham, Surrey, followed closely by Brighton, East Sussex and Guildford, Surrey.
Anthony and his wife Pat continued to forge ahead creatively with the 80’s seeing Anthony move into photography, where he began shooting his own work. A departure from only working in front of the camera, the results saw his images published in numerous magazines, whilst Pat wrote and edited the TONI&GUY books. Their combined directional and experimental approach saw them pushing new boundaries to huge critical acclaim.
By the end of the decade Anthony had won the titles of London, Avant-garde and British Hairdresser of the Year with the Artistic team winning Best British Artistic Team twice at the newly launched British hairdressing awards. TONI&GUY was on a high creatively and business was set to boom.
The start of the decade saw the company continuing to develop its traditional team and family philosophy, with the addition of Toni’s children Sacha and Christian as fully established members of the TONI&GUY artistic team.
A time of extreme growth, the company’s expansion gathered momentum throughout the 90’s. Thanks to Toni’s successful franchising program, salons opened at a rapid pace both in the UK and overseas, with numerous staff seizing the opportunity to own their own TONI&GUY salon. TONI&GUY moved to Australia to establish the brand in 1995 with the first salon opening on Oxford Street, Darlinghurst that November. By the end of the 90’s, Toni had launched a further 112 TONI&GUY salons in the UK along with 27 internationally. Meanwhile in the USA, Guy had joined Bruno and together they continued to expand the salon network, opening company-owned salons across the state of Texas.
To accommodate the growing demand for education, both inside and outside of the company, the artistic team grew in size too. This growth was a re-affirmation of the brothers’ belief in the importance of communication and teamwork. The company also continued to produce an annual collection created by the main International artistic directors to ensure continuity of the TONI&GUY techniques and philosophies within the rapidly expanding network. TIGI haircare continued to extend its range and achieved recognition for the quality of its products wherever distributors were appointed.
Demonstrating her exceptional talent at an early age, Sacha’s achievements were recognised at the 1991 British hairdressing awards when she received the ‘Newcomer of the Year’ accolade at the age of just 19. By the end of the decade, Sacha had added the title of ‘London hairdresser of the Year’ to her achievements, when she won the title in 1999. Sacha’s exceptional creativity also saw her bring a whole new dynamic to the company with her move into the world of session hairdressing, shooting with numerous photographers including iconic names such as David Bailey and Rankin, plus working on fashion weeks in New York, London, Paris and Milan. This unique insight into session hairdressing and experience within the fashion industry was to drastically shape the future direction of TONI&GUY.
With an aim to create a solid business base for his children, Toni launched the essensuals hairdressing brand in 1997. With Sacha at the creative helm, supported by her business-minded brother Christian, the ‘essensuals’ concept built in momentum and added to Toni’s ever-expanding network of salons. With over 50 salons opened in two years, essensuals became the fastest growing business Toni had launched to date.
The new millennium not only marked a new era but also a significant change for TONI&GUY.
For TONI&GUY global, Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck in her position as global creative director brought a dynamic new focus and a marked shift in direction, with fashion moving to the forefront of the brand’s identity. In 2004 the landmark decision to become the ‘Official sponsor of London Fashion Week’ further cemented this fashion focus – inextricably linking TONI&GUY with the fashion industry.
Sacha’s editorial approach also drastically changed the image of the brand as she began to art-direct all of the brand advertising and window campaigns for TONI&GUY, label.m and essensuals.
Following the demerger from TIGI, Toni and Sacha saw the need to create a professional haircare range to support the fashion-led techniques the team was creating. Working closely with her father, she led the product development and design of the label.m professional haircare range, which launched in 2005.
This decade also saw TONI&GUY launch its first TONI&GUY branded consumer haircare range, again designed and developed by Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck, and by the end of the 00’s this range was available worldwide.
2002 saw Sacha’s husband James Tarbuck join the company as Global Brand Director, launching TONI&GUY.TV the same year. An in-salon digital network, TONI&GUY.TV was the first of its kind in the UK and was quickly followed by the launch of an award-winning eponymous consumer magazine – all adding to the customer experience.
The 00’s saw Toni expand the salon business further, with TONI&GUY’s global presence continuing to move into exciting new territories. This decade also saw Toni rewarded by both his native Italy with a Cavaliere Ufficiale (Italian knighthood) and his adopted home, England, with an honorary OBE for his services to the hairdressing industry.
The 00’s also saw the brand receive two of its most significant accolades to date, with TONI&GUY achieving both Superbrand and Coolbrand status. This is a real tribute to TONI&GUY’s ability to retain that all-important edge, whilst remaining a much loved and trusted brand name, as voted for by the British public.