Hairdresser Nicky Clarke forced to close Mayfair salon after 30 years as Covid closures take their toll

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When the first lockdown ended in 2020, long queues snaked past hairdressers and barbershops.

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

Nicky Clarke, 63, whose clients included Princess Diana, the Duchess of York (who officiated the opening ceremony), Margaret Thatcher, Elizabeth Taylor and David Bowie, left her salon staff in front of the ‘Connaught Hotel devastated on Monday when he informed them ‘with great regret’ it was closing immediately.

Nicky Clarke has announced he will be closing the iconic hairdressers in Mayfair in west London which helped propel the hairdresser to fame after mounting pressure from Covid-19. Clarke, who rose to fame as the hairstylist for many celebrities, said international clients had been unable to visit and Mayfair was no longer a residential area meaning the business could not rely on passages to compensate for losses.

“This prestigious show has been in Mayfair for over 30 years and is a big part of our lives, both personally and professionally,” said Clarke.

“However, the past two years have been the most difficult we have seen, with long-term Covid-enforced closures, rising rates and overheads making the salon more economically viable.”

Clarke, whose business empire was worth £60million before Covid hit, added: ‘It was not an easy decision to make, we spent months exploring alternative solutions to keep the salon going. , but unfortunately these did not materialize.

“All affected staff will be fully paid and all our obligations to them will be fulfilled. We are extremely grateful for the dedication and hard work of each staff member.

Fergie cuts the ribbon as hairstylist Nicky Clarke helps out at the royal opening of her Mayfair hair salon.  Clarke started the business with his longtime girlfriend Lesley Clarke, 68, with a loan of £20,000.  But the couple, who have two grown children, separated after Nicky had an affair with Vivienne Westwood model Susie Bick.  However, they continued as business partners

Fergie cuts the ribbon as hairstylist Nicky Clarke helps out at the royal opening of her Mayfair hair salon. Clarke started the business with his longtime girlfriend Lesley Clarke, 68, with a loan of £20,000. But the couple, who have two grown children, separated after Nicky had an affair with Vivienne Westwood model Susie Bick. However, they continued as business partners

A haircut with Clarke, whose hands were once insured for £1million, costs £650. On one occasion, he was hired by L’Oréal to style the hair of film star Isabella Rossellini. “I did three brushes for £12,000,” he explained.

He started the business with his longtime girlfriend Lesley Clarke, 68, with a loan of £20,000. But the couple, who have two grown children, separated after Nicky had an affair with Vivienne Westwood model Susie Bick.

However, they continued as business partners. Lesley told the Daily Mail: “It’s heartbreaking. I’m really sad. It’s something I never thought would happen, but the pandemic has taken its toll on us.

“The lack of footfall in Mayfair, the rents, the prices, no travel because we have a lot of international customers. Mayfair is no longer a residential area – we couldn’t even rely on passing trade anymore. It was a joint decision.

“We did our best to keep it going and we both invested our own money. It’s like losing a child. The staff are like family.

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

He says he is committed to keeping his Birmingham salon open, as well as his power hair tool 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 her salon. He admitted to finding it difficult being an older father, saying: “I should be driving Ferraris, not changing nappies and getting up at six in the morning.”

Clarke, who grew up in a London council flat, received an OBE in 2008 and was the first stoner to appear in Who's Who.  He says he is committed to keeping his Birmingham salon open, as well as his power hair tool 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 her salon

Clarke, who grew up in a London council flat, received an OBE in 2008 and was the first stoner to appear in Who’s Who. He says he is committed to keeping his Birmingham salon open, as well as his power hair tool 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 her salon

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