"With more than 475 salons across 48 countries,
co-founder Toni Mascolo and his brother Guy started TONI&GUY
back in 1963 with a single salon in Clapham, London."
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. A celebrated hairdresser himself, Francesco Mascolo had taught all of his sons to cut hair from an early age and despite Toni’s interest in academic studies and a desire to pursue a career in law, his move to London put an end to that dream and Toni began working as his father’s assistant in a busy London salon.
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 moved back to South London where his talent saw 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.
Having now successfully launched three growing salons in South London, the brothers recognised they needed to build a strong team to support the growth of the business - instilling in them a shared philosophy and educating them in the new fashion-led techniques they were creating.
However, the South London location was proving to be a challenge when looking to recruit driven team members or finding publications willing to publish the photographic work they were now starting to produce. 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 was sold to finance the huge expansion needed to meet demand and Toni returned 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 to be known as Mascolo after she married 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.
The new millennium not only marked a new era but also a significant change for TONI&GUY.
During the decade that saw the company celebrate a milestone of forty years in business came the demerger between the four brothers that saw the separation of TONI&GUY USA and TIGI global to brothers Guy, Bruno and Anthony, and TONI&GUY global (excluding the Americas) to Toni, Sacha and Christian – marking an exciting new direction for each of the brands.
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.
HAIR – FASHION – HERITAGE. In this decade TONI&GUY celebrates 50 years of hairdressing excellence, providing an opportunity to embrace and celebrate the unique heritage that it has cultivated.
TONI&GUY further cemented its fashion credentials as the partnership with the British Fashion Council continued to develop throughout the decade. 2010 saw another hairdressing first when Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck and husband James Tarbuck joined the British Fashion Council for the Vogue Fashion Fund. The same year also saw Sacha and her session team working with British designers at both Paris and New York fashion weeks. TONI&GUY began to forge unique partnerships with key British design talent including designers William Tempest, Giles Deacon, Todd Lynn and Jean-Pierre Braganza.
These unique relationships also saw label.m professional haircare benefit from several designer collaborations. In 2011 TONI&GUY became an Official sponsor of the British Fashion Awards, further cementing its place within the fashion industry.
Despite a challenging economic climate, Toni Mascolo continued to expand the salon network, adding new territories to the ever-expanding global presence. The launch of a new salon group, essensuals London, also saw Toni establish his first franchise salons in North America – with doors opening in New Jersey and Plano, Texas. Toni received further awards thanks to his unique style of leadership, including a ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ from the Fellowship of British Hairdressing.
The TONI&GUY artistic team led by Sacha Mascolo-Tarbuck continued to forge ahead creatively, creating fashion-focused campaigns that were featured in every major fashion and beauty publication. Teaching an average of 100,000 hairdressers a year TONI&GUY’s International artistic directors continued to set new standards in hair; dominating the hairdressing industry’s Avant-garde awards and creating the hair for more London fashion week shows each season than any other session team.
The continued digitisation of the brand under the direction of James Tarbuck saw many new and exciting firsts for the hairdressing industry. With the global expansion of TONI&GUY.TV, the digital magazine, the TONI&GUY mobile application, online shop, free in-salon wi-fi and educational downloads, TONI&GUY continues to embrace new technologies to communicate with both the hairdresser and consumer alike.
With an eye firmly on the future, TONI&GUY continues to take on exciting new challenges and collaborations. 2013 saw label.m receive the ultimate seal of fashion approval, as the range became the 'Official Haircare Product of London Fashion Week' - a landmark move for the British Fashion Council and a first for the hairdressing industry. This plus numerous collaborations with key British design talent reinforces TONI&GUY's position as the fashion led hairdresser.