William Collier: Synopsis of a Memoir, Pt. 29 - The Thatch

March 03, 2016

As Vidal casually chatted with me my only thought was, “What is he thinking about this haircut I’m doing?”, which by now had dried enough to begin to take a specific shape. The hair on top was still wet and was lying somewhat flat, while the hair at the bottom was even more dry and beginning to increase in volume giving a sort of “A-Frame” look to the haircut. Sassoon looked down, then took a position directly behind my model and looking into the mirror declared, “The Thatch”. My models face had an enthusiastic smile which encouraged my relief and my concern changed to “I can go along with that.” It was an amazing endorsement on so many levels; the high master had spoken and created a space, for what moments prior had been questionable, to a place of honor and acclaim. The “Thatch” took on a life of its own being officially sanctioned by Christopher Brooker in a haircut he did for a photoshoot.


Now let’s be perfectly clear, the above account of the “birth of the Thatch” is accurate by my recollection, however this is in no way intended to suggest that I was, or ever would be on par with either of the aforementioned esteemed gentlemen. My connection was purely coincidental. Christopher Brooker is a story unto itself.

Christopher Brooker was the artistic director of the training center at the time and later became joint owner of the Sassoon Company. We had the privilege of his instruction during our training. Christopher got straight to the point at every turn in the road, no pun intended, and his technical skill was second to none. Mastery is the only word to describe his uniquely balanced artistry. My experience has been that hair design invites an application of both technical and conceptual expertise, causing each individual to have dominance in one or the other, some slight, some extreme. Christopher Brooker’s extreme skill in both realms was and is to this day the most well-orchestrated relationship of concept and technique that I personally have ever had the pleasure of witnessing. You can talk about the proverbial bar being raised and in most instances that would apply. Christopher Brooker however owns the over used and too often cliché term “off the chart.” His talent resides in that realm of exclusivity that has not yet been defined. My experience with Christopher after almost 50 years in the industry continues to serve me with the daily challenge of the pursuit of excellence which applies to all aspects of my life. Knowing him so briefly and so many years ago is a testament to the power of ongoing resonance. His gift could have been applied to many other professions. Thank you Christopher for your amazing contribution to an industry I truly love.

To continue would mean that I would have to come down from a memory that I truly cherish and I have a client in 45 minutes…..

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