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The University opened its studios for a unique collaboration with celebrity hairstylist Andrew Barton, senior academic Donna Bevan and the BA (Hons) Make-up and Hair Pro team

5th July 2022

The students were given the opportunity to help create marketing and press images for the relaunch of the Beehives, Bobs & Blowdries exhibition.


Image: The Beehive look

This first of its kind exhibition reveals the art and skills of the celebrity hair stylists that have given us some of the most iconic looks of the past 70 years and explores the innovations, pop culture influences and economic shifts that have shaped the hair industry. 

When it comes to the Piece Hall in September 2022, the exhibition will take visitors on a fascinating hair journey through history. It has been created in collaboration with fashion research consultant and Solent academic Donna Bevan to explore the key hairstyles and technological innovations from the 1950s onwards.

Donna has been delving into the archives and interviewing industry experts to develop a curatorial journey through the last 70 years of the hairdressing industry. Works will range from original advertising and products to specially crafted wigs styled by celebrity hairdresser Andrew Barton.

She says: “I have been writing about hair and make-up since the 1990s and I grew up in a hair salon, so it is especially important to me to create this exhibition. Wherever the exhibition travels we will always include the local hair stories to the journey. Making my research more open to the public and more outward facing, speaking to the wider community, is really key to my way of working.

“It’s always a pleasure to be collaborating with Andrew, this exhibition allows us to bring together our passion for this amazing industry and its legacy. We have the perfect combination of skills and expertise which has allowed us to evolve this unique look at hair. The future of the hair salon industry is important to this new version of the exhibition with sustainability and innovation at its core. Quite simply, we want to take you back to the hair future.”

Students involved in showcasing their talents include alumni from Solent’s hair and make-up course. Former Make-up and Hair Design student Laura Dixon says: “Working with Andrew Barton and Donna Bevan is such a wonderful experience to work with people within the industry and I am thrilled to be involved.”

The exhibition highlights the cultural significance of hair fashion, hair styling techniques and celebrity hairdressing and displays the role that hair has played in society and pop culture.

The integral photo shoot took place on 18 May to capture the latest trends and technical aspects of hairdressing for the promotional material ahead of the event. For the project, Photographer Gino Sprio, a senior academic at Solent University have produced the images.

On the day of the shoot, Andrew Barton, award-winning hairdresser, said: “I am really chuffed to be here at Solent - I have an Honorary Doctor of Arts from the University which I was so proud to receive.

“Today we are preparing some amazing images which will represent the fantastic exhibition that myself and Donna Bevan have co-curated. It will chart the cultural, political, historic and fashion moments of hair and hairdressing over the past 70 years. Donna comes from an academic background, and I have a passion being in the hairdressing industry. We are delighted it will appear in Yorkshire later this year – where we both grew up.”

He continued “I work a lot in education- I have a training scholarship programme called ABLE (Andrew Barton London Education). I spend a lot of time with students, and it is always so great to see their passion and excitement for what they dream of for their careers in the future.”


Image: The Bob look

Beehives, Bobs & Blowdries is sponsored by L’Oreal Professionnel plus Andrew Barton London Education (ABLE), Banbury Postiche, Haircuts 4 Homeless, Little Princess Trust, Racoon International, SLBPR and Solent University.

The exhibition will be opening on the 17 September at The Piece Hall in Halifax with a press event taking place on 15 September with curator talks and activities available from 17 –21 September. The exhibition will be on display until 16 October 2022.


Image: The Blowdry look