Vintage vision

Nail art and blow dry bar Tommy Guns, featuring Nailporn, has brought the traditional décor from a gentlemen’s barbershop back to the future.

The periodic features of the new Tommy Guns salon and Nailporn nail bar encompass the art deco style of the 1920s. Located on the lower ground floor of fashion retailer Superdry’s newest store on London’s Regent Street, the salon brings back to life the old barbershop, which originally opened there in 1929 in what was then an Austin Reed shop.
Back then Austin Reed tasked two architects, Joseph Emberton and Percy Westwood, to create a gentlemen’s barbershop in his menswear store. The salon remained as it was for over 80 years until it was taken over by London spa group O Spa, which renovated and modernised the salon, covering up the old features and building five treatment rooms.
Last year, Superdry approached Steven Ross, who already owned Tommy Guns on London’s Beak Street, to devise a new salon concept. “Superdry recognised Tommy Guns as a hairdressing brand which has a look and feel of the 1920s. This style of design is what they wanted to recreate for the new blow dry bar and beauty parlour,” says Ross.
While the salon was left in a sorry state, the original features were still there as the building is Grade I listed and belongs to the Crown
Estate. “It took a lot of restoration work, knocking down the five treatment rooms to create one big space and replacing worn out features, such as the horrible taps, with old art deco ones,” he says.
The main room features the blow dry bar, which has been restored to its original design. A beautiful 1930s glassware light takes centre stage. The separate beauty parlour holds Sophy Robson’s Nailporn nail art bar and Lash Perfect’s lash station, and was designed in keeping with the main room. Ross commissioned a burnt walnut table for the nail desk, sourced original wallpaper from the period and even found classic Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chairs, originally designed in 1929 for the Spanish king and queen at the World Art Fair Exposition in Spain. These are now used for the nail stations to make them more sympathetic to the era.
Sophy Robson was brought onboard by Superdry to create inventive nail art treatments but Ross felt the Lash Perfect lash bunker, which is the eyelash extension brand’s first concession, would also be a good fit for the beauty parlour. “The salon is an interesting blend of vintage interior features from traditional English heritage, with modern treatment twists,” he says. PB


Size: The beauty parlour covers 500sq ft of the 2,500sq ft barbershop
Opened: April 2012 
Number of stations: Four nail stations plus one lash station 
Treatment prices: From £1.50 to £23 for nails and £5 to £50 for lashes
Beauty brands: Essie, Lash Perfect