London celebrity hairstylist Nicky Clarke forced to close salon after Covid: ‘It’s heartbreaking’

A Mayfair hair stylist to the stars has been forced to close his salon after 30 years because of the Covid pandemic.

icky Clarke – whose clients have included Princess Diana, Margaret Thatcher and David Bowie – told salon staff with “great regret” on Monday he was closing immediately.

The business said the combination of the Covid pandemic, declining passing trade in Mayfair and rising rates all contributed towards the decision to shut up shop.

Clarke, 63, told the Daily Mail: “The last two years have been the toughest we have experienced, with Covid-enforced, long-term closures, rising rates and overheads making the salon no longer economically sustainable.

“This was not an easy decision to make, we have spent months exploring alternative solutions to keep the salon in business but unfortunately these have not come to fruition.

“All staff impacted will be paid fully and all our obligations to them fulfilled. We’re incredibly grateful to the dedication and hard work of every single member of staff.”

A haircut at the top salon would cost £650, with his business empire being worth an estimated £60m before Covid struck.

Clarke founded the business with then long-term girlfriend Lesley Clarke, 68, with a £20,000 loan, with whom he remained business partners.

It was opened by the Duchess of York in 1991.

Lesley told the paper: “It’s heartbreaking. I’m really sad. It’s something I never thought would happen, but the pandemic took its toll on us. We tried very hard to keep it going and we both put our own money in. It’s like losing a child. The staff are like a family.”

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The business will continue to operate a Nicky Clarke salon in Birmingham, as well as manufacturing a range of electrical hair tools.

Clarke, who was raised in a London council flat, received an OBE in 2008.

Last year, he married fashion designer Kelly Simpkin, 40, with whom he has two young children.

They met when Kelly was a stylist in his salon 12 years ago.

© Evening Standard

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