John Barrett, the iconic hair dresser known for his impeccable style and high-profile clientele, passed away in Manhattan at the age of 66. Barrett, whose salon was located on the penthouse level of the Bergdorf Goodman department store, was a favorite among the elite fashion crowd for more than 20 years. From celebrities attending the Met Gala to the leading ladies of British theater, Barrett’s client list was impressive. Regulars included Princess Diana, Ethel Kennedy, and Hillary Clinton. He was even the unofficial stylist for Vogue magazine staff.
During the mid-2000s, Barrett’s salon was at its peak, defining Upper East Side fashion with its signature power-blonde look. The salon was more than just a hair appointment; it provided a full beauty experience. Clients could indulge in manicures, pedicures, and makeup services, all in a relaxed atmosphere that often felt like a highbrow social gathering.
Barrett, who hailed from Limerick, Ireland, had a challenging upbringing in poverty. He found his calling in the hair industry after moving to London as a teenager. He worked his way up to become a stylist and eventually caught the attention of Elizabeth Taylor. She became a regular client and helped launch his career.
Despite his success, Barrett remained humble and minimalistic in his approach to hair cutting. He focused on providing the best cut possible and believed it would last longer than others. He was also open about his past struggles with alcoholism and used his experience to help others overcome their own battles with addiction.
In 2019, Barrett left Bergdorf Goodman to open his own salon nearby. However, the pandemic impacted the salon industry, and Barrett was forced to declare bankruptcy. Nevertheless, he managed to keep his employees and continued to serve his loyal clients.
Barrett’s legacy will be remembered for his undeniable talent, remarkable wit, and immense contributions to the world of luxury fashion. He leaves behind a lasting impact on the industry and will be dearly missed by his family, friends, and countless clients.