Photos by Dani Mac
I got connected with William when I scheduled to get my hair done for a Cult Factory style shoot at the salon he works at (O&M). My vision was "vintage Cindy Crawford" -- a 60s meets the 90s look from a reference he immediately understood -- and he totally NAILED IT. We instantly clicked and I was fascinated by his personal style and life so much I had to know more! Get the scoop on William's inspirations and life in NYC in our CULT Chat below:
WHY NEW YORK CITY?
Ever since I came here when I was a little kid for the first time, I have always known I would end up here. I played piano, sang, and danced a lot as a kid so at that time I assumed I would be doing or using those skills in some way. Our local paper (the Frederick Post) did an article on me at age 11 entitled "Boy Bound for Broadway," with a highly embarrassing photo of me in braces and a vest pretending to play the piano. From then on, it was kinda written in the stars. Looking back as I get older, I am realizing the reason why I like it here and I have stayed is because it's the least American place in all of America. It's the world's city. It's pulse beats threw many cultures and traditions that are completely foreign from my own. That's so inspiring and exciting to be around.
THE CITY NEVER SLEEPS...WHAT TIME DID YOU GET TO BED LAST NIGHT?
12:30 am -- I was cuddling with my new cat! He's the cutest. Follow him on Instagram! @claudedecattington (yes ... I'm one of those cat dads)
PLAY HOST FOR US... WHERE WOULD YOU TAKE US FOR
COFFEE - Variety. They roasts in-house which is badass.
DINNER - This is hard 'cause I constantly eat out (typical for NYC), but if I had to name a few: Marietta, Alice's Arbor, Momo Sushi, Faro, Allswell... All of which are in Brooklyn, duh. :)
COCKTAILS - Hands down, THE KEEP
PARTYING - Friends and Lovers for soul night or One Last Shag if I need to dance
WHO ARE YOU LISTENING TO RIGHT NOW?
Emily King, my friend Melanie Martinez, Miguel, the new D'angelo, Rare and unreleased demos of Aretha Franklin, and of course Taylor Swift currently
But always in rotation: Sade, Anita Baker, Chaka Khan, Jill Scott, Luther Vandross, Fiona Apple, and classical piano mostly Claude Debussy and Choplin.
FAVORITE PROJECT SO FAR?
This is a tough one. I have been so incredibly blessed to have met and worked with so many phenomenal people in the hair industry. I have also had the pleasure to build a loyal clientele of people who make my job an absolute joy everyday. I get to go on a journey of self actualization which each one of them, both of us working together to find a way to project their most authentic selves to the world. I get to evoke confidence in people and it is something I do not take lightly. Beyond that, getting to assist on Alexander McQueen FW2015 in Paris was a pretty surreal experience.
ANY CREATIVES YOU WANT TO COLLABORATE WITH?
I have been pretty deliberate with making sure I'm surrounding myself with people who inspire and lift me up to a place where I can create from the heart. Just within my immediate friend group there is a constant stream of ideas and transference of energy. Developing a space from this foundation where we can create without judgement or fear of going too far has been a big goal of mine. So the people who I am currently hanging out with /collaborating with/planning on it:
Janelle Chaplin, Roxie Darling, Marcus Morris, Ashely Owens (grandpastyle), Matthew Pandolfe, and the list goes on and on. :)
DREAM DINNER PARTY -- WHICH 7 GUESTS WOULD YOU INVITE?
Anna Nicole Smith, Amy Winehouse, Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Beyoncé, Amy Schumer, Margaret Cho, and, of course, Liza Minelli
WHERE DO YOU SHOP / WHAT'S YOUR SIGNATURE LOOK?
I pretty much exclusively thrift everything I own with the exception of sometimes bags and shoes. I live in bushwick so I usually just do the "Bushwick Thrift Loop" as I like to call it haha.
As far as my signature look, I don't really feel like I have one set look. I am very much into wearing what makes me feel comfortable mostly on the inside. I don't prescribe to gender specifics (I wore a t shirt dress and capris just yesterday) and don't discriminate against color although as I have gotten older my style has gotten much more minimalist (think Rick Owens/Helmet Lang/Acne etc) I love black, grey, taupe, and brown, and combining and layering those with pops of color. When in doubt, I wear overalls.
I am however, very staunch about the way I smell. I typically layer scents. My two favorite base notes are Chanel Sycomore and Hermes. Over the top I like woody notes like Oud, Cedar, sandalwood, and smoke.
DO YOU HAVE A MUSE?
I'm generally just obsessed with history. I'm constantly watching documentaries. So I pull a lot from many different eras to evoke new twists on old hairstyles. But if I had to choose a muse, it would have to be Jackie Kennedy Onassis. Not only a style icon outwardly, she possessed incredible grace and poise under such grave circumstances.
FAVORITE SPOT IN THE CITY?
Hudson River park holds a pretty special place in my heart. I'm also very sentimental about Bedstuy. It's where I first landed when I got here and it's so beautiful.
Yes forever. But I have a goal of splitting my time between here and Paris which is pretty much the only other place that I would go. Parisians are the only people who give less shits then New Yorkers.
MOTTO YOU LIVE BY?
"Failure is the condiment that gives success its flavor." -Truman Capote ...keep going no matter what!
I also really love: "Fashion says: 'everyone.' Style says: 'only me'"
WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON NOW AND WHERE CAN WE SEE IT?
Well I am always taking new clients at the salon. You can come down and see my work speak for itself at O&M.nyc! But besides that, I am putting together a few projects with a photographer friend of mine that involve some pretty elaborate headpieces I'm gonna make from various materials. You can see all my work on my Instagram with the hashtag #hairbywilliamblair
WOULD YOU RATHER
CINDY CRAWFORD or KATE MOSS
MORNING OR NIGHT
UPTOWN OR DOWNTOWN
Kate, Morning, Brooklyn
55 Little West 12th Street third floor
New York, NY 10014
212 255 2445