After battling cancer (including 6 months in a coma, 10 months in a hospital bed, and 8 years when he was too ill to work), Harris has since literally rebuilt himself, recently shooting a set of new images, as well as a documentary he’s in the process of making with his film-maker son, Ryan.
Harris explains the process for his latest work: “When you spend an eternity staring at a white wall you end up over-thinking everything and, in the end, those thoughts morph into creative ideas. It certainly made me plan to re-launch myself.” And re-launch himself he has, with ‘No Limits’ an intimate, sold out event in London. Attended by the glitterati of hairdressing, they gave him not one, but several, standing ovations.
"When you spend an eternity staring at a white wall you end up over-thinking
everything and, in the end, those thoughts morph into creative ideas.
It certainly made me plan to re-launch myself.”
Harris is a “South London Boy” whose career began at Vidal Sassoon, where he recalls Vidal himself hosting his first ever staff meeting. After leaving his first all-time icon, he went on to work with his second, Trevor Sorbie, and then spent time in Milan with his third, Aldo Coppola. His fourth and final icon, and close friend, is Robert Lobetta.
As an educator, Harris worked internationally for several top brands, but it is his work as a session and avant-garde hairdresser that has given him the greatest respect. He won Avant-Garde Hairdresser of the Year in 1992, 1996 and 1997 and is in the British Hairdressing Hall of Fame.
His Instagram account @keithharrishair is a fascinating archive of his work with the world’s top photographers, models, actors, comedians, TV personalities and film stars. From 2000 to 2006 he lived and worked in Hollywood, where he styled the rich and famous for both films and editorial work, and his stories (of which there are many) are absolutely fascinating.
In his long career Harris has had many great moments but when asked, he says one of his absolute favourite jobs was working on the Robert Palmer music videos, ‘Addicted to Love’ and ‘Totally Irresistible,’ shot with renowned photographer and director Terence Donovan. The videos are iconic and became synonymous with Pepsi advertising in the late Eighties (check them out on YouTube and you’ll see why!)