John Barrett, Celebrity Hair Stylist, Dies at 66 – WWD

John Barrett, the celebrity hair stylist, has died. He was 66.

The cause of death was blood cancer, Julianne Jaffe, a close friend of Barrett’s as well as his health proxy, confirmed in a statement.

Barrett was well known for running the salon space at Bergdorf Goodman for more than two decades. His clients ranged from Princess Diana and Hillary Clinton to Martha Stewart and the Olsen twins. 

“John was a good friend and a fantastic hairdresser,” Stewart said via email. “We will miss him sorely.”

“John was someone who had every politician, celebrity, every incredible client that came to Bergdorf Goodman; people still reference his legendary service and first-class hands today,” said Melissa Xides, Bergdorf Goodman’s chief retail officer. “He was at Bergdorf Goodman for 20 years, which was legendary, and he gave sublime service to all of his clients. He has a legacy of that. Our hearts go out and we extend our sympathy to him and his family and his team at this time.”

Frédéric Fekkai, who worked with Barrett when his own salon held the Bergdorf Goodman space, lauded Barrett’s ability to build a team and his technical know-how in the styling realm.

“We worked together, he worked for me when I had the salon at Bergdorf Goodman, and then he took it over when I left, and even though we were competitive, we were always respectful of each other. He has done some remarkable things in the industry and in the salon business,” Fekkai said. “He has built a great team and a great name for himself. I loved the fact that he was a very good stylist in a classic and modern way, and he was proving to himself to be a good entrepreneur as well.”

Barrett departed the Bergdorf Goodman space in 2019 to open his own salon on 57th Street. That followed previous expansion plans that never came to fruition. Last year, Barrett kicked off a partnership with luxury condo building 53 West 53, whose residents gained priority access to Barrett’s salon.

William Norwich, journalist and a friend of Barrett’s, recalled the stylist’s upbringing in Limerick, Ireland. Barrett moved to London in the ’70s, where he learned to cut hair. From there, he relocated to Los Angeles and back to London before heading to New York in the ’90s. 

“John also gave a lot of parties and his social circle was visiting British actors. The first time I went to his house was a dinner he gave for Dame Eileen Atkins, and it was a dizzying, different world than Park Avenue or downtown and he was very, very funny,” Norwich said. 

Broadway producer Jeffrey Seller remembered meeting Barrett in the Hamptons decades ago, adding that Barrett later became a godparent to two of his children. “He was friends with my partner, Joshua Lehrer, and he was sitting outside my little shack in the Hamptons at 7:45 in the morning,” he said of their first introduction. “We’ve been friends ever since.”

“John had a knack for always being present. He was present at our most joyous events, and he was there holding us up at our saddest events,” Seller continued. “He was there when friends died, and he was there at my mother’s 80th birthday party. That’s the true nature of friendship and family.”

Norwich added that Barrett had been sober for decades, and that “he was a huge support to people who were trying to get themselves sober over the past few years. That will be a big part of his legacy.”

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