Iconic portraits from CUTS, legendary 80s and 90s London hair salon

The re-release of CUTS, a book of portraits shot by Steve Brooks in the 90s and 00s at the legendary London hair salon, offers a glimpse into a bygone era of culture and creativity.

For three decades, CUTS hairdressers in London’s Soho has been an underground yet world-famous salon that defined UK street culture. It was the place for those looking to connect with the latest music, fashion, and cultural movements and to meet people in the know.

Now, a new documentary titled CUTS explores the cultural significance of that era and the ideas that germinated from that time and place. The documentary will feature the shop’s co-founders, James Lebon and Steve Brooks, and many of their patrons who became some of the most critical influencers in music and fashion, leaving a legacy that still lasts today. Names like Naomi Campbell, Neneh Cherry, and Boy George are just a few of the notable individuals associated with CUTS.

READ MORE: ‘The world’s wickedest mile’ – Shot in Soho at The Photographers Gallery

While researching archive material for the film, director Sarah Lewis discovered an archive of portraits of the CUTS clientele shot by Steve Brooks. These casual triptychs were initially displayed as enlarged 35mm black and white contact sheets in the window of the Soho shop throughout the 90s.

In 2018, Gimme5 and DoBeDo co-published a 500-page book of these photos, accompanied by three openings over three months in New York, London, and Tokyo. The book was an instant success, with all the openings packed out and ultimately selling out within weeks.

READ MORE: Denis O’Regan | The 80s’ most prolific tour photographer

david bowie mick jagger 1987

A second edition of the CUTS book will be reissued in 2022 with additional, unseen images. All proceeds from the book’s sales will cover completion costs for the documentary, a 20-year-in-the-making project that promises to be an essential document of a bygone era.

As London continues to evolve and change, CUTS offers a window into a time when the city was the epicentre of music, fashion, and cultural movements that would spread worldwide. And with the re-release of the CUTS book, a new generation can connect with that time and place and appreciate the cultural significance of CUTS and its patrons.

CUTS is available by DoBeDo Projects priced at £40