The Duchess of Sussex has made her hair as much of a focus as she has her fashion looks – and no wonder, when you consider who she’s chosen to style it.
When the Duke and Duchess of Sussex touched down in Sydney on Monday, fresh from announcing their pregnancy, a familiar face was among their entourage. Towering several inches above everyone else in his plaid blazer was British hairdresser George Northwood, who Meghan also brought along on her tour of Ireland in July and chose to style her hair for the evening reception of her wedding in May. This, along with the fact that her hair is almost permanently styled in the signature tousled waves he’s most famous for, is as close to confirmation as we’re likely to ever get: Meghan has chosen George Northwood as her go-to hairstylist.
The choice of one of fashion’s favorite hairstylists by a royal is an interesting one. Whilst the Duchess of Cambridge is known for her classic, voluminous blow-dries, turning to her personal hairstylist Amanda Cook-Tucker, Meghan has already demonstrated a preference for a more contemporary take on beauty. Northwood is, incidentally, the hairdresser behind the styles of Alexa Chung and Alicia Vikander, having styled the latter when she accepted her Academy Award in 2016 and making “The Alexa” the most requested style in his London salon.
Meghan has spent her first few months as a royal flitting between her much-loved messy bun, catwalk-informed poker-straight hair and tousled blow-dries rather than the complicated up-dos and bouncy curls of her new family members, thanks no doubt to Northwood’s own eye for what’s trending now. Put simply, he’s cool – and in choosing him, Meghan’s hair fits in with what other women her age want their hair to look like too. Arguably, Meghan has made more of an impact with her hair than she has her wardrobe, shaking up the conventions of what “royal hair” should look like. (And, possibly, distracting from a burgeoning baby bump by keeping our eyes on her stellar hairstyles instead).
Hairstylist to several members of the Vogue beauty team, including myself, Northwood has a gift for making women feel like themselves. Put simply, he listens – and then gives you the kind of hair that makes you want to take a selfie rather than brushing out the style as soon as you’ve left the salon (it has happened to us all). Looking back at pictures of Meghan’s hair since she met Harry you can almost pinpoint the moment that she started working with Northwood – she not only starts looking more contemporary and more chic, she looks more comfortable too.
With experience working on high-stakes red-carpet looks as well as weddings, press conferences and ad campaigns alike, Northwood knows how to calm nerves and generate good vibes like no other. It’s hard to imagine the pressure of having to step out in front of millions as a representative for the most famous family in the world, but Northwood is the sort of hairdresser who knows how to make it feel easy. Styling my hair ahead of my own wedding, it was he who had to remind me to put my dress on and go – I was so happy and chilled sitting and drinking champagne with him that I’d slightly lost track of time.
Put it this way: Meghan may have chosen Serge Normant to create the perfect, tiara-topped chignon she wore for her wedding ceremony, watched globally by millions. But for the evening reception, where she got to – figuratively – let her hair down and finally hang out with friends and family in a private space? Where she could actually be herself? That’s when she turned to Northwood, who created the sort of loose up-do any woman would want to wear for her first dance with her new husband. And that speaks volumes.
This article first appeared on Vogue.co.uk