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Cahoonas Hair Hub by Tracey Cahoon Peckham Levels, Rye Lane, Peckham SE15 4ST

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racey Cahoon compares herself with Edward Scissorhands: “You know that look of pure fear on his face when he’s just about to do a haircut? That’s me.” This is quite surprising coming from someone who grew up around hairdressing thanks to her Irish hairdresser mum, and who is a veteran session hairdresser having worked with legendary photographers such as David Bailey, Corinne Day, Rankin, and for pretty much every British glossy — including those at the edgier end, like Love, Dazed & Confused and Pop. She is also known as the originator of Amy Winehouse’s iconic, deconstructed beehive. Still, it seems, for Tracey, every haircut is a foray into the unknown. What if you’re not in the right mood? What if you haven’t understood your client properly? What if they haven’t understood you? Like many

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great performing artists, Tracey nonetheless somehow manages to convert her nerves into a dynamic, creative practice. As with Edward Scissorhands, her haircuts are consistently novel, surprising and technically perfect. Cahoonas Hair Hub sits on the 6th floor of Peckham Levels, a converted car park that has been a home to photographers, designers, artists, yoga studios, bars and street food stalls since December 2017. Tracey designed her space herself, employing friends to provide unique furnishing fabrics for her upcycled furniture, and to paint funny, nitthemed graffiti on the ceiling above the basins. Within the streamlined concrete space, mini installations grow out of wigs, bottles, hair clips, furniture and kitsch found objects. Everywhere you look there are beautiful-grotesque mini-masterpieces proliferating like clusters of outlandish fungi.

As opposed to centrally regulated high street salons, everything about Tracey’s place is singular. Having once been told by a snip-bot at a well-known chain that the haircut I wanted didn’t exist, it’s a relief to find a hairdresser who is prepared to go out on a limb. Sometimes it can almost be difficult to hold her back — ideas start flying out of her as soon as she starts to look at you: “What about swathes of colour? Undercutting? You could curl it. Add hairpieces. Leave it to air dry and see what it does.” Still, it always seems to settle in a good place, somewhere


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