You’re dressed up in your finest attire ready for the magic of Revival, but it’s Hair and Make-Up Designer Lisa George and her team who is on hand to add the final flourish. Here we meet the creative powerhouse behind Betty’s Salon.
How to style 2,500 guests in one weekend
How long have you been working with Goodwood?
I started in 2005. I came in to work with a couple of presenters for Festival of Speed and I was looking after Stirling Moss. From there I was asked to come and join the team. My first Revival was in 2008. It was just me back then and I worked with Sue [Goodwood’s Theatrical and Costume Curator] working with the Wacky Races and the Ant Hill Mob. We were using prosthetics, various different face paints, and lots of wigs. Over the years, it's just become bigger and bigger.
What can people expect from a visit to Betty’s Salon?
Customers can make an appointment to come in over the weekend – we're open from 07:30, when the gates open and then we close around 19:00. We have lots of lookbooks from the 1940s, ’50s and ’60s and the client can choose, depending on what they're wearing. Guests spend such a long time deciding what to wear, so we’re there to finish off their looks with hair and makeup. Appointments tend to be around 30-40 minutes, depending on the style we’re creating.
How many guests do you beautify across the weekend?
Across the weekend, we’re looking at around 2,500 clients. We have two sites; I have a team of 20 in the High Street and on the Richmond Lawn next to Veuve Clicquot, we've got a team of 10. Previous years we’ve had lots of walk-in clients where people would just rock up, but this year we’re running everything to appointments only because of Covid restrictions. Some people would wait an hour or two to get their hair done – it’s such a great atmosphere, so they’d be happy waiting! We've got so many amazing props and places to sit down and chill out and read. We have entertainers, dancers come in and they put on shows there. There's a lot to see!
Where did the name ‘Betty’s Salon’ come from?
This is quite bizarre actually! It used to be called The Goodwood Hair and Beauty Salon and as it grew, one year I said to The Duke of Richmond, ‘it’s so popular – we need a bigger area’. The following year (2011), I was given a small budget and the go-ahead to get some props, some stock and to decorate – I had to pull in a few favours, too! It was so popular and I still only had four girls working with me at the time. The Duke did his walk around on the Thursday and he was totally blown away when he saw what we’d done. I remember him saying: ‘we’ll talk next year’. So, the next year I asked to brand the salon ‘Betty’s’ and to get a bigger salon to keep up with demand. I think Betty is such a beautiful, pretty name and it works really well for Revival. As it happens, Betty is the Duke’s Great Grandmother’s name, so he loved it.
When it’s not Goodwood Revival what do you work on?
I work in TV and film and have been in TV for about 23 years. I've just finished Downton Abbey, the Christmas movie, Bridgerton is about to start. I don't specialise in period hair, it's just something I've fallen into. I also work on live TV, so things like Strictly Come Dancing, Dancing On Ice – whether I design it, assist the designer or supervise, that's what I do outside of Revival and Goodwood.
What’s your dream look to create?
It’s so difficult because every 1940s, ’50s and ’60s look is so beautiful – vintage hair styling is an art. I think probably 1950s is my favourite; it's very elegant, very pretty, very much of a lady. When women walk into the salon and they've got their outfit on that they’ve spent months organising, to see them being transformed into the most elegant lady, it's just beautiful to see. I've seen faces light up. It's such a nice feeling to make someone feel good – Goodwood is all about making people feel amazing about themselves.
What’s the most popular look you get asked to create?
Bee hives! Bee hives and 1940s barrel curls. I would say a 1950s Hollywood wave is probably the most difficult style to do – it has to be absolutely perfect. The 1950s in general is a difficult style to do as it’s very intricate. There's a lot of detail, which is what makes it so stunning.
What’s something about Goodwood Revival that only you know?
I buy 250,000 grips and pins for Betty’s Salon every year. It’s 400 boxes!
What do you and your team wear to Revival?
The majority of the stylists actually live in the 1940s or ’50s era. Their houses are all super cool, too, so they actually rock up in what they’d normally wear. I usually wear a ’40s outfit on the Friday, ’50s on the Saturday and ’60s on the Sunday. I'm usually running around like a headless chicken with half a dozen walkie talkies and headphones, but this year I think I’ll get one of the girls to do my hair!
What are you looking forward to most this year?
I have to be honest, I don't get much time to look around a great deal. But if there's a day of the weekend that I could pop out and meet some friends, it’d be on the Sunday.
What is it about Goodwood Revival that makes it so special?
The glamour, the sophistication, the magic of it. Because I know how much work goes into building it, I’m very proud. When I try to recruit and you meet someone that's never been before, and you say, ‘it's one of the most beautiful places you'll ever go. It's very special. It's a memory that will stay with you forever’. You can’t explain Revival.
You can find out more about Betty’s Salon at this year’s Revival here.
Photography by Toby Adamson and Stephanie O’Callaghan.
The official Goodwood Revival Collection
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