Honouring the Legacy of Jon Paul Holt: Visionary Hairstylist, Philanthropist, and Champion of the Beauty Industry
Jon Paul Holt with his wife, Julie, at the Beauty Gives Back event in Vancouver, 2017. Photo: Greg Robins
We pay tribute to Jon Paul Holt, a man whose life was woven with passion, artistry, and an unwavering commitment to giving back.
Born and trained in England, Jon Paul’s impactful journey spanned over 45 years, during which he built an enduring legacy in the beauty industry. His dedication was palpable, seen in his commitment to work alongside his team five days a week, tirelessly crafting extraordinary styles for his devoted clientele.
The early days
Launching his career at the tender age of 19, Jon Paul, in partnership with Alan Moss, opened their first salon, ‘Alan Paul’. Their ambition fueled the growth of the largest chain of hair salons in England, making history as the first salon group to be listed on the London Stock Exchange.
Jon Paul’s spirit of innovation and adventure brought him to Canada in 1981. Two years later, he founded Avant Garde Hair Studio with Phillip Wilson. This salon soon became a sanctuary for high-profile individuals, including Meg Ryan and Vancouver’s own rock star, Bryan Adams.
Awarded for excellence
Over the last 35 years, Jon Paul Holt and the Avant Garde artistic team amassed numerous national and international awards, earning the recognition of being Vancouver’s most decorated salon. Their accolades include winning the North American Make-Over Stylist of the Year twice and numerous Canadian titles, ranging from Hairstylist to Session Stylist of the Year. Additionally, they were hailed as the British Columbia Stylist and Team of the Year.
Jon Paul was deeply humbled to receive the Canadian Lifetime Achievement Award, an acknowledgment of his efforts to elevate Canadian hairstyling on the global stage and his dedication to mentoring young Canadian stylists.
Dedicated to our community
Beyond the accolades, Jon Paul was deeply committed to giving back to the community that supported his success. He dedicated time and resources to various charitable causes, particularly those benefiting children and women. His salon team worked closely with women undergoing cancer treatments, providing wigs and compassionate care to help them navigate the physical and emotional challenges of hair loss. The poignant photo collection “Bald is Beautiful” was created in tribute to these brave women.
Jon Paul’s philanthropic efforts extended to raising and donating hundreds of thousands of dollars for B.C. Hospital Children’s Cancer Research, Children’s Pediatric H.I.V research, and B.C. Women’s Breast Cancer Research. Furthermore, Avant Garde supported “Artists for Kids”, an artistic foundation promoting children’s artistic endeavors, among other diverse charitable initiatives.
His iconic salon
In 1991, Jon Paul relocated his salon to Yaletown, further cementing Avant Garde’s reputation. The iconic Avant Garde logo, designed and painted by renowned Canadian artist Joe Average, became a symbol of this enduring success. In 2021, Avant Garde Hair Salon, located at 1075 Mainland Street, celebrated 38 years in business.
Today, we honour Jon Paul Holt’s remarkable legacy, remembering a man whose life was an intricate tapestry of creativity, passion, and philanthropy. His contributions to hairstyling and his community will continue to inspire, and his spirit will forever be cherished. Rest in peace, Jon Paul. Your memory will endure in the hearts of those you touched.