Viv Cable, Style Entrepreneur and Colour Specialist

By Karen Bowller


Viv Cable gave me hope when I didn’t have any.

I had been unwell with Alopecia, an auto-immune condition, for 12 months and was about to leave for a three-week stay at a healing sanctuary in Brazil.

I was despondent and lacking any motivation.

We met for coffee shortly before I was due to leave in April 2009. To my surprise, she offered me a job on my return.

Would I write her monthly e-newsletter for her fashion clothing boutique? For the first time in over a year, I felt a glimmer of hope. I felt needed.

So began a return to wellness. I loved writing Viv’s newsletter. After all, my old trade was journalism!

The job meant visiting her boutique in Chatswood checking on the latest stock, interviewing some of her clients for testimonials and occasionally, modelling for her in-store fashion parades.

Alopecia is a hair loss condition. Some people lose all the hair on their head, eyebrows and sometimes, pubic hair. I was lucky mine was contained to the back of my head!

My doctor recommended I stop colouring my hair, and for many months I looked two-toned with the blonde and grey competing for attention.

Viv lent me a little book called, ‘Going Gray’ by Anne Kreamer, an American woman, who shares her experience of letting nature take its course.

Going gray. I found the book very reassuring and began to appreciate my ‘silver look’.

Later Viv hosted a workshop on ‘Going Grey’ at her store, where she offered fashion advice and new colour choices to clients who were making the transition to grey hair.

In fact, she was embracing a subject, women were trying to hide. Those who dared to ‘go grey’ found it could be quite liberating. They felt ‘real’ and were saving a bomb on hair colouring.

Over the next six months, several women arrived in Viv’s store turning heads. They had taken the plunge.

They had let their grey hair grow out to a stage where they couldn’t bear it any longer. Then they raced off to their hairdressers to emerge triumphant with short, edgy cuts as ‘silver foxes!’

They had a new sense of confidence and were making brave new fashion choices.

One woman quietly shared with me that she had used her European holiday as an opportunity to grow out her grey hair, and had a stylish new cut before returning home.

Viv photographed many of these women with their ‘new look’ and posted them to her website to encourage clients that they, too, could look younger and just as vital with grey hair!

“It’s important to remember, going grey is not a sentence. You can change your mind at any time,” Viv said. “There are amazing hair rinse colours available now.”

Viv transformed the lives of 1000s of women for over 20 years with her honest fashion advice, kindness and ability to take women out of their clothing comfort zone from her Chatswood store, Image By Design.

What she may not have realised was that she also helped me and many others with the very personal subject of hair loss, going grey and self-esteem.


Karen Bowller, a writer and poet, pens a weekly Tuesday column called ‘Through My Eyes’ about people who have inspired her. You can catch it on her Facebook page,