Vidal Sassoon 1928-2012

Mimi ON May 10, 2012 AT 10:47 am

Vidal Sassoon

Yesterday the beauty world lost an icon as Vidal Sassoon passed away in his Los Angeles home, aged 84.

Born on 17 January 1938 in Hammersmith, London, Sassoon had a turbulent childhood. Both he and his younger brother were sent to an orphanage after being abandoned by their father and then evacuated London during the war. At 17 her returned to the city and started an apprenticeship as a barber. After working his way up the hairdressing ladder, he opened is first salon in Bond Street in 1954.

Renowned for his pioneering ‘wash-and-wear’ styles. Sassoon liberated women from the previously worn, formal and stuffy bouffant styles that required a whole host of product, tools and lengthy salon sessions.

“I made up my mind then that if I was going to be in hairdressing long term, I wanted to change things,” Sasoon recalled in the documentary “Vidal Sassoon: The Movie. “I didn’t have a picture of what hair should be, but I had a definite picture of what hair shouldn’t be.”

And change things he did. As women were returning to work, and reassuming their roles, Sassoon’s Bauhaus-inspired short, geometric cuts garnered worldwide interest and fame. From the Kwan bob, named after Hong Kong-born actress Nancy Kwan whose hair Sassoon snipped into a sharp face-flattering style, to his trademark 5-Point Cut as famously worn by fashion designer Mary Quant and Mia Farrow’s pre Rosemary’s Baby Pixie Crop Sassoon’s styles repositioned haircutting as an artform and inspired millions of copycat cuts throughout the 1960s.

“To sculpt a head of hair with scissors is an art form. It’s in pursuit of art.”

As the very first hairdresser to put his name to both his salon and products, Sassoon later set up the Vidal Sassoon Academies, in order to teach others his very specific haircutting style, based on face-framing points and easy-to-wear shapes.

Mary Quant, Grace Coddington, Mia Farrow

Last year, Vidal Sassoon: The Movie – a film of his life –  was released in cinemas.

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