“He revolutionised not just hair but fashion” — model-turned-Vogue fashion editor Grace Coddington
➢ The Daily Telegraph reports the death at 84 of celebrity hairstylist Vidal Sassoon, whose 1960s wash-and-wear cuts freed women from the tyranny of hairspray…
“ Vidal Sassoon, who was found dead at home on Wednesday, was at the cutting edge – literally and metaphorically – of hairdressing. His sharp, geometric, low-maintenance 1960s hairstyles revolutionised his craft, sounding the death knell for the stiff, set hairdos of the 1950s. An astute businessman, he made a fortune from his salons and products, and became a household name. “I wanted to eliminate the superfluous and get to the basic angles of cut and shape,” he said… ” / continued online
❏ Craig Teper’s 2010 documentary Vidal Sassoon: The Movie follows the true rags-to-riches tale of how a boy from a London orphanage went on to open his own Bond Street salon in 1958 and — influenced by the Bauhaus designs he had studied — he create the “shape” that became his signature cut, the five-point bob. It revolutionised hairdressing. His geometric wash-and-wear cuts marked the end of the beehive and the bouffant hair styles of the 50s. Admirers included the Duchess of Bedford, model Jean Shrimpton, actor Terence Stamp, and film star Mia Farrow. In 1963 he devised the classic “bob” for fashion designer Mary Quant, who called him the “Chanel of hair”. By 1964 he’d gone international by opening his first salon in New York.
I’m 57 and still have a crystal clear memory of how I dressed at 10 years old in 1964 — just a child but a devout Mod bird… Sassoon bob, a child’s version of Courrèges go-go boots, black fishnet stockings, white Poor Boy sweater, black-and-white check mini-skirt slung low on the hips with a wide, black patent leather belt, Yardley Eau de London parfum, Yardley brand “Slicker” frosted hot-pink lipstick. My parents sent me to Catholic grammar school and we all had to wear dork-y, scratchy wool, frumpy, green-grey plaid uniforms except ONE day a month we could wear street clothes to Catholic school.
On “free dress day”, I always showed up dressed to the nines in full Mod regalia and drove the nuns absolutely nuts. The Mother Superior tried to send me home to change my clothes into my Catholic school-girl uniform, but I told the old bat “My mum and dad are Mods — my parents bought me my Mod clothes — so go pound sand”. The Mother Superior realized there was nothing she could do about how I dressed or my Sassoon bob hair cut — but in retaliation, she confiscated my Barbie doll. Barbie had TITS, so this apparently was going to send me on the road to Hell or High water.
Vidal Sassoon had such a huge impact on my aesthetic sensibilities when I was a child. It was Vidal Sassoon, Mary Quant and watching Audrey Hepburn in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” which radicalized me in the 1960s. It wasn’t the Vietnam War, the civil rights movement or grassroots liberation movement that radicalized me — it was Vidal Sassoon, Mary Quant and Audrey Hepburn.
Bless Vidal Sassoon — he’s up in heaven doing haircuts for the blessed and the bonnie.
Shapersofthe80s writes: Brilliant, Ant Wench. Thanks for such telling detail. Love the mere mention of Yardley Eau de London !