R.I.P. Iconic Coiffeur Vidal Sassoon

May 10, 2012 • Beauty, Fashion Blog

Vidal Sassoon

Iconic hair stylist Vidal Sassoon died yesterday at the age of 84 after a long illness of what was rumored to be  leukemia. He died at his Mulholland Drive estate in California.

Sassoon, who was hugely influential in the hair care and fashion worlds, was the subject of a 2010 documentary, “Vidal Sassoon: The Movie.” According to a NY Times profile in 1999, Sassoon went to work at age 14. As a “shampoo boy,” he was responsible for mixing dyes: bleach powder, peroxide and ammonia. In 1954, he opened his first salon in London and gave himself 5 years to make a difference or he would leave the profession.

“When I first came into hair, women were coming in and you’d place a hat on their hair and you’d dress their hair around it,” Sassoon said. “We learned to put discipline in the haircuts by using actual geometry, actual architectural shapes and bone structure. The cut had to be perfect and layered beautifully, so that when a woman shook it, it just fell back in.” Sassoon and his subsequent salons became known for their precision haircuts and his famed Sassoon style known as the “five-point cut”, a snug, sleek helmet with a W cut at the nape of the neck and a pointed spike in front of each ear.

“He changed the way everyone looked at hair,” Grace Coddington, the creative director of American Vogue and a former Sassoon model in the 60’s, said. “Before Sassoon, it was all back-combing and lacquer; the whole thing was to make it high and artificial. Suddenly you could put your fingers through your hair!”

The London Sassoon salon was used by Roman Polanski for his film “Repulsion,” starring Catherine Deneuve. Polanski later created a ‘lather’ when he paid Mr. Sassoon an unprecedented $5,000 to cut Mia Farrow’s hair for “Rosemary’s Baby” and invited the news media to see it. This proved to be the best form of advertising for Sassoon.

He eventually opened a New York salon and in 1973 debuted his own line of hair-care products. He soon moved to L.A.. Sassoon was married four times, most recently in 1992 to current wife Ronnie.

Visit Sassoon Salons here.

Source & Photo: NY Times

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