“If you don’t look good, we don’t look good!” At the age of 84, Vidal Sassoon has passed away. He’s one of those names that doesn’t need introducing. He changed hairdressing sure, built a global beauty empire even, but he also changed women’s lives, freeing them from the twice or even thrice weekly shampoo & set, (never underestimate just how much women do when they feel that they look good & don’t have to worry about their hair) and was a passionate anti-fascist. For any man his achievements were remarkable, for a boy brought up in an orphanage in the East End it was spectacular.
The photos above are a montage of photos of my mother that Red magazine put together for a feature I wrote for them, but the important part is my mother’s portrait at bottom right. Yup, that’s her with a Vidal do in the early 60s. Amazing cut, beautiful (still) woman.
I’m really lucky in that I got to see Vidal Sassoon talk after the first public screening of the documentary about him (associate producer: Julian Vogel of Modus, fashion friends) at Village East in New York’s East Village in February 2011. Nearly everyone at the screening was a hair stylist and chatting to the people sitting around us was an extraordinary experience: to them, it was as though God himself had descended from the heavens. Truly, even at 83 he was the Beatles of hairdressing.
I cannot recommend the documentary more highly. I’ve actually seen it twice – the first time was at its premiere at the TriBeCa Film Festival in April 2010, when producer Michael Gordon (founder of Bumble & Bumble) spoke – and would happily watch it again and again. It’s a story of triumph over poverty and adversity, of endurance, of great sadness and of joy too. It’s available on Amazon for a fiver now. There is also an excellent biography.
(Photo of Vidal Sassoon via Modus Publicity blog)