Vidal Sassoon haircut

Guest Blog: Vidal Sassoon and his influence by Rebecca

by Sasha Wilkins on May 10, 2012 · 8 comments

Last night I posted about Vidal Sassoon, and this morning I woke up to a comment from a reader in America, with whom I hadn’t  corresponded before. It was her story of visiting the Vidal Sassoon salon in London in the early 70s, and of meeting Vidal himself. It was so wonderful that I immediately wrote back to tell her that comments like that were what made blogging so worthwhile. A second email winged its way back through the ether with more details, and then I realised that this had to be turned into a guest blog. So here is Rebecca from America with her story about Vidal Sassoon:

This isn’t a memory I’d thought much about before, and it seemed so different looking at it now from an adult perspective. But as soon as I saw that Vidal Sassoon had died, it came back so clearly.

In 1973 or 1974, I think it was, I was a young college girl visiting London during the summer. I was 20 or 21, but looked about 14, a tiny girl from Southern Louisiana. I had been getting my haircut at a salon in New Orleans, where I was going to school, where all of the stylists had been trained in a Sassoon school. So, naturally, I wanted a cut from a REAL Sassoon salon. And I got my chance that summer.

The photo I’ve attached is not the one I got at his salon. Unfortunately, I don’t have any of that one. But this one, taken years earlier in 1967/68 when I was about 14 years old, shows even more how far his influence reached. Because I was years away from going to college in New Orleans, still living in the small bayou community where I was raised. Yet I still wanted this “swing” bob, which was very cutting edge at the time. Because it was shorter on the side behind the ear, then came down in a slightly longer swing line to the other side.
I don’t remember where I got this cut, though I feel sure it had to be in New Orleans on one of our shopping trips. I don’t even remember where I saw the style that gave me the urge to get it myself, though it was probably Glamour or Seventeen magazines. But this was definitely his influence, one of many variations of his bob.
For his influence to reach that tiny little backward community that was at the ends of the earth, on the way to nowhere but the Gulf of Mexico, that was something remarkable, I promise you. Almost unbelievable.

Sitting in the chair in London, I listened to my stylist suggest a kind of pixie cut and what did I think about a dye job? A nice deep red, maybe? It would certainly be the most exotic look I’d ever tried to carry off, and I went with it enthusiastically.

The cut was great, and I loved the ragged back that looked like a lawnmower ran amok over my neck. The color practically glowed. And as I was just looking in the hand mirror at the back, and telling the stylist how much I loved it all, the Man himself showed up suddenly next to my chair.

Thinking back, I believe he must have wondered how this American child had ended up in a chair in his salon. But he was amazingly gracious and charming. Asked where I was from, about the salon where I usually got my hair cut, how I was enjoying London.

Seriously, it would have been no surprise if he had simply been too busy to notice some little tourist nobody in his place. And no fault, either, because I never in a million years would have expected him to notice me.

But he did. And he seemed genuinely interested in hearing my story, was not the least bit rushed, even seemed to enjoy the fact that a young girl considered a visit to his salon a major event to make time for after crossing an ocean to visit a foreign country.

Especially since my huge glasses made it plain that I was not a typical fashionista. Looking good has certainly always been a goal for me, but I’ve never been a completely up to the minute fashion plate. And I’m way too short to carry off most fashion in the best of style. I think that made him appreciate it even more.

But, really, isn’t hair in a class of its own? Just like he was. What a gentleman

Thank you for letting me share all this with you, because no one I know personally would actually appreciate how special it is. :)

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

Patricia May 10, 2012 at 07:49

A lovely story – thank you!

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Sharonn May 10, 2012 at 08:39

How wonderful; thank you for sharing a beautiful piece of history with us on this blog!

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Hannah Chan May 10, 2012 at 11:25

Such a lovely story and a great way to remember this innovative gentlemen. Thank you both for sharing.

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Sarah May 10, 2012 at 12:22

I feel slightly emotional reading that! Lovely x

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Marina(Makeup4All) May 10, 2012 at 15:11

What a beautiful story, thank you for sharing with us, Rebecca!

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Sarah May 11, 2012 at 03:20

Lovely story and beautiful haircut. Thanks for sharing

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Christine May 11, 2012 at 09:12

What a gentleman! With all his success and skill and celebrity clients, along with his fame could have made him egotistical. God knows that some of the “famous” NY beauty elite are the nastiest. I saw a famous hairdresser to treat myself, who barely noticed me, and then did my hair colour so badly that I would have done better with a bottle of Miss Clairol. And then the famous eyebrow specialist I can only call a b1tch, who swore at me because she didn’t like the shape of my eyebrows, applied a yellow brow pencil and told me I HAD to come back in two weeks.

I never saw either again, which at least saved a lot of money.

I am so glad Mr. Sasson was a nice man and I’m glad Rebecca had a great time with her fabulous cut and colour.

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Leslie {Lesalina} May 13, 2012 at 10:57

I love this. My mom was in hair dressing school in Detroit at the time when the Sassoon cut was getting major, working at a salon as a shampoo girl. Under the school’s rules wasn’t supposed to cut hair until she was licensed but she became so good at the cut the salon couldn’t say no. I have a suspicion that cut launched many stylists’ careers.

Everyone should check out the docu on him too! vidalsassoonthemovie.com

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