Rest In Peace, Vidal Sassoon: A Tribute

We’ve lost two great visionaries this week: writer and illustrator Maurice Sendak passed away on Tuesday at 83, and just yesterday we received the news that Vidal Sassoon, 84, died peacefully in his Los Angeles home due to natural causes stemming from his enduring leukemia. He eclipsed a troubling childhood in Britain, placed by his destitute immigrant mother in an orphanage for seven years following the departure of his philandering father, and began a hairdressing apprenticeship at only 14. He said of his vision, “If I was going to be hairdressing, I wanted to change things. I wanted to eliminate the superfluous and get down to the basic angles of cut and shape.”

Sassoon’s architectural insight freed women from the constraint of the stiff, artificial-looking styles of the late ’50s and early ’60s by pioneering sensual, low-maintenance hair that didn’t require wearing “hair curlers to bed” or “weekly trips to the salon.” Grace Coddington, the creative director of Vogue, was a model for the stylist in the 1960s, and said yesterday of Mr. Sassoon, “He changed the way everyone looked at hair. 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!” Coddington wore an original version of the stylist’s classic helmet-like five-point bob cut: “He didn’t create it for me; he created it on me. It was an extraordinary cut; no one has bettered it since. And it liberated everyone.”

After the jump, a few of the master’s most iconic cuts. Rest in peace, Sassoon. [NY Times]