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] Keep reading »
The Tribeca Film Festival comes to an end this weekend, and among the scores of movies shown during the 12-day film fest, I’m looking forward to the hair documentary “Vidal Sassoon: The Movie.” You might know the name Vidal Sassoon from the haircare commercials with the tagline, “If You Don’t Look Good, We Don’t Look Good,” but the story begins way before the celebrity hairstylist had a line of products.
Vidal grew up in a Jewish orphanage in London, served in the Israeli army, and became one of the first stars of the hair world in the ’60s, developing a new geometric technique for cutting hair (the “five-point”) and making news when he cut Mia Farrow’s hair for “Rosemary’s Baby.” I love how documentaries give an insider-y view of aspects of glamorous industries we don’t normally see (i.e., “The September Issue“) so I’ve already added “Vidal Sassoon: The Movie” to my Netflix queue. Keep reading »
Has your hair dresser been knighted by the Queen of England? No? Well, how embarrassing for both of you. Vidal Sassoon, founder of the legendary eponymous teaching institute and, some would argue, the modern haircut, is a knight. He also survived being an orphan in London and a stint in the Israeli army to go on to be one of the most famous names in the history of hair. The story of his life and career is currently being turned into a film that will debut at the 2010 Tribeca Film Festival because, let’s face it, his life story could kick your stylists’ life story’s arse. At any rate, we have a feeling it’s going to filled with some pretty covetable ‘dos. [ELLE UK] Keep reading »