The fashion and hair-care industry recently lost one of its pioneers. Vidal Sassoon passed away on Wednesday morning at his home in Hollywood, but not before he had given the world with some of the most amazing hair products, salons and fashion signatures.
Born in Britain, Sassoon was raised in London’s east-end and started his first job in a hair salon at the age of 14. Literally starting at the bottom on the ladder, Vidal mixed colours and dyes, swept up the off cuts of hair and was the in-house shampoo boy. Before becoming a hairdressing apprentice, Sassoon went through his fair share of family upheaval when his father abandoned the family when Vidal was three, and his mother was sadly forced to put him and his brother into an orphanage as she could not afford to look after the family. Through all his trials Sassoon persevered and, after becoming a hairdressing apprentice, he gave himself five years to make it as a hair stylist.
After Vidal succeeded by opening his first salon in 1954 and pioneering the, still extremely trendy, Bauhaus-inspired hair style. The geometric ‘Bob’ haircut was also Sassoon’s baby and the world was smitten with the man’s genius styling. Sassoon credits Raymond Bessone as being his mentor and teaching him everything he knew about cutting and styling hair. Sassoon maintained his love of purity and preferred hair to naturally fall into place with the perfect architectural cut as opposed to laying it with lacquer to achieve a certain look.
Sassoon went on to design and manufacture hair straighteners and hair dryers, which flew off the sales shelves. People queued for Vidal Sassoon hair-care products. He opened a hairdressing academy and after it took off, students were clamouring to reap some of Vidal’s brilliance, and he decided to sell his empire to Proctor & Gamble. The academy still goes today and is located in London.
Sassoon’s empire grew and expanded exponentially and but it seems he took a gamble selling his goldmine to the conglomerate because he ended up suing them in later years as he felt they let his Vidal Sassoon brand and reputation slide in order to promote their own products.
Sassoon was married four times. His last marriage to Ronnie Sassoon was in 1992. This marriage lasted up to his dying day on 9th May 2012. Sadly, Sassoon was diagnosed with Leukaemia in 2011 which was the leading cause of his death.
Still considered an icon in the hairdressing and fashion industries, any upcoming stylists, hairdressers, salons and product manufacturers will be hard-pressed to replicate the same talent that Vidal Sassoon emulated. The man was a pioneer, and he will remain a legend.
Vida Denning is a freelance writer who loves Vidal Sassoon and often treats herself to his products. However her latest indulgence are shoe hooks and they seem to be a good investment too.