We all know Vidal Sassoon as an international hair stylist, known for his signature cuts including the classic bob of the 60s. But he is much more than a hairdresser. From a childhood in an orphanage and a life-long fight against anti-Semitism to a multimillion dollar empire and the title of “King of Hair,” Sassoon’s background and his success undeniably makes him one of the most iconic and inspirational figures in the hair and fashion industry.
Sassoon believed that “hairdressing needed to be changing” and thus developed his iconic look that replaced the superfluous poof and tease. The new style was all about liberation and movement, where a woman could run her fingers through her hair and have it naturally fall into place. Coined the “wash and wear,” Sassoon’s geometric, angular hairstyle was meant to be easily maintained. One type of the geometric style – the 5 point cut – was based on Sassoon’s love for architecture, where the hair was cut with such precision and detail that it fit the woman’s bone structure. Soon, models such as Grace Coddington were flying into London just to get their hair cut by him and Sassoon became an international hair mogul for celebrities such as Nancy Kwan and Mary Quant (pictured above).
Sassoon was known to give haircuts that he thought a woman needed, rather than the haircut that the woman wanted. And that was his secret to success: never to compromise. He believed that ”If you have a sense of style and purpose and will you don’t want to compromise. You must always do what you feel is right.”
Not only did Sassoon revolutionize women’s hairstyle, he was committed and giving, developing hair academies and product lines and launching a charity for Katrina victims. Sassoon’s name lives on as he continues to be an inspiration to the industry. The looks he created from the 60s still influence modern style, and we owe it to Sassoon and his work for where the hair industry stands today.
Learn more about Vidal Sassoon’s journey of how he became an icon through his documentary Vidal Sassoon: The Movie.