As the fashion world mourns the passing of legendary hair stylist and entrepreneur Vidal Sassoon, we look back at some of his greatest career moments. As one of the industry’s true innovators Sassoon influenced not only how we style our hair, but also the way we view modern beauty.
1955: MAYFAIR’S YOUNGEST HAIRSTYLIST
Sassoon trained under Brit hairstyling great, Raymond Bessone, but by the time he was 25 he had opened his very first salon in Mayfair. For a glimpse at his early styles check out this vintage video. The dramatic shapes and precise details are all still there, but the romantic Spanish influenced styles are very different from the mod shapes we’ve come to associate with his work.
1963: BAUHAUS INSPIRED
Sassoon will always be remembered for bringing Bauhaus’ doctrine of “form follows function” into the world of hair dressing. Prior to Sassoon the look was all about hair that took hours to perfect and wasn’t meant to move – The Guardian details the era of “setting lotions and rows of hairdryers” well. Sassoon was all about working with the natural texture and shine of the hair, then creating dramatic angular cuts that were easy to care for. You can see his classic shape here on Peggy Moffitt, a style echoed by the famous crops of girls like Ranya Mordanova and Tao Okamoto.
You have to love a man who appreciates models. When asked by W to talk about his favorites, Sassoon had a couple of greats in mind. “Grace Coddington became my top model. She was eighteen when I first met her. She was just a little waif when Mary Quant and I got on to her. She carried off the Five Point Cut to be believed. Here in Los Angeles in my work with Rudi Gernreich, it was Peggy Moffitt. She was an extraordinary model. She acted out every piece of clothing. She would look in the mirror and act it all out before she would go in front of the camera.”
1967: THE POWER PIXIE
Oft imitated but never duplicated, Sassoon’s close cropped coif for Mia Farrow remains style standard. Nearly every pixie cut since has been inspired by this one. Just look at all the current actresses who have given this style a try – Winona Ryder, Natalie Portman, Emma Watson, Michelle Williams, Carey Mulligan, Mia Wasikowska…
1985: SASSOON FOR MEN
When Andy Warhol endorses your hairspray it is kind of a big deal. In one of the most memorable ad campaigns ever the brand’s shampoos and conditioners were praised by a unique group of 80s stars. Getting Warhol was a coup but the most surprising endorsement came from bald actor, Geoffrey Holder.
2004: THE SLEEK RELAUNCH
Inez van Lamsweerde and Vinoodh Matadin knocked the ball out of the park with their chic ads for the line’s revamp that focused on the graphic quality of those ingenious cuts.
2010: SASSOON – THE MOVIE
What better tribute to a true legend? If you haven’t seen director, Craig Teper’s thorough exploration of Sassoon’s life and legacy you owe it to yourself to check it out.
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