VIDAL SASSOON

by Pat Jacobs
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Probably the most influential hair stylist of the 1960s was Vidal Sassoon.

His creations included the Asymmetric 5-point, the Geometric, the Wash-and-Wear Perm, the Nancy Kwan (named after the cut he designed for her role in "The Wild Affair".

It was previously known as the Mary Quant cut, because it had been seen first at her collection show.), possibly his best-known one, "The Bob" (a short, angular hairstyle that debuted in 1963), and Mia Farrow's haircut ($5,000!) for "Rosemary's Baby".

This was very popular with young women, particularly in London; it retained popularity through the decades and is still around (with modern variations).

Some trademarks of the Sassoon cuts, besides their unique shaping, were that they were very cutting edge, so to speak, and low-maintenace. Sassoon let the hair swing free, cutting the style into the hair (no need for bobby pins, hairspray, mousse, or gel!).

Sassoon favored dark, very straight, shiny hair as his prototypes. His geometric cuts seemed severe, yet were entirely organic and free-flowing.

Mary Quant's cut was actually shorter, straighter, and more severe than Kwan's particular style. Quant's was also more geometric. It was also very popular with young women, becoming one of the signature looks of the mid-60s (the other was very long, flowing hair).

His mother encouraged him to go into hairdressing at an early age. (Sassoon's parents were very poor; there was no money for higher education, and Sassoon himself has admitted that he wasn't the "brainy" type who could win or be awarded scholarships.)

In 1942, at age 14, he became the apprentice of a local hairdresser in London, England.

Did you know that Sassoon volunteered and fought in the Israel Defense Forces when the State of Israel was declared? (And because of this, many Arabs and Muslims will not buy his Sassoon products.) He was also a member of the 43 Group, a British Anti-Fascist organization.

By 1954, he was able to open his own salon. For the next nine years, Sassoon and his staff worked to change hair dressing into an art form.

He succeeded.

He was one of the first to lend his name to a chain of salons and hair products (He's no longer connected with either one of these enterprises.)

From 1966-1980, he was married to actress Beverly Adams (who was featured in several Beach Party flicks and the Dean Martin "Matt Helm" movies).

They co-wrote several books, including A Year Of Beauty and Health. Beverly Sassoon became a noted fashion expert in her own right.

Sassoon's not only a founding leader of the hair design, but a pioneer in the commercialization of hair styling, turning its craft into a multimillion dollar industry.

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