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Vidal Sassoon Dead at 84, Fashion World Mourns
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Celebrity hair stylist Vidal Sassoon, whose name became synonymous with ‘natural look’ in hairstyles, died on Wednesday from leukemia. He was 84 at the time of his death. Sassoon was surrounded by his family members at his deathbed. Vidal Sassoon is credited with ending the era of the bouffant and beehive styles in the 1950’s and introducing wash and wear looks. His actions and fashion sense freed women from their weekly visits to salons to maintain those ‘beehives’ made up of lacquer and pins.

Sassoon was a business genius and one of the best self-promoters in the fashion industry. He marketed his name, styles and cutting methods through a line of beauty salons and hair cutting schools selling his products.

However, he told Reuters in a 2010 interview that “Hairdressing in general hasn’t been given the kudos it deserves … It’s not recognized by enough people as a worthy craft.”

  
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He took it to be an art form. “If you get hold of a head of hair on somebody you’ve never seen before, cut beautiful shapes, cut beautiful architectural angles and she walks out looking so different – I think that’s masterful.”

Sassoon spent eight of his early years in an orphanage after his father, a poor Turkish-Jewish carpet salesman, abandoned his family. He dropped out of school at the age of fourteen and his stepfather financed his apprenticeship to a hairdresser.

Vidal Sassoon once said that he entered hairstyling because “it was my mother’s idea … her feeling was that I didn’t have the intelligence to pick a trade myself.”

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In 1948, following the partition of Palestine, Sassoon fought in the Israeli army and lived for a year in a Kibbutz. According to him, he got the direction and discipline for a full-time career in hair cutting from that experience.

At the age of 22, Sassoon won his first hairdressing competition and in 1954, he opened his first salon in Bond Street at London’s West End. Sassoon drew his inspiration from great buildings and believed that if he could not change hairdressing within a decade then he would become an architect. His signature became the geometric shapes that were so natural and easy to shape.



He recreated the classic ‘bob cut’ with his own touch and went on to create the ‘wash and wear hair’ look while styling models for designer Mary Quant. Sassoon’s relation with Quant made him popular in the worlds of pop culture and fashion. The Beatles adopted Sassoon-inspired cuts with bangs and long locks.

Vidal Sassoon earned greater fame when styling Mia Farrow in the film “Rosemary’s Baby” and the term “a Sassoon” became a part of popular vocabulary.



 

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