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Vidal Sassoon: the legend lives on

Thursday, 10 May 2012 22:50

A revolutionary and groundbreaking innovator loved and admired by all on his quest in search of freedom for his art, for women, and - most of all - for hair.

Probably the most famous and best-loved international hairstylists in the world has finally left the stage. Vidal Sassoon finally succumbed the leukemia he had long been suffering from at his home in Bel Air in Los Angeles, surrounded by his loved ones. His career spanned the second half of the past century and he left his mark on the entire world, and not only in hairdressing.

The son of Jewish immigrants, Vidal had a difficult childhood and adolescence, even spending a few years in an orphanage before finally finding a job in a hairdressing salon. This was merely the beginning, as the once-aspiring architect assimilated the influences of the Bauhaus and minimalist schools of design and soon began applying these concepts in his salon. He is known to have declared, “If I was going to be in hairdressing, I wanted to change things." And change things he did, transforming women's hair from teased pompadours to his geometric "wash-and-wear" cuts that were so precisely shaped that a toss of the head would suffice for it to fall back into place. An artistic revolution that fell into line with the feminist movement and women setting out on fast track careers that left little time to sit under hairdryers.


Not only an artist, but also an entrepreneur on the cutting edge of globalisation, by 1964 he had gone international, opening his first salon in New York, soon to be followed by sister salons in Toronto and in Beverly Hills, and his first hairdressing school, in London. In 1973, he launched his hair-care products for the trade market and by the mid-1970s owned 14 salons and schools in the US, Canada, Britain and Germany.


So, although it may sound cliché, today we are not so much mourning his death as celebrating his life. A long and prosperous life. A life spent doing what he loved best and excelled in. A rich life full of …well, living. Legends never die.

In lieu of flowers the family has requested that memorial donations be sent to American Friends of The Hebrew University in support of The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism - 11500 W. Olympic Boulevard, Suite 512 LA CA 90064 or www.afhu.org. A service will be planned at a later date.

  • Vidal Sassoon

    A true icon to our industry Vidal Sassoon opened the doors to unlimited creative boundaries with precision and execution. He will always be an important part of my career and his success will continue to motivate hairstylists young and old throughout time. A classic visionary. Timothy Switzer, Global Color Master for Goldwell

  • Precision cuts. Geometric designs.

    I am deeply saddened at our collective loss – the light and the genius of Vidal Sassoon. He changed this "game" for all of us. He set new standards and changed the world's way of viewing what we do for a living.... and he changed all of us – for the better. His gorgeous work and innovative thinking live on. May God bless him as he inspires everyone in heaven. …He's probably doing a haircut, and exclaiming it’s "marvelous" right now. Beth Minardi of Minardi Salon at Mark Garrison Salon, Minardi Luxury Color Care and Spokesperson – Joico Vero K-PAK Color

  • The 1960's

    Vidal Sasson is such an inspiration to me because he never gave up, once he said that the secret to success is that it doesn't matter how many times you fall, what matters is that each time you get up with the same enthusiasm and you will be surprised. This is why his legacy will live forever. Alexandra Matiz for Wella Professionals

  • Nancy Kwan

    He revolutionized hair as we know it. He was why I started hairdressing. Every salon throughout the world uses some form of the Vidal Sassoon methodology and it’s up to us to maintain those high standards and live up to those expectations. May he rest in peace. Damien Carney, Joico International Artistic Director

  • Hair that naturally falls into place...

    I am deeply saddened to hear of the passing of the legendary Vidal Sassoon. Vidal was a visionary artist with immense talent that touched so many peoples lives. He will forever be celebrated. Antoinette Beenders, Global Creative Director for Aveda

  • A global entrepreneur as well...

    My earliest memory is from his TV ads, "If you don't look good, we don't look good." I will forever be grateful to Vidal for raising the level of professionalism in our industry making hair cutting an art form. Sherri Jessee, Rusk Creative Director

  • Vidal and Mary Quant

    A true visionary, it is a tremendous loss for stylists and the industry as a whole. He's one of those icons that elevated our industry from a craft to an art form. George Papanikolas, Joico Celebrity Colorist and Stylist

  • Vidal and Mary Quant

    Vidal Sassoon changed who we were as hairdressers – he made us better and elevated what we do everyday to an honored profession. He understood that if women listened to their stylist, we could make them look good. Vidal lead by example, he shined making others look good and showed us that we could, too. Patrick McIvor, Matrix Artistic Director.

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