Sunday, March 25, 2012

His Heart is in the Hair

by Drew Martin
I just watched Vidal Sassoon: The Movie, (click left to watch a trailer) about the rags to riches life of Sassoon. It is an amazing story. His father left his family when he was a little boy. He spent part of his childhood in an orphanage and worked as a bicycle messenger in bombed-out London for the military during WWII. He took voice lessons to jettison his Cockney accent when he was turned back at prospective jobs and told to learn English. At 14, his mother had an epiphany that he would be a hair dresser and brought him to a professional who waived his apprentice fee because he liked his good manners. He went from dreading the idea to revolutionizing the hair industry. His hairstyles were influenced by Bauhaus architecture and, in turn, influenced fashion. He is said to have put the top on the miniskirt. His salon team was greeted like the Beatles when they came to America. Pictured here is Nancy Kwan who decided to play chess with her manager during her appointment with Sassoon because she could not witness him cutting off feet of her hair. The result was this timeless bob, which was immediately photographed for Vogue. In 1965, Roman Polanski filmed Repulsion in Sassoon's London salon and then asked Sassoon to cut Mia Farrow's hair for Rosemary's Baby. Sassoon was the first stylist to create a line of hair products, have celebrity endorsements and to promote a lifestyle. The documentary is of course about hair and fashion but most importantly it is about making a statement in any field through ambition and hard work.