The Humble Beginnings of Pioneering Hairdresser Vidal Sasson
by Alicia Ward on Wednesday, March 16th, 2011
Vidal Sassoon: “There is no genius – just pure hard work and innovation.”
If you’ve been a stylist for any length of time, you know about Vidal Sassoon’s legendary Five-Point cut, legions of salons, beauty schools and successful global product line. If you’ve been around a while longer, you might even remember him as the author of A Year of Beauty and Health, co-written with his ex-wife, Beverly Sassoon, or from his short-lived TV career on “Your New Day with Vidal Sassoon,” which aired in 1980. And, of course, we all know Vidal’s iconic pixie cut for Mia Farrow in the 1968 Roman Polanski film, Rosemary’s Baby. The famed cut was named one of the Top Ten Most Popular Haircuts of All Time by Marie Claire.
And for those of a certain age, who can forget his classic television commercials from the 1980s? Vidal himself appeared in the commericals—a young, handsome man, surrounded by beautiful models, saying: “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good.”
We attended the premiere of “Vidal Sassoon The Movie,” at the Cadillac Theater in Chicago during ABS, and learned more about the man who changed the world with a pair of scissors than we would have ever thought! The film is a documentary of this life that will inspire you not only to do more with your career as a hairdresser, but also as a humanitarian. The movie also inspired us to find out more about Vidal. Though not famous for his curly hairstyles, we would be remiss if we didn’t acknowledge what this visionary has done to revolutionize the hair industry, Vidal Sassoon.
Humble Beginnings. Vidal was born in London, England to Jack and Betty Sassoon. His father left the family when Vidal was very young, leaving his mother destitute. Vidal, his mother and younger brother, Ivor, stayed with an aunt and her children. All seven of them lived in a two-room tenement apartment. This arrangement did not last long, and Vidal’s mother turned to local Jewish authorities for help, which resulted in Vidal and Ivor being placed in a Jewish orphanage for much of their childhood. The boys were only allowed to see their mother once a month until she remarried and could afford to take them back. Vidal’s first job as a youth was as a glove cutter. This was Vidal’s first experience with scissors. As a glove cutter, he always had shears in his hands—little did he know then that he would grow up to change the hair world with a pair of scissors.
Vidal Sassoon The Movie | How One Man Changed The World
by Alicia Ward on Tuesday, March 15th, 2011
America’s Beauty Show hosted the Chicago Premiere of the inspiring documentary, Vidal Sassoon The Movie at Cadillac Palace Theater Saturday night. The movie documents the life of the legendary hair guru rose from humble beginnings to start a hair revolution and create one of the most recognizable brands in the world.
The red carpet was rolled out and the theater was packed. The premiere was packed with top stylists and industry leaders to name a few: Mario Tricocci, Nick Arrojo, Robert Cromeans, Stephanie Kocielski, Angus Mitchell and Takashi Kitamura.
The movie displayed the story of his life from his impoverished childhood in an jewish orphanage to the start of his business in London through today. The story captivating and touched on many famous Sassoon moments like the first salon on New Bond street, his television appearances in the 70’s, divorce of his first wife, model Nancy Kwan, and partnership with designer Mary Quant. The film was made over the course of three years, the movie includes interviews with key Vidal insiders including Tony Beckerman.
Vidal Sassoon (center) at the Premier of “Vidal Sassoon The Movie,” Frank Gironda, president of Cosmetologists of Chicago (far left).
The movie displayed and told the story behind his innovation and his revolutionary haircuts, such as the five-point and the geometric bob. You may recall that some of the most famous models and celebrities sported his cuts: Grace Coddington, Twiggy, Rita Hayworth, and Jean Shrimpton.
The film highlighted the first appearance of his cut in a film—Mia Farrow’s famous short haircut first debuted in the 1968 film Rosemary’s Baby, directed by Roman Polanski.
The film ended on an inspirational note with the 83-year-old:
“If you can get to the root of who you are, and you can make something happen from it—my sense is that you’re gonna surprise yourself.”
After the film, Michael Gordon, legendary hairdresser, founder of Bumble and bumble and author of Hair Heroes and producer of the movie, had a question and answer session and assisted the Cosmetologists of Chicago in presenting the Steuben Crystal Hair Icon Award.
This film will truly move you! You will laugh, cry and feel so proud to have seen this man’s amazing journey!
This movie is a must-see for every hairdresser, new, old or those considering a career as a stylist. You will be inspired and moved by this amazing story! You definitely don’t want to miss this inspiring look at the man who “changed the world with a pair of scissors.”
America’s Beauty Show Chicago: Day One!
by Blog from America's Beauty Show on Saturday, March 12th, 2011
America’s Beauty Show is in full swing this weekend, and we are amazed at all of the great products, education and information that is available this weekend at the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago. First things first: textured tresses are everywhere we look! Models are sporting natural waves, kinks, and curls. Even better, the Hair Rules ladies were passing out buttons that promoted textured hair on your way into the show. Needless to say, we were in heaven.
A model works the Mizani runway.
Keratin is still huge this year, but we saw a huge increase in curly hair specific brands being represented, including Ouidad, Mixed Chicks and Hair Rules. Moroccan Oil had a great set-up where they were doing demos, and we actually saw them promoting curly hair! Mizani was in full force with natural hair as far as the eye could see. We even stopped a woman to tell her she had great curls—and it was a perm! Proof that everyone is digging the curls.
We had the privilege to and the honor of meeting Vidal Sassoon and listening to him speak. It was definitely a “we’re not worthy” situation. He spoke of Chicago being a place of inspiration—the architecture always speaking to him. We think he’s the inspiration in Chicago this year! We are heading to the screening of his feature film tonight at the Cadillac Theatre, where hundreds of stylists and beauty gurus will walk the red carpet and get to ask Vidal Sassoon questions after the film.
And some of the thousands of stylists who will attend ABS over the next two days may be the next Vidal Sassoon.