Today, Vidal Sassoon died at the age of 84. An icon in the hair and beauty world, his work influenced the style of the '60s -- and beyond.
I may be a child of the '80s, but my heart lies somewhere in the '60s. The running joke around the Stylelist office is that I'm the resident "Grandma" that people consult when they have a question about vintage clothes or yesterday's celebrities. Thanks to a mother who was the epitome of '60s mod style, I grew up with an appreciation for the clothes, beauty and hair of the period.
But especially the hair. I always wanted to be a Vidal Sassoon girl, the kind with the amazingly long neck and dramatic bone structure needed to pull off the geometric cuts that were his calling card. Think Mia Farrow in "Rosemary's Baby," or Mary Quant. Or, more recently, Megan Draper's almost A-line bob on "Mad Men." Alas, nature had an alternate plan for me. I did not get the incredible bone structure of a Sassoon woman, but a sort of youthful face regularly mistaken for being under 21. (In time, I'm sure I'll be thankful.)
Did it stop me from coveting the precision-cut bob? No. But it did send me straight to the hair product aisle to the products bearing his name. One of the earliest celebrity hairdressers, Vidal Sassoon lent his name to a line of affordably-priced professional-caliber products that are par for the course nowadays, but a rarity in a time when the haircare aisle consisted of Brylcreem and Prell.
With that, he became a champion of the masses when most were occupied with an air of rarity. (Which is why Vidal became a household name, but not Kenneth, who was similarly gifted and had a celebrity clientele that included Jacqueline Kennedy.) This desire to make a luxury a bit more accessible might have stemmed from his background -- he came from a working-class neighborhood and occasionally was dropped off at an orphanage to be babysat. And that makes for another reason why I looked up to him: He was the old kind of success story, where a decidedly unfashionable background did not prevent him from ultimately achieving success in a style field.
So, let's take a moment and remember Vidal. Take a look through our slideshow of his most iconic looks and tell us what you think.
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