Vidal Sassoon was a key force in the 1960s for the commercial direction of hairstyling and was instrumental in turning the profession into a multi-million dollar industry. He is the father of the modernist style and, by 1968, was one of the most prolific and influential hairstylists of the decade.
Born in London on 17 January 1928 to Jewish parents, he specialised in styles that were modern and low maintenance. He was a protege of Raymond Bessone – also known as Mr Teazy-Weezy – who owned a salon in Mayfair, London, and had a long list of celebrity clients.
He was responsible for the geometric style and the wash-and-wear perm, although he preferred the natural shine of hair for effect and did not use hair-sprays or lacquers. In 1963, he created a short, angular hairstyle cut on a horizontal plane which recreated the classic ‘bob’.
By the early 1980s, Vidal Sassoon had sold his name to manufacturers of hair-care products and multinational Procter & Gamble applied the name to shampoos and conditioners worldwide.
In 2002 Vidal Sassoon salons were sold to Regis Corporation, he cut his ties with Procter & Gamble two years later and is no longer associated with the brand that bears his name.
Vidal Sassoon fought for the Israeli Army when the State of Israel was declared which led to Muslims and Arabs refusing to purchase his products. He was also a member of the British Anti-Fascist organisation, the 43 Group.