American Salon mourns the passing of Vidal Sassoon, who sadly lost his battle with leukemia on May 9th at his home in Los Angeles. The most celebrated hairdresser in the world, Sassoon, who began his beauty career as an apprentice during the Second World War and who was later appointed Commander of the British Empire (CBE) revolutionized the industry through his pioneering geometric, Bauhaus-inspired styles, his signature “wash and wear” philosophy that’s still in vogue to this day, his salons, schools and product lines.
I first met Vidal Sassoon—the legendary artist who changed the feminine aesthetic forever and the architect who designed a system that’s the basis for every modern American haircut performed today—back in 2002. At the time, I had teamed up with men’s grooming guru and photographer extraordinaire David Raccuglia on a series of photo shoots for a special story and gatefold cover for the magazine’s 125th anniversary that paid homage to the icons who had shaped hair history, which we’ve reprinted below.
One of our subjects, of course, was Vidal, who strolled into Smashbox Studios in Santa Monica, CA, that balmy spring afternoon a little late, but looking as dapper as ever. He began his introduction by apologizing for his tardiness and for not being more respectful of David’s and my time. It was a magnanimous gesture and an act that spoke volumes about this giant in the industry who has done so much to advance what he called “one of the most rewarding professions in the world.”
In essence, that was the beauty of Vidal. He was equal parts genius and generosity and always the consummate gentleman. We will miss him dearly but thankfully the inspiration he provided to all of us in this great industry will continue to live on.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.