Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Vidal Sassoon Autobiography / Book Review

Vidal Sassoon Autobiography
The most famous hairdresser in the world tells his fascinating life story

There’s no doubt that Vidal Sassoon revolutionized hairdressing in the way that his frequent collaborator, Mary Quant, revolutionized hemlines. It’s certain that the Swinging Sixties would have been decidedly less swinging had the celebrities of the day not been sporting his iconic geometric cuts. Sassoon’s approach to hair ushered in a modern era where women, once slaves of the salon, would be freed of the stand up dryer and able to “wash, blow and go” while breaking the rules of hair symmetry altogether.

Vidal Sassoon's extraordinary life has taken him from an impoverished childhood to global fame as the father of modern hairdressing, whose slick sharp style cuts took the fashion world by storm. His memoir begins with surprising and often moving stories of his early life—He then discusses his extraordinary career, during which he cut the hair of everyone who was anyone—including Mary Quant, Grace Coddington, Twiggy, Rita Hayworth, and Mia Farrow; launched salons all over the world; founded the hairdressing school that still bears his name; and became a global brand. 

When asked what he thinks of today’s popular hairstyles. He says that although there are a lot of beautiful hair cuts today most do nothing for the face and would love to see some beautiful face framing cutting come back. He most regrets having sold his salon only hair products to Richardson-Vicks and a year later it was sold to Proctor and Gamble which took the hair products out of the salons and into the mass market. 

If you skim over all the celebrity stuff Vidal’s autobiography is an inspiring rags to riches story. For me it was interesting to see how the hair industry that we take so for grant these days evolved from the 1900's. Filled with pictures his book is a compelling memoir of a genuine fashion icon that reinvented the art of hairdressing in the 20 century. Perhaps Vidal’s most important legacy is the signature techniques taught around the world today at Vidal Sassoon Academies and his memorable TV commercial slogan __ (when you look good, we look good). This book and his first (Sorry to keep you waiting madam) have found a place on my book shelf.  Available at Amazon.com