Date: May 11 2012
VIDAL SASSOON, the British-born hair-care magnate who built a global enterprise of salons and hair products and helped liberate women from time-consuming beauty parlour coiffures by popularising a wash-and-go approach to hairstyling, has died.
Sassoon was diagnosed with leukaemia in 2010, according to a British media report. He died at his Los Angeles home on Wednesday, aged 84.
Trim and dashing, with a baby face and cultured manner that belied his Cockney upbringing in a Jewish orphanage in London, Sassoon became an international sensation in the 1960s with his vast network of salons and styling schools.
Sassoon, long a vivacious fixture on social circuits in New York, Los Angeles, Paris and London, gained instant household recognition by appearing in television ads for his shampoos and sprays. His tagline: ''If you don't look good, we don't look good.''
Starting in the 1970s, he shrewdly linked his products to the burgeoning general interest in healthy lifestyles.
Clean geometric lines had been Sassoon's driving motivation since opening his first salon in London in 1954. At the time, most women were resigned to going to bed at night with rollers in their hair. His approach grew into a direct assault on the beehive style and other formidable towers of hair seemingly shellacked with hairspray.
In 1957, he launched a fruitful collaboration with clothes designer Mary Quant, perfecting the bob that became the rage of swinging London.
Subsequent hairstyles included an asymmetrical, peek-a-boo bob and a short, closely curled look called the ''Greek goddess''.
Sassoon's services were requested by prominent high-fashion models, including the sisters Suzy Parker and Dorian Leigh, socialites such as Lee Radziwill, and movie stars such as Nancy Kwan and Mia Farrow, for whom he designed a pixie-like hairstyle for her career-making performance in Rosemary's Baby in 1968.
By that time, Sassoon focused on aggressively expanding his business empire. He recognised that the real profit centre was hair products: shampoos, protein mixtures, brushes and hand-held blow dryers.
The brand reached sales of more than $100 million annually when he sold the line to Richardson-Vicks in 1983.
The Washington Post
This material is subject to copyright and any unauthorised use, copying or mirroring is prohibited.
[ Canberra Times | Text-only index]