I was so sad last night to read of the passing of Vidal Sassoon. His name is synonymous with 60s style, Britishness and doing things right.
I'm too young to remember the impact that the opening of Vidal Sassoon's salon in 1954 would have had on women of the time but I am aware of the effect it had the way women saw themselves. Vidal Sassoon offered women freedom from the laquering and backcombing of the 50s and by extension, from the structured lives that the hairstyles seemed to reflect. Suddenly women were able to run their fingers through their hair where once those manicured hands would have become entangled in the rigid construct of a beehive. Sassoon who once talked of using hair 'like fabric', was able to see how hair should fall and therefore be cut. Women could wash their hair and carry on with their lives. His take on the 'bob' changed not just how a woman looked, but how she felt about herself. Once you have that confidence, the possibilities are there to be taken.
So, although I don't remember the excitement of Carnaby Street, The Beatles and Mary Quant, I still look at those famous images with envy. Vidal Sassoon wasn't just part of that world, he helped create it. Many years later, after pawing through copies of Vogue as a young girl, I was allowed to go into my local hairdressers and ask for 'the wedge' and have all my long, blonde hair cut off. I felt very adult with this much coveted haircut that effortlessly swung back into place at the flick of my head and I couldn't wait to get clothes to fit my new look. I think in some way, this was the spirit that swept through London a decade earlier. I never achieved the heady sensation of getting my hair cut by the great Vidal Sassoon but I did have a cut that I think he would have approved of.
Twitter, this morning was full of tweets from people admitting that they didn't know that Vidal Sassoon was a real person, thinking instead that the name was simply a brand. Oh no... he was a creative genius, a star in his own right and a gentleman.
Image copyright CNN