Vidal Sassoon: The Movie

For anyone interested in fashion, beauty and the Sixties, Vidal Sassoon: The Movie is a must see. I watched it a while ago but given it was Sassoon’s 84th birthday last week I thought that it would be appropriate to post about it today. Made in 2010, the film is a straightforward biographical look at a man whose career has spanned seven decades, who is a household name and one of the most influential hairdressers of all time.

Sassoon is a self-made man from a tough Cockney background. He was taken into a Jewish orphanage as a young boy when he, his brother and mother were left by his father and his mother struggled to find a home for them. He stayed in the orphanage until war broke out in and he was evacuated to the countryside. Upon his return to London aged 14 he left school. His mother had a premonition that he would become a hairdresser and she took him to a Whitechapel to find an apprenticeship, thus igniting the passion that would sustain him for life.

The film features a fascinating montage of 60s architecture juxtaposed with Vidal’s geometric haircuts. He took huge inspiration from Bauhaus architecture and at one point in the film mentioned that he would have loved to have been an architect. Sassoon worked hard for nine years from 1954 to 1963 in his salon, trying to innovate and create hairstyles that complimented the face, rather than the teased and sprayed high-maintenance helmets of decades past. The zenith of this creative period was the famous “5 point cut” with a very young Grace Coddington (now Creative Director at American Vogue) as the model. He created Mary Quant’s iconic bob, Mia Farrow’s much copied elfin haircut from Rosemary’s Baby and was the first celebrity hairdresser to create his own international line of products.

In the documentary Sassoon is an extraordinarily youthful 81 year old, probably in part thanks to his obsession with keeping fit. Self educated, articulate, driven, handsome, and charming he comes across as admirable and very likeable man. Definitely a documentary to watch.

Nancy Kwan with her famous Sassoon haircut. Pic by Terence Donovan
Grace Coddington modelling the famous “Five Point Cut”. Pic by David Montgomery
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