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Vidal Sassoon: Thank You For My Bob

In a week in which we’ve said good-bye to one of the great authors and illustrators of our time, Maurice Sendak, we also mourn the passing of another great artist: fashion designer Vidal Sassoon.

It’s hard to think about 20th century fashion without thinking of Vidal Sassoon. Back in the 1960’s, he revolutionized women’s hairstyles – and lifestyles – by popularizing a “wash and go” approach to hair-styling, liberating ladies of all social classes from the onerous, time-intensive beehive and bouffant looks that had dominated the 1950s.

Sassoon had many famous clients and admirers including the Duchess of Bedford, actor Terence Stamp and fashion designer Mary Quant, who called him the “Chanel of hair.” He knew he’d hit the big time when he was flown to Hollywood from London, at a reputed cost of $5,000, to create Mia Farrow’s pixie cut for the 1968 film Rosemary’s Baby.

Like Sendak, Sassoon endured a childhood of hardship. His father left his mother and younger brother when he was five years old, at which point his mother put both boys into a Jewish orphanage in London’s East End, where he spent the next seven years. In an interview last year on BBC Radio’s Desert Island Disks program, Sassoon confided that he once ran away from the orphanage to find his father, who promptly returned him. “I decided there and then that I didn’t love him,” Sassoon explained matter-of-factly. He only saw his father once or twice after that.

But Sassoon insisted that he doesn’t regret the orphanage experience, which he claims made him a fighter.

Read the rest of this post at The Washington Post’s She The People blog

Image: asymmetrical bob with fringe by kiwinky via Flickr under a Creative Commons license