Today is a sad day as one of my all-time heroes and a true innovator — Vidal Sassoon has passed away at the age of 84. Sassoon was responsible for single handedly revolutionising the world of hairdressing in the early 60’s and his book Vidal Sassoon and the Bauhaus (see image above) was my bible whilst learning my trade (I used to be a hairdresser) at Harganget in Stockholm from 1999–2003 (Harganget at the time was probably the most forward thinking and vibrant salon outside of London).
Sassoon revolutionised hairdressing by doing away with all the old-fashioned, time consuming and unmanageable styles of the time and enforcing the doctrine “form follows function”. This approach immediately made haircuts more accessible and maintainable by the client (ring any bells). Instead of styles that took an hour to blow dry, women (and to a lesser, though not any less significant extent) men could have stylish, functional, yet beautifully designed haircuts that didn’t require half your morning to style. He did this by putting the emphasis on the process and technique of cutting hair, clean sectioning, precise geometric shapes, fastidious attention to detail and an awareness of shape, texture, tone and form that was unheard of before then.
The Swallow Tail — 1975
This also came at the time of the “sexual revolution” of the mid 60’s when women started to aspire to something more that cooking and cleaning, they wanted the same freedoms that men had enjoyed, careers, independence and their own lives, laborious and bloated hairstyles had no room here.
The Asymmetrical Isadora — 1969
When embarking on my career in design some 4 years ago I was pleasantly surprised at how much of the knowledge and skills I had acquired whilst working as a hair stylist where transferable over to the web design world. The notion of making websites accessible, usable, simple yet aesthetically pleasing, commercial yet still individual, replicable yet still bespoke and modern yet timeless is exactly the same way I used to approach cutting hair and I have Sassoon to thank for that. Rest in peace good sir, you will be missed.