Vidal Sassoon - biography
Vidal Sassoon, CBE (born January 17, 1928) is a British-born Israeli hairdresser and businessman. He is notable for creating new hairstyles and his name is used on a brand haircare products sold worldwide.
Sassoon was born to Jewish parents in Hammersmith, London. His father, Jack Sassoon, was from Thessaloniki, Greece, and his mother came from a family of immigrants from Spain. Sassoon had a younger brother, Ivor, who died from a heart attack at the age of 46. Jack Sassoon left his family for another woman when Vidal was three.
Sassoon attended Essendine Road Primary School, a Christian school, before being evacuated to Holt, Wiltshire. Upon his return to London he left school at the age of 14 and worked as a messenger before starting a hairdressing apprenticeship. Although too young to serve in the Second World War, he became a member of the 43 Group, a Jewish veterans' militia organisation that broke up Fascist meetings in East London after the end of the war. In 1948 he joined the Israeli Defence Forces to fight in the 1948 Arab-Israeli War.
Influence in hairstyling
Sassoon's works include the geometric perm and the "Nancy Kwan" hairstyles. They were all modern and low-maintenance. The hairstyles created by Sassoon relied on dark, straight, and shiny hair cut into geometric yet organic shapes. In 1963, Sassoon created a short, angular hairstyle cut on a horizontal plane that was the recreation of the classic "bob cut." His geometric haircuts seemed to be severely cut, but were entirely lacquer-free, relying on the natural shine of the hair for effect. Sassoon has been a key force in the commercial direction of hair styling.
By the early 1980s, after moving to the United States, Sassoon had sold his name to manufacturers of haircare products and the multinational Procter & Gamble was applying his name to shampoos and conditioners sold worldwide. Former salon colleagues also bought Sassoon's salons and acquired the right to use his name, extending the brand in salons into the United Kingdom and United States. However, in 2003, Sassoon sued Procter & Gamble in the Federal Court alleging that P&G was destroying his brand by skimping on marketing in favor of the company's other hair product lines, notably Pantene. However, the suit was settled to their mutual satisfaction before trial. Also in 2002, the chain of Vidal Sassoon salons was sold to Regis Corporation. By 2004, it was reported that he was no longer associated with the brand that bears his name. Vidal Sassoon has authored several books, including A Year of Beauty and Health co-written with his former wife, Beverly Sassoon. He also had a short-lived TV series called Your New Day with Vidal Sassoon in the late 1970s. In 1982, Sassoon started the Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Antisemitism, or SICSA, a research centre devoted to the non-political, interdisciplinary gathering of information about antisemitism.
Sassoon was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2009 Birthday Honours.
Sassoon married his first wife, Elaine, in 1956, but the marriage was short-lived.
In 1967, Vidal Sassoon married his second wife, Beverly Adams. They had four children, including an adopted son. One daughter, actress Catya Sassoon, died of a drug overdose on January 1, 2002. The couple divorced in 1980. He is currently married to Rhonda Sassoon.