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5 Things I Learned About Vidal Sassoon

Stacey Soble | July 10, 2011 | 5:16 PM

 

5 Things I Learned About Vidal Sassoon
Craig Teper, the director of the movie and Vidal Sassoon. (Photo by Bill Knapp.)

If you've worked in the hair industry for any length of time, you know that Vidal Sassoon is famous for his revolutionary five-point cut, for creating Mia Farrow's iconic look for Rosemary's Baby in front of press in a boxing ring, and for his wildly successful product line. And if you have some years on you like I do, you can even probably sing the "If You Don't Look Good, We Don't Look Good" jingle.

When I had the opportunity to invite some West Coast-based SALON TODAY readers to a special screening of Vidal Sassoon The Movie at the Hammer Museum in Los Angeles, I discovered there were plenty of interesting facts I didn't know about Sassoon's personal life. The documentary about the man who changed the world with a pair of scissors was insightful, inspirational and entertaining. It beautifully combined a mix of personal, reflective interviews with Sassoon and those who have worked with him over the years with historical photographs and video clips spanning decades of work. The connecting thread throughout the movie was a wall of images that Michael Gordon, one of the movie's producers, a close personal friend of Sassoon's and the founder of Bumble & bumble, slowly created that featured Sassoon's signature styles.

The viewing of the movie in the intimate theater was a finale to a night that was breathtakingly magical. I arrived early with my photographer Bill Knapp to take our place on the papparazzi side of a small red carpet. Soon industry celebrities, such as Angus Mitchell, Tabatha Coffey, Brig Van Osten and Janine Jarman, strolled down the carpet mingling with Hollywood celebrities,  including Jacqueline Bissett, Beverly Johnson and Kathy Griffin, many of whom graciously paused for photo requests and even interviews.

Of course, the most exciting celebrity to take the carpet was Sassoon himself, accompanied by his wife Ronnie and Craig Teper, the movie's director. While he paused to speak to reporters from wire services and Hollywood news agencies, Sassoon seemed to have a special twinkle in his eye when he stopped in front of the MODERN SALON-designated section and spent about 10 minutes answering my questions. (Check my blog next week to see some of clips along with more pictures.)

After the runway arrivals, the movie's production company hosted an hour-long cocktail party where we could mingle, network and take more pictures. This was my personal highlight of the evening, as I was able to connect with several of the SALON TODAY and MODERN SALON readers we were allowed to invite, all of whom were over-the-moon about meeting Sassoon. For those in the professional beauty industry, Sassoon is royalty, and the air positively vibrated with excitement.

5 Things I Learned About Vidal Sassoon
 A little one-on-one time with Vidal Sassoon. (Photo by Bill Knapp.)

Finally, we were ushered into the theater, where Sassoon gave a short address and Teper thanked many of the people who made the film possible. The director then turned the table, taking a photo of the audience with his phone, so he could post it to the movie's Facebook page. As the theater darkened and the movie rolled, I begin learning more about Sassoon's personal and professional life.

One: Born in London during the Depression to parents who soon split up, Sassoon and his younger brother spent most of their childhood in a Jewish orphanage, only seeing their mother once a month until she remarried when Sassoon was 11 and she could afford to take them back.

Two: When he was in his early teens, Sassoon's mother Betty had a premonition he would become a famous hairdresser. Despite his protests, she dragged him to the salon of Adolf Cohen to inquire about an apprenticeship. The apprenticeship fee Cohen quoted her was too steep, so they left the salon. As was typical, a greatly relieved Sassoon politely held the door open for his mother and tipped his hat. When Cohen observed this, he stopped the  mother and son and declared he that he was impressed with the young man's manners and would waive the apprenticeship fee. 

Three: As a young man, Sassoon became a member of the 43 Group, a Jewish veterans' militia organization that broke up Fascist meetings in East London after the end of World War II. As a result, he sometimes showed up at work bruised, and once responded to an inquiring client that he had tripped over a hairpin.

Four: As Sassoon was forming his signature styles during the early days of his London salon, he actually had quite a temper. If a cut didn't go the way he wanted, he would throw his scissors, and storm out of the salon—sometimes for days. "Once I threw my scissors, and they stuck in the ceiling," chuckled Sassoon in the film. My favorite scene in the movie is of a young Sassoon addressing a confrontational client in his chair who questioned why he insisted on giving her the cut she needed instead of the style she wanted.

Five: After moving to the United States, and opening a salon in New York, Sassoon and his wife Beverly eventually made their way to Los Angeles, where they hosted a television show on beauty and fitness. After about 200 episodes, Sassoon gave up the show to refocus his attention on his product line.

All beauty professionals have the opportunity to spend a special evening with Vidal Sassoon at the exclusive Red-Carpet Premiere of the movie during America's Beauty Show. On March 12, ABS will honor Sassoon with the Hair Icon Award at the premiere held at Cadillac Palace Theatre in Chicago. Your Red Carpet Event ticket includes the gala screening of Vidal Sassoon The Movie, the presentation of the Hair Icon Asard to Sassoon, a special Q&A session with Sassoon and Michael Gordon, and a take-home DVD gift of the movie.

CLICK HERE for information on the ABS Premiere of the movie, including ticket prices, and to see a trailer of the film.

5 Things I Learned About Vidal Sassoon
 
Marco Pelusi, owner of Marco Pelusi Hair Studio in West Hollywood; Ginger Boyle, owner of Planet Hair in Beverly Hills; Stacey Soble, editor of Salon Today; Karie Bennett owner of Atelier SalonSpa in San Jose; and Jacque Leonard, owner of Salon Roux in Paso Robles. (Photo by Bill Knapp.)

 

5 Things I Learned About Vidal Sassoon
Angus Mitchell, owner of Angus M Salon in Beverly Hills and Vidal Sassoon. (Photo by Bill Knapp.)

 

5 Things I Learned About Vidal Sassoon  Vidal Sassoon, Brig Van Osten, and Christophe. (Photo by Bill Knapp.)
 

 

5 Things I Learned About Vidal Sassoon
 Vidal Sassoon and Redken Founder Paula Kent Meehan. (Photo by Joni Rae Russell.)

 

5 Things I Learned About Vidal Sassoon
 Supermodel Beverly Johnson with Vidal Sassoon. (Photo by Bill Knapp.)

 

5 Things I Learned About Vidal Sassoon
 Vidal and Ronnie Sassoon. (Photo by Bill Knapp.)



5 Things I Learned About Vidal Sassoon
Tabatha Coffey and Stacey Soble. (Photo by Bill Knapp.)

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