King of the Cut: Remembering Vidal Sassoon

Few men have influenced the lives of women quite as much as Vidal Sassoon, who passed away of natural causes at his home in L.A. at the age of 84. While his eponymous salons and hair-care line are a global fixture, nothing in Sassoon’s early years would have forecast a legendary life. Raised in an orphanage in London, he became a hair-styling apprentice at the age of 14, fought in the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948 before getting down to business.

What set him apart was his 1960s geometric bob that became all the rage for women longing to shed the constraints of curlers and hairspray. It marked a new freedom for women, one that fit seamlessly into the Swinging London.

But it was the Roman Polanski film Rosemary’s Baby that made him a household name in North America. He famously cut the star Mia Farrow’s hair live in a boxing ring in Hollywood as a publicity stunt set up by Polanski. In one scene, Farrow says, “It’s a Vidal Sasson, very terribly in.” That sealed the deal, and Sassoon never looked back. And millions of women can still look forward to top hair care at his legions of salons and training centres worldwide.

-Kim Izzo