When you mention the name Vidal Sassoon, it has become almost synonymous with hairstyling. Starting from the famous wedge bob to internationally known hairstyling salons and popular hairstyling products flooding the market, there’s no doubt that the name has become a brand unto itself. But who is the man behind the brand? How did he get started in the beauty industry? Read on to find out.
The Early Life of Vidal Sassoon
Vidal Sassoon was born on January 17, 1928 in Hammersmith, London. The names of his parents are Jack and Betty, and he grew up in a small flat in the city. His father left home when he was five years old, which forced him and his little brother to be displaced in a Jewish orphanage. It was only when his mother remarried that she could afford to take care of her kids again.
Growing up, Vidal actually had no intention of becoming a hairdresser. He would rather participate in the fight against Osmond Mosley’s fascists – because his pre-teenage years were spent after the war in London. Vidal’s mother one night dreamt of him being in a barber shop, so she took him to Cohen’s Beauty and Barber Shop. This is where Vidal worked as an apprentice.
Deciding that if he must pursue the career of being a hairdresser, he might as well be the best in it. To polish his English, he went to theatre plays to adapt the accent of the posh clients. Working as a hairdresser during daytime, Vidal still roamed the London streets at night to fight for what he believed in.
In 1948, Vidal went on to fight for his Jewish homeland, after which he was able to put up his first salon at a tiny room on Bond Street. In 1956, Vidal married Elaine Wood but the union ended only after a couple of years.
A Flourishing Career in Hairstyling
Over the years, Vidal experimented with different hair cutting styles and techniques. His first big break in the beauty industry came when he invented the Bob and Five-Point Cut, thus marking him as the ‘Founder of Modern Hairdressing’.
When the popularity of his salon and his hair cutting techniques caught on, Vidal put up a chain of hair salons not just in the United Kingdom but also the United States. He also developed a line of Vidal Sassoon hair care products which enjoy a huge market following until now.
Other Highlight Life Events
When Vidal remarried in 1967, he had four children with a woman named Beverly Adams. They divorced in 1980 and unfortunately, his third marriage did not work out as well. In 1992, he wed Rhonda Sassoon.
When Vidal moved to the US during the 1980s, he sold his name to a number of hair care product manufacturers such as Proctor & Gamble. He was also able to sell royalties to the name of his salons, thus expanding his hairstyling empire in the UK and the US.
In 1982, the Vidal Sassoon International Centre for the Study of Anti-Semitism was built and its aim was to gather information about anti-Semitism. After selling his company, Vidal worked for other philanthropic organizations, participated in relief efforts after disasters like Hurricane Katrina, and supported other worthy causes.
Vidal Sassoon was diagnosed with leukaemia and died of the disease on May 9, 2012 at his home in Bel Air, Los Angeles.