There has been a lot of recollection in the salon recently over the loss of Vidal Sassoon, an industry legend. It is tricky to summarize such a monumental figure, especially since my first memory of him is from a shampoo commercial from the eighties: he was surrounded by a group of pretty girls with shiny swinging lochs stating "if you don't look good, we don't look good!" Never a more true statement has been claimed about a salon to me. He revolutionized the hair industry. His vision allowed women to simply wear their hair without harsh weekly teasing and he shared his talent with hairdressers across the world. Changing the face and customs of beauty for the better.
Of course, I never met the man, but the first haircutting book I bought in my early twenties was Cutting Hair The Vidal Sassoon Way. It is the only book I didn't give up to our studio library, it's like a bible to me. Though some of the finished styles on the pages may be dated, all the principles still apply.
One of my favorite interviews of him was about how he came into his apprenticeship. He implied that if not for his basic use of manners the opportunity may have been lost to him. It taught me early on the importance of kindness and now I impress upon my small children how useful please, thank-you, and holding the door for others is.
He was charming, talented, and innovative. I would love to have the 'Je ne sais quoi' that guided him to blaze a trail of inspiration that has brightened the world of hairdressing the way he has. Alas, I have merely been blessed by his presence in a way that has allowed me to create what I enjoy.
I was about eight years old when I first saw that commercial that has burned in me the importance of service and skill and these are a few of the captured images that have come to life because of the life someone else shared.
I feel truly blessed to work with people who are mentors to me and have actually met the legend Vidal Sassoon himself. I can only hope to inspire others and leave this world with more beauty than before I was in it.