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Epitaph for Vidal Sassoon

Tamara Forrest-Smith

In the year 1982, I started my hairdressing training I was nearly 20 years old. I had been cutting hair since I was 15 but never taken it up any further. So after over 3 years as a landscape gardener I finally decided to train officially as a hairdresser.

So I enrolled in college full-time to become a hairdresser.

It seemed at the time everyone was doing the same way to get qualified.

They went into college, learnt from the teachers then went him to practice.

I wanted it faster and I wanted to learn from the masters.

At that time (1982) getting any hairdressing books was pretty hard to come by.

There was a new hairdresser just starting to appear then, his name was Anthony Mascalo from the now very established Tony and Guy. I stumbled upon his books, the fist I had seen that had edge and took us through step by step, unconventional ways to cut hair. At the time the books were pretty revolutionary. I think there was around 4-5 so despite being really broke at this stage I bough them all.

The only other book I could get was by Vidal Sassoon. Now being what some call an artistic type both of these guys blew my mind. Sassoon was a man I wanted to emulate. Mascaloa was a guy I wanted to also be like as a hairdresser.

Yet the weird thing was, I quickly learnt and grew beyond the Tony and Guy books but used the Sassoon book as a reference point forever.

Sassoon was an architect of hair, a constructor of the image, a creator of the look and feel of a moment. His skills went way beyond hairdressing. His smile, his approach, his genius, his soft voice, his fantastic look, his immaculate dressing. I admit i never knew him but what I did know i always liked. I watched an interview with him once talking about how for years and years he had never cut hair yet he was iconic in his representation of an art that would eventually become mainstream.

Yes of course haircuts and hairdressing has always taken place but this was a new leave, different, strong, powerful and had arrived at the perfect time.

Sassoon was surrounded by well known genius hairdressers. He sent out many hairdressers that would ventrally become household names in their own right.

Yet we all knew, we all saw and we all remember there is only one original hairdresser that truly changed the world of hair, the world of fashion, the world of hair cosmetics and of course, the very fist celebrity hairdresser that was a actually a true celebrity.

Vidal Sassoon, I loved everything you were about. I even loved the fact you had four wives and lived a life that was full, lived, loved and shared with mankind.

I don’t have many heroes or people that have changed my life, Sassoon was one of the ones that did.

Genius, brilliant and a true servant of hairdressing but ultimately humanity.

Vidal Sassoon.

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