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Friday 23 February 2018

Sassoon took women's hair to the cutting edge

Sandy Cohen in Los Angeles

VIDAL Sassoon, who died on Wednesday aged 84, will be remembered as the "liberator of women's hair".

He used his hairstyling shears to free women from beehives and hot rollers and give them 'wash-and-wear' cuts that made him an international name.

When he came on the scene in the 1950s, hair was high and heavy -- typically curled, teased, piled and shellacked into place. Then came the 1960s, and Mr Sassoon's creative cuts, which required little styling and fell into place perfectly every time, fitting right in with the fledgling women's liberation movement.

"His timing was perfect; as women's hair was liberated, so were their lives," editor-in-chief of 'Allure' magazine Linda Wells said in a statement. "Sassoon was one of the original feminists."

Mr Sassoon was at his home in Los Angeles with his family when he died on Wednesday aged 84, police spokesman Kevin Maiberger said.

Mr Maiberger said police were summoned to the home but found that Mr Sassoon had died of natural causes, and authorities wouldn't investigate further. His exact cause of death was unclear, but publicist Mark Sejvar said Sassoon had leukemia for several years.

"Vidal Sassoon was the most famous hairstylist in the history of the world," said John Paul DeJoria, a close friend of Mr Sassoon and CEO of John Paul Mitchell Systems, a company he co-founded with the late Paul Mitchell, a Sassoon protege.

"Good hairstylists never die. Vidal Sassoon and Paul Mitchell will always live on," he added.

DeJoria said Mr Sassoon had been scheduled to sit at his table for a fundraiser on Monday night but called to cancel, saying "his body was feeling just a little bit too tired and he would be there in spirit".

Mr Sassoon opened his first salon in his native London in 1954 but said he didn't perfect his cut-is-everything approach until the mid-1960s. Once the wash-and-wear concept hit, though, it hit big, and many women retired their curlers for good.

His shaped cuts were an integral part of the "look" of Mary Quant, the superstar British fashion designer who popularised the miniskirt.

SEE OBITUARY PAGE 24

Irish Independent

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