Vidal Sassoon, the fashion hair stylist, who built a commercial empire around his own legendary talent, has died, aged 84, Reuters reports today (May 10, 2012). Sassoon passed away after a lengthy battle with leukaemia. When he died at his Los Angeles home, he was apparently surrounded by family, including his wife of 20 years, Ronnie. Vidal's family released a statement saying that he will be "greatly missed."
Sassoon is credited with creating a natural look in the 1960s and he eventually built a multimillion-dollar business founded on his own name. He was a pioneer of the "wash and wear" look; a backlash against the styled and crafted beehives and bouffants that had dominated the late '50s and early '60s. He wasn't just a whizz with the scissors and hairdryer, though. Vidal Sassoon displayed immense business acumen and soon began marketing his own range of hair products, beauty salons and hairdressing schools. In 2010, he revealed that he was still not satisfied with how his trade was seen around the world. "Hairdressing in general hasn't been given the kudos it deserves," he told Reuters in 2010. "It's not recognized by enough people as a worthy craft.
Born in London, 1928, Vidal Sassoon won his first hairdressing contest in 1950 and four years later, aged just 26, he opened his first salon on Bond Street, in the fashionable West End of London. Sassoon worked closely with Mary Quant and together, they created styles that defined an era. His relevance has endured, though and was founded on more than simply nostalgia. In 2009 he was awarded and OBE and he is also the founder of the Vidal Sassoon Foundation, supporting the educational needs of deprived people in Israel and abroad.