Legendary hairstylist Vidal Sassoon dies

18th November 1964: Clothes designer Mary Quant, one of the leading lights of the British fashion scene in the 1960's, having her hair cut by another fashion icon, hairdresser Vidal Sassoon.

Story highlights

  • Sassoon once said his goal was to create "a cutting art form"
  • He went from London orphanage to celebrity stylist and beauty mogul
  • Sassoon developed a hair care line, hair care tools and chain of salons
  • He is credited with revolutionizing women's hair in the 1960s
Legendary hairstylist Vidal Sassoon died of "apparent natural causes" at his Los Angeles home Wednesday morning, a Los Angeles police spokesman said. He was 84.
Police were called to Sassoon's Bel Air home on Mulholland Drive at 10:30 a.m., spokesman Kevin Maiberger said.
"When officers arrived, there were family members at the residence," Maiberger said.
Sassoon, a British native, is credited with revolutionizing women's hair in the 1960s after a childhood that included several years in a London orphanage. His father had left, and his mother could not afford to care for him.
Later, after his mother dreamed of her son being in a barbershop, she apprenticed him to a local barber. That began a career that saw him develop two classic hairstyles of the 1960s, the bob and the even shorter five-point cut, along with an eponymous hair care line, a range of hair care tools and a chain of salons.
The legacy of Vidal Sassoon
The legacy of Vidal Sassoon


    The legacy of Vidal Sassoon


The legacy of Vidal Sassoon 01:42
"At the very beginning, the only thing I was truly interested in was changing the craft of hairdressing into a cutting art form, where we created shapes to the body structure and bone structure to bring out the very best that we could, that I knew how, in an individual face," Sassoon told CNN in a 1998 interview.
After "a sucession of lucky breaks" starting in the early 1960s, Sassoon found himself in a 1964 show in New York. The following day, he met with Richard Salomon, CEO of the beauty product company Charles of the Ritz, who brought him to the United States.
"He said, 'I'll tell you what: I'll buy a building on Madison Avenue, you go home train a team, send me your architect, we'll open next year.' And we did, on a handshake," Sassoon recounted. "So those lucky breaks do happen, but obviously, he liked what I did."
Queen Elizabeth made Sassoon a Commander of the Order of the British Empire in 2009 for his services to the British hairdressing industry.