One of my earliest beauty memories were the eighties television advertisements for Vidal Sassoon's shampoos and hair products, featuring perfectly coiffed models flipping and shaking their tresses before the famous hairstylist uttered his famous adage, "If you don't look good, we don't look good." As a not very cosmetically aware seven year old, whose entire beauty routine only consisted of hair washing, I found myself captivated, and fondly remember using the peachy orange shampoo with the most delicious almond scent. Sadly, the line has long since disappeared from drugstore shelves, although the salons and the brand remain.
I'm sure many of you out there have also used the products, and are familiar with the brand, but very few of us know the story of Vidal Sassoon, the man. I knew next to nothing before I entered the screening for Vidal Sassoon The Movie earlier this evening, and what I expected to be a movie about hairstyling turned out to be so much more. First off, even if you have no interest in hair, you can appreciate the incredibly human rags-to-riches story of a man who spent much of his childhood in an orphanage, and who grew up to create an immense empire with no formal education. The evolution is astonishing and inspiring, though it hardly happened overnight--Sassoon began apprenticing at the age of 14, and his professional growth included three years of training with a voice coach to iron out his Cockney accent, which was deemed unacceptable by potential employers.
Even though his life and career had many highs and many lows, Sassoon built himself into one of the best hairstylists in the world. Consider me a fool, but I really had no idea that Sassoon was so instrumental in shaping the signature style of the 60's, practically inventing the mod haircut and, alongside Mary Quant, defining the quintessential London Youthquake look. Watching the architectural and angular haircuts evolve from the overly-primped styles of the fifties is mesmerizing, and you become aware of how modern, and how relevant these haircuts still look. Plenty of hip girls I know still rock these Sassoon-inspired swinging bobs and five-point haircuts, and watching the film even tempted me to take a pair of sheers to my lackluster locks, which have remained the same for the past ten years. The film will be released on February 11th at select theaters, and is definitely worth watching if you're interested in hair, or just love hearing an amazing life story.
Tuesday, February 1, 2011