Building a Tastemaker
Half a century ago, Sassoon redefined the way women looked at themselves, and began teaching a new generation of hairdressers the way to build more beautiful hair. He has rocked our industry from its foundation, to the core of what hair means to every man woman and child in the first world: taste. “I had a sense that hairdressing definitely needed to be changing.” Our taste for well-built, beautiful hair was changed forever, and my clients’ bobs are proof that taste has not changed like that in fifty years. Taste, as part of culture, is of course a journey and evolution, but fundamentally, we owe thanks for any current movements in taste to Vidal who started it all.
My attitude toward hairdressing changed when I read Sassoon’s biography. He did not become a radical, mid-century style arrivé by bulling his way through the industry cutting whatever the hell he wanted. From a lowly shampoo boy, he made himself famous by dedicating himself to learning as much as he could from anyone with a lick of esteem. Any time I get to shut up, stand behind my boss, and watch her hands go to work is an honor. I’m sure Vidal would have said the same about Teasy Weasy, even if he later went on to do things differently for himself. Especially as a budding hairdresser, I realize that no amount of creativity has any validity, much less a chance of success, without first learning what hairdressers past have already defined and proven to be scientifically beautiful truth. “It was in essence teaching others so that they could take your work and take it further.” It might be a little while before I can further the craft substantially, but I intend to do my damnedest.
Sassoon has told me the story of my own life. Before hairdressing, I was a nothing. I really wanted to be a hairdresser since I was young. My mother always told me, “You are by far the smartest of my three children, but you’re not the hardest worker,” “You should be a teacher,” “Why in the hell would you want to waste your life cutting hair!?” Vidal would retort, “When the doubters tell you it can’t be done. . . nonsense. If you can get to the root of who you are, the guts of who you really are, and make something happen from it, in whatever field; My sense is, you’re going to really surprise yourself.” Hopefully, this can be the beginning of a big journey. I want to prove my mother wrong after all and become a teacher unlike the industry has never seen since Vidal Sassoon.
“How fortuitous to be able to touch the human frame. To be exhilarated by a craft that constantly changes; to hold that substance growing from the human form that molds, changes spontaneous fashion. To be involved in the poetry of change.” Thanks to you Vidal Sassoon.