Pioneering hairdresser Vidal Sassoon dies at age 84

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Pioneering hairdresser Vidal Sassoon dies at age 84

LOS ANGELES - Pioneering celebrity hairdresser Vidal Sassoon died aged 84 after a “long and courageous” battle with leukemia, his family said.

The man credited with creating the modern bob haircut and relieving women from the rigors of old-fashioned perms was surrounded by his loved ones when he passed away at his home in Bel Air, California.

“It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Vidal Sassoon CBE, who died this morning at his home in Los Angeles,” said a family statement, adding that he “sadly lost his battle with leukemia today.”

Mark Hayes, Sassoon International Creative Director, said Sassoon “passed away .?.?. after a long and courageous battle with leukemia.

“Our industry has lost a visionary and creative genius, and the world has lost an amazing human being. The world rarely encounters someone who had the profound impact that Vidal has had,” he added.

Referred to by some as the “founder of hairdressing,” Sassoon, who grew up in England, is said to have pioneered the bob haircut and, after opening his first salon in London, launched a network of outlets around the world.

The flamboyant hairstylist, who launched a successful hair-care product range with the slogan “If you don’t look good, we don’t look good,” had lived in the United States since the 1980s.

He was famed for so-called “wash and wear” cuts, easy to maintain, as opposed to the rigid hairstyles of earlier eras.

“When I first came into hair, women were coming in and you’d place a hat on their hair and you’d dress their hair around it,” he told the LA Times in a 1999 interview.

“We learned to put discipline in the haircuts by using actual geometry, actual architectural shapes and bone structure. The cut had to be perfect and layered beautifully, so that when a woman shook it, it just fell back in.”

Nicky Clarke, a British celebrity hairdresser from a younger generation, also paid tribute to Sassoon, calling him “truly one of the greatest icons of hairdressing.”

“Certainly he was part of the original Cool Britannia [and] he is synonymous with that time. He would be one of the top five Swinging 60s icons along with the Beatles, Carnaby Street, Mary Quant and the Union Jack,” he said. Sassoon opened his first salon in 1954 in London, and his career took off in the swinging 60s, when his clients included Mia Farrow for “Rosemary’s Baby” in 1968 and Glenda Jackson for her Oscar-winning role in 1969’s “Women in Love.”

Sassoon is survived by his wife of 20 years Rhonda and three children from a previous marriage. AFP

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