May 10 2012
Acclaimed hairdresser Vidal Sassoon died at home surrounded by loved ones after losing a battle with leukaemia, his family said.
The 84-year-old London-born crimper who invented the "bob" hairstyle which epitomised the Swinging Sixties, died at his home in Los Angeles.
"It is with great sadness that we announce the passing of Vidal Sassoon CBE, who died at his home in Los Angeles surrounded by loved ones," the family said in a statement.
"The 84 year old hairdresser was born in 1928 and sadly lost his battle with leukaemia. He will be greatly missed by his wife of 20 years Ronnie, his children, grandchildren, family and friends."
The four-times married celebrity stylist, made a CBE in 2009, revolutionised hairdressing with his free and easy creations like the bob. He created a network of academies and lent his name to various hair products, turning his craft into a multimillion-dollar industry. Among his most famous clients were Quant, the model Jean Shrimpton and film star Terence Stamp.
Celebrity hairdresser Nicky Clarke was among those who paid tribute to him, saying he had lost a close friend who despite his advancing years retained an infectious vibrancy. "He was truly one of the greatest icons of hairdressing. We all owe a debt to him," he said.
Born to Jewish parents, Sassoon also fought with the Israeli army in the War of Independence in 1948 and founded the Vidal Sassoon International Centre for the Study of Anti-Semitism in 1982.
On his return to the UK after the Israeli war, Sassoon worked for famous London hairdresser Raymond "Mr Teasy-Weasy" Bessone before opening his own Bond Street salon in 1958 and developing a style far removed from the intensive creations of the time.
Clarke said the "humble" Sassoon had revolutionised hairdressing, bringing his love of Modernism and the Bauhaus movement into his work so that it was "all about the cut" rather than excessive styling. "Like all revolutionaries he went to the other extreme," he said. "What he did was bring in a form based on Modernism. He just brought that to hair that worked in terms of it being all about the cut."
Fellow celebrity hairdresser Lee Stafford paid tribute, saying: "Vidal Sassoon revolutionised the way everybody wears their hair today, he also made British hairdressing the best in the world, he was my hero."