Celebrity hair stylist Vidal Sassoon dead at 84

Vidal Sassoon, a celebrity hair stylist who created a young, natural look in hair in the 1960s and built a multi-million dollar business, has died of apparent natural causes at his home in Los Angeles. He was 84.

“There is no crime scene. When the officers arrived there were family members at the residence,” Los Angeles police spokesman Kevin Maiberger said in a statement.

The British stylist’s scissors spelled the end of the 1950s-era beehive and the bouffant – untouchable hairstyles that owed their existence to lacquer and hair pins – and brought him international fame and fortune.

In the 1960s he created a young, more natural look in hair and helped usher in a new era of style at the time. He was dubbed a pioneer by many for coming up with so-called wash and wear looks – liberating many women from weekly salon trips to have their hair done.

But as much as he was a genius in the salon, Sassoon was a whiz in business. He began marketing his name, styles and cutting techniques in a worldwide line of beauty salons, hair-cutting schools and later, related lines of hair products.

Still, Sassoon never felt the profession that he put at the forefront of modern fashion got the respect it was owed.

“Hairdressing in general hasn’t been given the kudos it deserves,” Sassoon told Reuters in 2010. “It’s not recognized by enough people as a worthy craft.”

“If you get hold of a head of hair on somebody you’ve never seen before, cut beautiful shapes, cut beautiful architectural angles and she walks out looking so different – I think that’s masterful,” he said.

The stylist maintained his British roots despite maintaining a residence in the United States. He was a die-hard fan of the Chelsea football team, and in 2009 he was honored by the Queen by being named a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE).

Apart from his hairdressing interests, he set up the Vidal Sassoon Foundation to help the needy in educational pursuits both in Israel and abroad.

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – (Reporting By Bob Tourtellotte and Alex Dobuzinskis; Michelle Nichols and Judith Schoolman; Editing by Sandra Maler)


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