- Edition 6 -
Vidal Sassoon said a lot of wonderful things, one of which is, “I am a very lucky hairdresser.” Who could argue that? It would be fair to say he created his own luck, and as in all success stories there were many challenges, which is why he also liked to say, “The only place where success comes before work is in the dictionary.” It’s rather touching that toward the end of his life he had a tremendous resurgence of attention, I’d say he was a lucky hairdresser. I often wonder why more of us don’t say things like that rather than, “I wish I could get out from behind the chair.” In fact in this edition we talk about how I am getting myself back behind the chair.
One of the things Vidal did was liberate women, massively so. He took all classes – and there were many classes in England – and leveled them. Anyone could have a Sassoon haircut, and because you didn’t need one but every six weeks, it was affordable because you were no longer getting your hair set every week. That in and of itself was a massive movement, and it wasn’t his only one. At the time hairdressers were outraged that this upstart came and ruined their bread and butter. It’s interesting how people who create change can be maligned until they are really successful, and then, of course, they’re geniuses.
I was as inspired as anyone by Vidal, and when we were at Buckingham Palace together when he received his CBE, he said “I wish I had a second, great idea.” I never stopped thinking about that since I found myself out of work in 2006 after building Bumble and bumble for 35 years. I have had a few ideas, including making a film about Vidal, and one of them is focusing Hairstory and our products on independent hairdressers. While we didn’t create the movement, we chose to embrace and support it because it’s now very exciting.
Vidal came out with three products: one to cleanse, one to moisturize, and one to seal and protect hair – very simple, very successful (other things were added by new owner P&G). Perhaps not coincidentally, when I met Paul Mitchell, a lovely man who trained at Sassoon, he was trying to get me to sell his product line which also consisted of only 3 products: one shampoo, a conditioner you could leave in or rinse out, and a very clever sculpting lotion. You get the idea here; without trying to copy them, our line ended up being only four products, which many people find strange, but many find it the most exciting thing to happen in years because it’s refreshing and straightforward. So maybe much of our luck here is having people who came before us who were devoted to the craft.
This edition is entirely focused on hairdressers of all kinds, of all ages, and different career paths. In addition to Sassoon Stories, we also cover Christiaan, one of the most interesting, talented, colorful characters I’ve ever met whose father was a barber to farmers, and who became one of the most famous editorial hairdressers in the world, and the most memorable. Many of the other hairdressers who tell their stories here are on the young side, and we want to show that sometimes you can stay behind the chair and enjoy more satisfaction than you imagined. We should all feel fortunate that we have a career where we use our eyes, our hands, our minds, our voices – and that we haven’t become an app yet.
– Michael Gordon, editor-in-chief
Ed. 6, Ch. 1 | Our editor-in-chief and founder gets back to his hairdressing roots. Read
Ed. 6, Ch. 2 | Discussing changes in the world of hairdressing. Read
Ed. 6, Ch. 3.1 | The importance of collaboration. Read
Ed. 6, Ch. 3.2 | Rubi Jones on the art of hairdressing. Read
Ed. 6, Ch. 3.3 | Risk and reward. Read
Ed. 6, Ch. 3.4 | A hair nerd who can't get enough of New Wash. Read
Ed. 6, Ch. 3.5 | Two partners-in-crime who love the idea of "Less is More." Read
Ed. 6, Ch. 3.6 | From styling her Barbie's hair to owning a salon. Read
Ed. 6, Ch. 3.7 | Cody follows her passion. Read
Ed. 6, Ch. 3.8 | Jonathan stops by to style. Read
Ed. 6, Ch. 3.9 | Reflections on a remarkable career. Read
Ed. 6, Ch. 4.1 | Hairstory staffers discuss the whimsical world of Dennis Lanni. Read
Ed. 6, Ch. 4.2 | Thinking outside the box. Read
Ed. 6, Ch. 5 | How one small bottle can make a big difference. Read
Ed. 6, Ch. 6 | Sketches from an editorial master. Read
Ed. 6, Ch. 7 | The legendary Vidal Sassoon's impact on the world, told by those who knew him. Read