“Wash-and-wear” looks. Have you ever heard it? It’s the name of the look that revolutionized women’s hair style in late 60ies, “giving a cut” both to their complex coiffures and to the time they use to spend on it in the fifties. As Mary Quant, the mighty mini-skin creator said: “it was the first real indication of a complete change of outlook”. It was the short cut hair style, the “bob” cut, invented in 1968 by a young jewesh hairdresser from London: Vidal Sassoon.
Sassoon died yesterday in his house in Los Angeles at 84 years old, after years of struggling with Leukemia. He has been the most famous yet groundbreaking hairdresser of the past century: with his haircut he set women free from lacquer and hair pins, giving them a simple, easy and very, very practical haircut, inspired by the Bauhaus clean and straight architecture. More modern than ever, it showed women’s new role: they were leaving their houses starting to work hard and emancipating theirselves from that feminine-housewife-subdued-to-her-husband so common woman from the 50ies. They didn’t have time to spend on their hair anymore, but they needed a fast and easy-to-go haircut instead, a “wash-and-wear” cut indeed.
That’s how David Robson from the Telegraph remembers that period (read the full article here): “when Sassoon introduced his “bob” in 1963 at his salon at 171 Bond Street, the young designer Mary Quant was in his chair. She wanted something new and there could be no better wearer. Quant and her husband Alexander Plunket Greene were setting Chelsea on fire with their boutique, Bazaar, on the King’s Road. Cutting a vibrant swathe between the exclusiveness of high fashion and the drabness of the high street, her clothes were an explosive success. […] It was a change of outlook that required a change of haircut and Sassoon, with a nod to Twenties flappers and Bauhaus design, provided it with his bob. Though trained at the ancien-regime salon of Raymond (Mr Teasy Weasy), a temple of complicated high-maintenance styles produced to fashionable ladies’ specifications, Sassoon’s approach was the opposite: simplicity, low maintenance, modernity – and the specifications were all his”.
After that he reached a success so great that led him to open other stores (20 all over the world today) and create his own line of products (which he himself commercialied in advertising; it was sold in 1983 and bought by Procter&Gamble in ’85). “I think it grew out of something in the air which developed into a serious effort to break away from the Establishment,” said Mary Quant. SOmething he had reached and transformed into the flag of the New Era.
Between his clients who were “vidalled”, in addiction to Mary Quant there were acress Mia Farrow (in Polansky’s movie Rosemary’s baby) and novelist Penni Vincenzi. To end with Robson words:
“Some of the best Sixties things came from the smartest places. Vidal Sassoon did his work in Mayfair; he was the best of the best; the rich and famous went to his salons but his cuts were imitated everywhere. They were the new look for new times.
In 1966 the American Roger Miller had a hit with the song “England swings (like a pendulum do)”. Well it didn’t really, but thanks to Vidal Sassoon it did at least bob”.
MODERN HAIRSTYLE INSPIRED BY VIDAL SASSON: