Review published on November 11, 2017.
This is another retrospective look at an icon of the ‘swinging sixties’, only this time an autobiography of the hairdresser Vidal Sassoon rather than a pop star. The book, simply entitled Vidal, was published in 2010, and quickly gained a readership globally.
Vidal Sassoon came from an almost impoverished background in the east end of London, a bit of a rascal in his youth, but his heart was in the right place. His rise to global prominence simply by cutting hair is almost legendary in the trade, he’s quite possibly a household name to those of the right age. He styled hair in a manner that changed the way hair was normally recognised. His truly exciting, exotic, geometric ideas shook the business to the core, and swept all along in a manner that defies description.
This book has his entire life story, complete with tragedies, divorces, and rags to riches risks, and has left behind a legacy that goes on today. His hairdressing academies, his range of products, his many, global salons and his endearing friendship with virtually everybody he met, from the Queen of England down.
I am no lover of hairdressers at all, expensive frivolity is all they seem to me, but having read this book for my own reasons, I quite liked the man, despite his all so correct, manner of name-dropping whenever he can. He was rich (he died in 2012 aged 84), and he indulged himself at the same time as pursuing a fitness/health regime that would buckle younger men.
Intelligently written, obviously by him, late in life when he needed to take it easier, it tells it all. It can be quite inspirational for those who are looking for a way to conduct their lives. I completely agreed with his philosophy, his attitude to business, fun, charity, religious doctrine, and lust for life.
A highly commendable book indeed, well worth reading. His very down to earth principles are prominent throughout, but with an enviable fervour for success, he could only go one way, and that was up.
Reg Seward 5/3
Vidal: The Autobiography by Vidal Sassoon
Macmillan 9780230746893 hbk Sep 2010