Blasblog: Meeting The Man Who “Changed The World With A Pair Of Scissors”
If the constant stream of flashbulbs going off in Chelsea and around Laight Street haven’t already tipped you off, the Tribeca Film Festival is well under way. One of the best pictures to premiere this weekend, in my humble opinion, was Vidal Sassoon: The Movie, a documentary from first-time director Craig Teper and producers Jackie Gilbert Bauer and Michael Gordon that takes a look at the man behind some of the most famous manes the world has ever known. Sassoon tended to the tresses of everyone who was anyone in London’s Swinging Sixties scene (Mary Quant, among them). You could call him the Mick Jagger of haircutting—at least that’s how Teper came to think of him after three years of filming. “It’s important to understand that Vidal changed everything about hair: how hair looked, how it was cut, how salons looked, how hairdressers looked, how products were sold,” he explained to me. “He freed women from having to go to the salon two or three times a week, and from sleeping in rollers and spending hours on their hair.” Or, as Gordon put it, “Vidal changed the world with a pair of scissors.”
Beyond following his impact on the hair industry, the movie explores the trials and tribulations of Sassoon the individual, a rags-to-riches story that takes him from an orphanage to an international empire—an accomplishment that he is most proud of, as he explained to me after a screening last week. “We started so small, on the third floor on Bond Street, and our way became an international way of doing hair. We opened academies and schools, and I had a wonderful team,” he said, referring to his expansion from London to as far away as Shanghai, where he still has a flourishing operation. I asked Mr. Sassoon if, looking back, there was one person he particularly enjoyed styling, and without hesitation he said “Mia Farrow”—and not just because giving her a pixie cut was front-page news. “She was such a delightful humanitarian and cared so much. And she has such wonderful cheekbones; you could do anything on her and it would look great.” Click above to watch the trailer.