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July 28 2014

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4 posts tagged "Michael Gordon"

Is This the Hidden Warhol Factory of Hair?

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When Michael Gordon created Bumble and Bumble Surf Spray in 2001, he—no pun intended—made waves in the hair industry that are still being felt today. Ask any model, hairstylist, or girl-next-door for their go-to products and chances are high that Surf Spray is one of them. Ditto on Hair Powder, an item practically every stylist keeps in their kit that Gordon also introduced to the masses. Gordon sold the brand to Estée Lauder in 2006 and made a documentary about Vidal Sassoon in 2010, and the next chapter in his story might be his most revolutionary yet. Gordon’s new range, Purely Perfect, comprises three detergent-free, nontoxic products (Cleansing Creme, Foundation Creme, Smooth Finish) that take care of all your hair cleansing and styling needs. “Suddenly, to have a product that changes everything you thought you knew about hair—that’s exciting,” says Gordon.

From the first Bumble and Bumble salon opened in 1977 on East 56th Street that re-created the downtown vibe uptown (“What I wanted was an eclectic clientele: the people who had just left school, the artists, the mums, the teachers,” Gordon recalls), to harnessing the creativity he witnessed on magazine shoots and backstage at fashion shows (namely Orlando Pita, who worked for him at Bumble), Gordon has created not simply a salon or brand, but a cultural movement around hair. His approach to introducing Purely Perfect to the world continues that authentic vision. Hairstory Studio, which occupies half of Gordon’s sprawling lower Manhattan apartment, serves as an experimentation lab for Purely Perfect, with former Bumble and ex-Cutler stylist Wes Sharpton and colorist Roxie Darling at the helm. They cast girls and guys off the streets of New York and give them a modern-day makeover. Sharpton and Darling weave their magic, Gordon photographs the transformations, and the whole thing is documented via the Web and social media. “Essentially, it’s stories about hair and how powerfully it affects people,” Gordon says. The studio feels like a contemporary Warhol Factory of sorts, except the vibes are more Zen palace (a Tibetan cook makes the team lunch daily, while Gordon, a practicing Buddhist, serves tea in china cups) than amphetamine-fueled frenzy. Didier Malige stopped by on the morning of our visit to cut the hair of a fan from Australia who had contacted him via Instagram, because he needed a place to do it, and why not? “It’s not that working in a salon is by design boring, but people don’t challenge themselves,” Gordon says. “And if you suddenly get two very talented people together in a room, looking at you completely differently and giving you a chance to look amazing and you go for it, it probably does more good than five years of therapy!”

Hairstylist, photographer, product creator, and filmmaker are all hats that Gordon—who grew up around his mother’s London hair salon—has worn over the years, but fundamentally, he sees himself as a conduit for creativity. “It’s not really a business—the stylists here get paid through their own clients. I’m just hosting the thing,” he said. “I’m a producer…and a bit of a teacher. And because it’s very sincere, because I do love talent, it’s nice.” Gordon describes a scene from a documentary he watched recently on music mogul David Geffen, where a confluence of musicians had taken over Geffen’s house. “Clive Davis was laughing like, ‘David! What are all these people doing?’ You know, in his kitchen, in his pool,” Gordon quips. “And then I walk around my kitchen and everyone’s hanging out eating pizza and I think, Oh wait, that’s me!”

Hairstory Studio is now taking invitation-only appointments for private clients. E-mail thetenthfloor@gmail.com for more information.

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Photos: Courtesy of Hairstory Studio

Keira Knightley, “Chanel Superwoman;” Frédéric Fekkai Takes Flight; And More…

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Pictures leaked of Keira Knightley’s catsuit-clad new campaign for Chanel Mademoiselle late last year, and now clips from the fragrance’s forthcoming commercial have hit the web. In a voice-over describing the making of the ad, Knightly refers to her character as a “Chanel superwoman”—who presumably fights for good in the face of poorly dressed evil. [Grazia]

The latest installment of WWD’s Beauty Inc.—the new monthly trade glossy for beauty industry execs, retailers, and enthusiasts—is officially out, with two articles from the March “power issue” already online for your reading pleasure. Clinique’s global brand president Lynne Greene plays cover star and talks about revitalizing the brand by focusing on dermatological products—like those that target hypoallergenic concerns and redness remedies—rather than simply jumping on board the anti-aging bandwagon, while famed coiffeur, Frédéric Fekkai, opens up about his passion for helicopter flying. Fekkai’s AStar 350 Eurocopter gets him to Montauk in 40 minutes flat—which sure beats the four hours of summer traffic on the LIE. [WWD]

Speaking of shear geniuses, Bumble and Bumble founder Michael Gordon, who added documentary film producer to his resume last month with the release of “Vidal Sassoon: The Movie,” is looking to tap into the Internet with his next venture. Gordon is launching www.IfYouKnew.com in the hopes of creating a web space for dialogue about the beauty industry. [WWD]

First Kate Winslet, now Katherine Heigl. The age of the celebrity platinum crop is upon us. [PopSugar]

A video of Galliano’s elaborate runway bow from Dior’s Spring couture show may still be on loop at the houses spa in Paris, but the deposed designer’s own beauty ventures are fairing less well internationally in the wake of his anti-Semitic outbursts. In Canada, major department stores have systematically pulled his Parlez Moi d’Amour fragrance from shelves. [StyleLite]

Vidal Sassoon The Movie Premiere

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“I’m feeling a little shy and humble. You go to premieres, but it’s usually someone else’s,” a dapper Vidal Sassoon quipped last night at MoMA, where the Craig Tepper-directed documentary of his life was screening for the first time. It was a fitting location for the film’s debut, considering the 83-year-old’s own penchant for collecting—”we have some Arp, Calder; Anish Kapoor is a friend,” Sassoon’s third wife, Ronnie, pointed out as she proudly clung to her husband’s arm while a collection of models, fashion insiders, and hair industry luminaries filed into the theater. “I was inspired by him for my Fall ’09 collection,” a glowing Rachel Roy told us of the uniformly cut black bobbed wigs she used that season, which most of the style set thought she’d ripped off of Stefano Pilati’s Fall 2008 YSL show. “Everyone thought it was from someone else’s collection, but it was from him”—a testament to the Sassoon legacy that lives on a good 50 years after the celebrity stylist rocked the hairdressing establishment with geometric cuts that defined the swinging sixties and all of its major players. “I liked the Nancy Kwan and the Five Point—I liked them all,” Bumble and Bumble founder and Vidal Sassoon The Movie producer Michael Gordon said of his favorite Vidal styles. “A good haircut shows the face and shows bravery. Just look what happened to Emma Watson,” Gordon said, calling out fellow Vidal Sassoon acolyte and super-stylist Rodney Cutler’s pixie cut, which skyrocketed the Harry Potter star straight out of Hogwarts and into the Hollywood spotlight.

The film itself is a straightforward trip through the life of the coiffing star—from his youth, which was spent in an East London orphanage, through his gradual takeover of the international hair scene. “He was revolutionary,” Frédéric Fekkai reiterated of Sassoon. “He made hair dressing modern, sleek, and brought a whole new attitude for women.” As for backstage coiffing tips, Sassoon had a few to share. “It’s important that the hairdresser has a point of view, that it works with the clothes, and that it’s remembered.”

Photo: Ben Hider / Getty Images

Blasblog: Meeting The Man Who “Changed The World With A Pair Of Scissors”

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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.