Vidal Sassoon (3 stars)

The Life and Times of a Style Icon

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Vidal Sassoon

Joan Collins and Vidal Sassoon

(Macmillan)

Vidal Sassoon was once called ‘the Chanel of hair’ by his friend Mary Quant. While she was upping skirt lengths during the 60s, he was busy revolutionising attitudes to hair. He thought back combing, hairspraying and spaceman-helmet hairdryers were stuffy and outdated, and pushed the idea of minimal, geometric, fuss-free styles instead. Sassoon’s (non-ghost written) memoirs begin with his childhood in London’s east end, where he was raised in an orphanage. Besides tracing the empire-owner’s career path – he was fired from various salons, or in one case stormed out after throwing his scissors in the air – he also recalls his time fighting in the newly-formed Israel, after being raised by a Zionist mother.

It’s a colourful read, and clearly the 82-year-old still has a twinkle in his eye. Although he glosses over his life’s low points, he delivers hours of chutzpah-laced tales about showbiz pals like Michael Caine and ‘Terry’ Stamp, bolstered by his views on architecture, photography and fashion.

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