There’s an edit of Vidal Sassoon The Movie currently on BBC iPlayer. It introduces a likeable man, now 83 and inextricably linked to 60s iconic hairstyles for Mia Farrow, Nancy Kwan in British Vogue and Grace Coddington in US Vogue. ‘Architecture of the face’ was at the forefront of Vidal Sassoon’s thinking, influenced by Bauhaus architects Mies van der Rohe and Walter Gropius buildings. Sassoon’s great friend is fashion designer Mary Quant and together they ‘styled’ the ’60s. Mary Quant says in her interview: ‘I made the clothes, but you put the top on.’ The Bauhaus movement later recognised the Sassoon cuts as ‘part of the forward movement of design.’
I’m intrigued by Sassoon’s story because it has many layers: of an inspiring creative who is an instinctive businessman, someone who embraced early on the importance of Pilates in his life, recognition that ‘the look’ must go international, his recruitment of hairdressers from all over the world to his training school off Bond Street. They then went out into the world and opened salons of their own. Vidal Sassoon also went out into the world, hosting TV shows in LA and developing famous branded hair products.
I like the sheer energy that I see in the stories we collect and the people we meet at MSL, an energy summarised by Mary Quant: ‘When I look back at the picture I still think the look’s great. I love it. It’s lasted because it’s chic and sexy. That was the equation of success. For me, anyway.’
I’m particularly drawn to ways in which fashion provides opportunities for young people. At MSL our team is young and inspiring to work with, we have recently featured designers behind Pudsy bear’s outfit for the successful BBC Children in Need campaign. This week MSL hosted a fundraising meeting for National Youth Music Theatre (NYMT) which I chair. Our meeting was intense and lively and within 90 minutes we had agreed an innovative and compelling marketing strategy.
Both Vidal Sassoon’s and Mary Quant’s wildly popular and provocative designs set London swinging and encouraged generations of young people to create a fashion industry that is vibrant and fresh. At MSL we are proud to be a part of that energy.