Stars pay tribute to 'revolutionary' hairdresser Vidal Sassoon at memorial service to celebrate his life
15:59 GMT, 12 October 2012
A host of celebrities from the world of fashion, film and hairdressing attended a memorial service to celebrate the life of iconic hairdresser Vidal Sassoon today.
The London-born stylist, who invented
the 'bob' hairstyle which epitomised the Swinging Sixties, died at his
home in L.A. in May, aged 84, after a battle with leukaemia.
Tributes were paid to the 'revolutionary' hairdresser at a special service at London's St Paul's Cathedral.
Sad day: Sir Michael Caine and Zara Rhodes were among the guests at Vidal Sassoon's memorial service
Celebrating Sassoon's life: Actor Jeremy Irons, left, and hairdresser Lee Stafford with actress Jessica Jane Clements attending the memorial service
Sassoon was married four times and was made a CBE in 2009. His widow, Ronnie Holbrook, was joined by his famous friends and colleagues including actors Sir Michael Caine and Jeremy Irons and hairdressers Nicky Clarke and John Freida as they remembered his life.
Sir Michael said it was 'a sad day but we get a chance here to celebrate his life.'
Speaking before the service, Freida and Clarke paid tribute to the positive impact their friend and colleague had made on their own careers.
Tribute: Hairdressers John Freida, left, and Nicky Clarke said Sassoon had a huge influence on their careers
Freida said: 'On a personal level he had so much enthusiasm and he was fascinated by everything that was going on and just really an extraordinary man.
'On a professional level I don't think there is anyone in our industry that has achieved what he achieved. He was a man that completely revolutionised the industry in a way no one else ever has. I have a lot of fond memories of him and hairdressers all over the world really were in awe of him.'
Clarke added:'He was always an unbelievably humble man for what he created. I think that he never wanted to stop learning about his craft right to the end. He was a revolutionary. There is no
doubt about it, the people that are around today, including myself,
certainly owe a huge debt to him.'
Paying their respects: Presenter Alan Yentob, hairdresser James Brown and interior designer Kelly Hoppen also attended the service at St Paul's Cathedral
Designers Zandra Rhodes, and Mary Quant and singer Toyah Wilcox also attended the service.
During his long-standing career, which he began as an apprentice during the Second World War, Sassoon created a network of academies and lent his name to various hair products and salons turning his craft into a multi-million pound industry.
Some of his most famous clients included Quant, model Jean Shrimpton and film stars Elizabeth Taylor and Ava Gardner.
Born to Jewish parents, Sassoon fought with the Israeli army in the War of Independence in 1948 and founded the Vidal Sassoon International Centre for the Study of Anti-Semitism in 1982.
Mourning: Sassoon's widow Ronnie Holbrook was supported at the service by friends and family
On his return to the UK after the Israeli war, he worked for famous London hairdresser Raymond 'Mr Teasy-Weasy' Bessone before opening his own Bond Street salon in 1958 where he began developing his creative, geometric cuts.
Sassoon told the Los Angeles Times in 1967 of his method:
'Whether long or short, hair should be carved to a woman's bone
structure. Actually short hair is a state of mind… not a state of
Remembered: Sassoon pictured with Ronnie at their L.A. home where he died in May aged 84
His styles were embraced by the women's liberation movement who wanted an effortless look without having to spend hours styling and short hair that also looked feminine.
Sassoon's haircare mantra was: 'To sculpt a head of hair with scissors is an art form. It's in pursuit of art.'
Stylist to the stars: Sassoon cuts the hair of designer Mary Quant in 1964, left, and actress Mia Farrow in 1967
He sold his business interests in the early 1980s to devote himself to philanthropy. The Boys Clubs of America and the Performing Arts Council of the Music Center of Los Angeles were among the causes he supported through his Vidal Sassoon Foundation.
He later became active in post-Hurricane Katrina charities in New Orleans.
Pioneer: The haidresser pictured in his youth when he invented the bob hair style