The night Vidal Sassoon gave me a new haircut… and defined the Sixties

The night Vidal Sassoon gave me a new haircut… and defined the Sixties

|

UPDATED:

23:00 GMT, 12 May 2012


Heady: Danae Brook sporting an era defining crop with hair designer Vidal Sassoon

Heady: Danae Brook sporting an era defining crop with hair designer Vidal Sassoon

Of all his startling, sleek hair designs, Vidal Sassoon always considered the Five Point Cut his greatest achievement.

‘I still regard it as the finest I have ever created,’ he once wrote. ‘The geometric design in its purest, most classical form.’

But the story of the genesis of the revolutionary cut has never before been told.

It came on a summer’s night in Paris in 1964 when Vidal, who sadly died last week at the age of 84, created the original Five Point Cut on me.

They were heady days, just a few months after The Beatles had conquered America.

London, it seemed, was the epicentre of the world. I was in Paris for what is now called Fashion Week and Vidal was styling the hair for avant-garde couturier Emanuel Ungaro.

The photographer Brian Duffy was there to capture every slice and snip for French Elle magazine.

A head of his time: Model Danae Brook with a lopsided asymmetric cut by stylist Roger Thompson at Vidal Sassoon

Swinging Sixties: The graduated bob by stylist Vidal Sassoon sported by 1960s model Grace Coddington

Swinging Sixties: Danae Brook (left) and Grace Coddington sport revolutionary hair cuts made popular by hair designer Vidal Sassoon in the 1960s

Era defining: Vidal Sassoon with two of his famed hair styles, worn by model Danae Brook in the 1960s

Era defining: Vidal Sassoon with two of his famed hair styles, worn by model Danae Brook in the 1960s

In those days we had to work by night
in the sparse photographic studios of Elle. /05/12/article-2143583-130299FD000005DC-908_468x374.jpg” width=”468″ height=”374″ alt=”Pioneer: Vidal Sassoon giving Air India hostess Ruby Bharucha a few hints on grooming hair at 40,000 feet in 1965 ” class=”blkBorder” />

Pioneer: Vidal Sassoon giving Air India hostess Ruby Bharucha a few hints on grooming hair at 40,000 feet in 1965

‘We’re going to do something
different. We need to develop this look, take it further,’ he said of
the so-successful lopsided bob he had already created for me, and with
which I was entirely happy.

‘Shorter’
I squeaked, holding on to my ears. ‘It’s for French Elle,’ he said.
‘It’s got to be new.’ And new it was. The session started at 6pm. /05/12/article-2143583-13048CEB000005DC-471_233x423.jpg” width=”233″ height=”423″ alt=”One of the greatest: Vidal Sassoon at the 'Vidal Sassoon: The Movie' premiere last year” class=”blkBorder” />

One of the greatest: Vidal Sassoon at the 'Vidal Sassoon: The Movie' premiere last year

The longest part was from the crown of my
head to the eyebrows. I was all fringe, with barely a hair down the
nape of my neck until it came together in a slender V.

That was the first of the five points. There were two more behind my ears like a little elf, and two in front. I loved it.

When he combed it over my eyes I looked like Cleopatra. But the moment I moved, it swung so the fringe was a shiny curtain of hair in constant tune with the movement of my body.

‘Bravo!’ said Duffy, who had already hit the cognac. ‘Let’s dance,’ said Vidal, and we did. There was a famous all-night club called Jimmy’s, where the whole fashion world used to congregate.

If Vidal wanted to make a statement with his new cut, that was the place. We danced every dance with my hair swinging. My new fringe electrified the fashion world.

I had been his guinea pig – and by the time I returned from Paris, work was pouring in.

Biba, Bazaar, Annacat, and later Ossie Clarke and Zandra Rhodes took up the look.

His greatest creation has never gone away. My 12-year-old granddaughter Grace says: ‘I love it. It’s the only cool look.’