December 2008 cover
December 2008 cover

On May 9, when MODERN editors first heard and confirmed the sad news that Vidal Sassoon—the man who revolutionized the salon industry—had died at age 84 of leukemia at his Los Angeles home, we immediately posted the basic details on our website, along with the following statement:

Vidal Sassoon was an inspiration and champion for salon professionals around the globe and through the decades. His geometric approach to hair cutting and education not only changed how hair was cut, styled and worn in the ’60s and ’70s, he elevated the craft and professionalism of hairdressing, and continued to do so throughout his lifetime. His legacy will be the beauty, art and opportunity he passed on to hair designers past, present and future.

Instantly, the comments and stories began. Some were sought, but most simply appeared, attached, posted. Our professional beauty family was spontaneously grieving together, out loud and online.

Industry leaders and working stylists alike were moved to share what they had learned from Sassoon, how he had inspired them, what they felt they owed him. They recounted what it was like to work with him, train under him, or simply experience the education and techniques he fostered.

Those who knew him personally, those who met him once, those who regret they never had a chance to, all paid respects with affection, gratitude and a deep sense of loss.

Then came the pictures: of the hair, the shapes, the work, and of the always stylish man himself.

In the July issue, MODERN will feature many of these images, stories and tributes, along with a retrospective on the history and impact of Sassoon’s work.

Until then, I encourage you to add your thoughts or comments on modernsalon. com/SassoonTribute, and to honor Vidal Sassoon’s memory and influence by doing what my instincts tell me he would wish you to do: the most beautiful, excellent work possible on the clients in your chair today.

At press time, details for a special memorial service honoring Sassoon had not yet been announced. The family requests any donations in Sassoon’s memory be made to American Friends of the Hebrew University ( in support of The Vidal Sassoon International Center for the Study of Anti-Semitism.