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Sunday, 13 May 2012

Vidal Sassoon, Bond Street and The Tailor

The sad news of the loss of Vidal Sassoon last week has brought back lots of memories of an exciting time living in London in the 60s.  I had started my first job as a shorthand/typist working in St James' a short walking distance from Bond Street.

With the advent of Honey magazine, my world suddenly opened up to the magic of fashion, hair and exotic make-up.  My lunch times were taken up with walking along Bond Street, Picadilly and St James' just looking at the latest fashions which were way out of my price range.  Honey magazine not only introduced me to Biba, which was in a very little shop in Knightsbridge before they made it big, but more importantly the change in hairstyles coming from a collaboration of Vidal and Mary Quant.  Up until then, you either had long or short hair and nothing much in between.

I saw Vidal Sassoon's new shop in Bond Street and determined to make an appointment for the latest haircut. I only owned one tight skirt, white blouse and kitten heels but wore the latest makeup when I hesitatingly opened the door of the Salon. The sight just stopped me in my tracks. Glamorous, fashionable and busy and that was just the apprentices. It was like being on a filmset.  I was totally mesmerised.  I asked the price of a new hairstyle and was horrified. A whole week's wages and that wasn't even with the man himself.  I agreed immediately!  How I was going to explain to my mother that I couldn't give her housekeeping, I would deal with later.

The appointment was everything I thought it would be. Fabulous customers wearing the latest fashions and very handsome stylists made it so exciting.  For the rest of my time working in St James, I had my haircut there every six weeks.  I stretched the time out in there as long as I possibly could. Arriving way too early for the appointment, using the loo,  Coffee? Yes please.  I loved it!
Very similar to this one:

Now I'm not saying that my new 60s hairstyle, my dress from Biba or those secondhand kitten heel shoes had any affect but I met a very young apprentice tailor at around that time.  He worked in a very fashionable tailor's shop in Battersea (everyone wore handmade suits and probably ordered three a year).  We fell in love straight away!  15years old!! We had a ball.  Living and working in London at such an exciting time was fantastic. I did object though to walking into a pub and everyone looking at what he was wearing first and then me.

The 60s were responsible not just for the new fashions etc as I have mentioned but the best ever change was to the lives of women.  No more babies (unless you wanted them), no more dead end jobs, no more the little women.  A popular phrase was 'Coming out of the Doll's House'. We had a voice and we used it.

Well, that is just a few memories that the passing of Vidal Sasoon has evoked in me. An exciting time.

You may ask what happened to The Tailor - I married him of course and still remain married to him and the rest, as they say, is history.

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