Hairstylist Vidal Sassoon, who undid the beehive with his wash-and-wear cuts and went on to become an international name in hair care, died today of natural causes at his Los Angeles home at age 84, police said. When Sassoon picked up his shears in the 1950s, styled hair was typically curled, teased, piled high, and shellacked into place. Then came the 1960s, and Sassoon's creative cuts, which required little styling and fell into place perfectly every time, fit right in with the fledgling women's liberation movement.
"My idea was to cut shape into the hair, to use it like fabric and take away everything that was superfluous," Sassoon said in 1993 in the Los Angeles Times, which first reported his death. "Women were going back to work, they were assuming their own power. They didn't have time to sit under the dryer anymore." Sassoon opened his first salon in his native London in 1954 but said he didn't perfect his cut-is-everything approach until the mid-'60s. Once the wash-and-wear concept hit, though, it hit big and many women retired their curlers for good.