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Lifetime Achievement Award: Vidal Sassoon


London-born hairdressing legend, Vidal Sassoon was honoured with London Design Festival's first ever Lifetime Achievement Award. The Lifetime Achievement Medal honours an individual who has made significant and fundamental contributions to the design industry over their career.

Vidal Sassoon CBE was a British-American hairstylist, businessman, and philanthropist. He was noted for repopularizing a simple, close-cut geometric hair style called the Bob cut, worn by famous fashion designers like Mary Quant and film stars such as Mia Farrow, Goldie Hawn, Cameron Diaz, Nastassja Kinski and Helen Mirren. From a background of extreme poverty, with seven years of his childhood spent in an orphanage, Sassoon quit school at the age of 14 with dreams of becoming a footballer. After working various jobs in London during World War II, he eventually became an apprentice hairdresser at the suggestion of his mother.

After developing a reputation for his innovative cuts, he moved to Los Angeles in the early 1970s, where he opened the first chain of worldwide hairstyling salons, complemented by a line of hair-treatment products. He also co-founded Paul Mitchell Systems with Paul Mitchell, one of his former students. Mitchell said that Sassoon was "the most famous hairstylist in the history of the world."

He sold his business interests in the early 1980s to devote himself to philanthropy. In 2009, Sassoon was appointed CBE by Queen Elizabeth II at Buckingham Palace. Vidal Sassoon: The Movie, a documentary film about his life, was released in 2010. Sassoon sadly passed away on 9th May 2012, shortly after receiving his medal, after a two year battle with leukaemia. 

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