Thursday, February 10, 2011

If You Don’t Look Good, We Don’t Look Good

Looking north along Park Avenue from 64th Street. 3:05 PM. Photo: JH.
Wednesday, February 10, 2011. Sunny and cold in New York. No snow or rain in the forecast.

Wednesday lunchtime at Michael’s. The list: Kathy Lacey and friends; the Jets’ MVP Matt Higgins along with their COO Jeff Wilpon. When they left Harvey Weinstein (The King’s Speech) with daughter and friend. In the corner, Evelyn Lauder and guest; next door producer Jean Doumanian and friend. Across the way, Da Boyz of Michael’s, Dr. Gerry Imber, Jerry Della Femina, Jeff Greenfield and Andy Bergman. Nearby, Joe Califano, who is celebrating a Big One along with his annual CASA benefit in May with attorney Morton Pierce. Also Judy Price and Sarah Wolfe, both just back from their apartments in Paris; Randy Jones with Diane Clehane. Around the room: Donna Soloway with Colleen Rein; John Arnhold, Tad Smith, Jim Peterson, Peter Price, Nick Verbitsky; Conde Nast’s Last Word, Maury Perl; Jim Murtha of the New School; Alan Jones; Enzo Viscusi; David Sanford of the WSJ; one-time Marlboro man, actor/producer Chuck Pfeiffer, who was carrying the latest edition of a book on his ranches in the northwest – awesome beyond; at Table One, Shirley Rosenthal and Linda Janklow.

Last night in the Celeste Bartos Theater at MoMA, there was a screening of Vidal Sassoon The Movie; How One Man Changed the World with a Pair of Scissors, which is set for a limited release here in New York and on the West Coast this weekend. This screening was organized by Peggy Siegal.
Vidal Sassoon greeting Sheila Kotur. The first haircut Sheila ever got as a young girl was at Sassoon's then-new salon in London. Her mother had gone and sent her. Vidal was the first to cut hair that wasn't wet. She loved it and as you can see, she continues all these years later to wear that signature cut.
The Vidal Sassoon look, now timeless. Two models wearing Vidal Sassoon's signature cuts.
Although I rarely get to a film, I wanted to see this one because I’m old enough to remember when Vidal Sassoon came on the scene in a big way in the 1960s, along with the Beatles and the British fashion invasion led by Mary Quant, who is featured in the film, and had a tremendous impact on fashion and the way we saw ourselves. Later on, in the 1980s, I met his first wife, the lovely Beverly Sassoon in Los Angeles where the couple had relocated in the late 1970s. So I was motivated by the power of retrospective and reminiscence.

Last night’s screening drew a big fashion crowd: from Grace Coddington, Alexandra Kotur and Eve McSweeney of Vogue to Marisa Berenson with David Croland, Hamish Bowles (one of the “hosts”), Jim Reginato, Ann Caruso, Scott Buccheit, Poppy de Villeneuve, Todd Eberle, Austin Hearst, Frederic Fekkai, Jamie Figg, Zani Gugelmann, Yigal Azrouel, Lisa Airan, Sabine Heller, Genevieve Jones, Kiera Chaplin, Jonathan Becker, Tamara Mellon, Bonnie Morrison, Nigel Barker, Philip Bloch, Buck Jensen, Sante D’Orazio, Lauren Remington Platt, Olivia Sandelman, Rachel Roy, Antony Todd, Selita Eubanks, Domenico Vacca, Candy Pratts Price, Marina Rust Connor, Alison Sarofim, Stuart Parr, Jeff Sharp, Doug Steinbrech, Peter Bacanovic, Pierre Alexandre de Looz, as well as the director Craig Teper and producer Michael Gordon (who once worked for Sassoon in the early days and went on to create Bumble & Bumble).
Eve MacSweeney and Grace Coddington from Vogue. The film's director and editor Craig Teper and friend.
David Croland, Marisa Berenson, and Pierre de Looz.
Olivia Sandelman and Lauren Remington Platt. Vidal Sassoon and Lauren Remington Platt.
This is the second documentary I’ve seen this week and I’m left with the certainty that documentaries are the new major film features. Not all, of course, but many. They deliver everything a feature film used to deliver to an audience (taking into consideration many exceptional feature films that are still being made like The King’s Speech) and they are taking “reality” back to “real,” just like movies used to do.

Vidal Sassoon made a splash in the early 1960s with his “geometric” haircuts that became the rage both in Britain and here in America. By the mid-60s, every fashionable young woman was wearing a Sassoon cut or something similar. A few years later he went national with a hair products line – the first “hairdresser” to market his own brand of products. My friend Peter Rogers (featured here on NYSD HOUSE), then a major advertising executive here in New York, created the slogan for it: “If You Don’t Look Good, We Don’t Look Good” and it took off. Vidal Sassoon became a household word readily found in every bathroom cabinet and shower shelf, eventually grossing in the hundreds of millions annually.
Clockwise from top left: Sassoon; Ronnie Sassoon with The Man; Young Vidal with Mary Quant; Peggy Moffat wearing the signature Sassoon cut.
That was the extent of my knowledge of the man. The film which played to a rapt audience last night, tells the story about this boy from the East End of London who by chance, by serendipity, by natural talent and force of personality, with a pair of scissors, became a major part of the cultural revolution of the 1960s that is still with us today. (As you can see, his styles fifty years later are still new and fresh.)

The man himself, who was there last night with his wife of 22 years, Ronnie Sassoon, revolutionized his profession and created what is now a multi-billion dollar annual industry, never for a moment forgetting where he came from and who he was. The film is an inspiration for many and a life lesson for all of us.
A shot of the Michael's diningroom at night. 10:15 pm.
After the screening (screen time: 90 mins), there was a cocktail reception (with an abundance of hors d’oeuvres at Michael’s). It was one of the few times I’d been in Michael’s at night which is quite lovely in the night light giving Michael’s art collection a new light and look.
After leaving the Sassoon after party at Michael's I walked a few blocks up Fifth Avenue, taken by the sight of the lighted trees on Donald Trump's Trump Tower, by the "Think Pink" windows of Henri Bendel and finally the always brilliant window displays of Bergdorf Goodman.
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