February 2, 2014


Spy Vibe celebrates the true Super Bowl, a five-point classic cut designed by Vidal Sassoon. Created in the summer of 1964, Sassoon's short-bowl bob helped to usher in a style that would define the new generation. Joining a wave that included Mary Quant, Twiggy, Peggy Moffit, Cardin, and others, Sassoon's famous haircut solidified the youth-centered culture of the era and his influence rippled across Europe and the rest of the globe. Photo still below of Peggy Moffitt and others on the set of William Klein's Who Are You, Polly Maggoo? (1966).

When Sassoon died in 2012, designer Mary Quant wrote a piece for The Guardian. She said, "Vidal Sassoon completely changed hair. Before him, it was simply hairdressing: Vidal made it cut and style. He saw that, like architecture, hair could be cut into shapes and textures that not only flattered the character and texture of the hair, but projected the best qualities of the head and face, pointing out the cheekbones and focusing on the eyes, and making the maximum impact on the individuality of the face and personality. In the Japanese erotic tradition, he also focused on the back of the neck." Contact sheet of model Grace Coddington below from The Independent.

Quant: "He liberated women from the punishment of hours spent under the bonnet of a hairdryer, with fat rollers digging into their scalps. We found the freedom to swim in the sea, drive in an open-top car, walk in the rain and then just shake our head to look good again. Your hair did not forget the shape he created and it simply returned to base… Vidal Sassoon, the pill and the miniskirt changed everything. For me, he produced the perfect cap on my leggy miniskirted designs and the frame for my colour cosmetics."  Images below of Mary Quant and Vidal Sasson from The Guardian and CNN.

Just as trim fashion liberated women to celebrate the beauty of an active, sporty life-style, Sassoon's cut offered freedom and practicality for the busy professional. The look was fresh, fun, and empowering. But there was a darker side to this aesthetic. Although fans now like to look back to Klein's Polly Magoo film as an iconic poster for fashion elements like Sassoon's haircut, geometric mod clothes, Op Art influences, and Twiggy-like models, the film also criticized -in 1966- the emergence of the youth fashion movement. The script cautioned that the trend to fetishize ultra-skinny youth as the ideal of beauty would ultimately mutate our perspective on maturity, femininity, and sexuality. In an age now where advertisements are using younger and younger kids depicted with seemingly adult-like attitudes, I fear the film's message was accurate. Although I share that concern regarding youth, I am a great fan of what Sassoon, Quant, and others did for style. As a playful look for mature people, it remains inspired and influential. It's wonderful to see Mary Quant (age 79) and Peggy Moffitt (age 73) below still sporting the mid-1960s styles. Nice super bowl, Peggy! 

Recent Ian Fleming posts on Spy Vibe: Ian Fleming LettersErno Goldfinger, Ian Fleming Music Series links: Noel CowardWhispering Jack SmithHawaiian GuitarJoe Fingers Carr, new Ian Fleming CatalogJon Gilbert interview, Double 007 Designs, Bond audio book reissues, discovery of one of Ian Fleming's WWII Commandos, James Bond book covers, Ian Fleming's Playboy interview for Kindle, Spy Vibe's discovery of a rare Ian Fleming serialization, rare View to a Kill, Fleming's Royal gold typewriter, Ian Fleming's memorial address, Spy Vibe's Ian Fleming image archive.

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