A belated obituary to East End lad turned international hairdresser, Vidal Sassoon, who died last week, at the age of 84. He gave us the Five Point Cut, the Mary Quant Bob and Mia Farrow’s pixie crop, but less known is his early life as a streetfighting man with an antifascist paramilitary organisation. Aged 17, the hairdressing apprentice became active with the 43 Group, a vigilante force that had started with 43 Jewish ex-servicemen. Armed with fists and coshes, they engaged in punch-ups with Moseley’s fascist Blackshirts, landing Sassoon in jail more than once. In an interview with the journalist Julian Kossoff before his death, Sassoon admits his nocturnal experiences sometimes felt a little surreal. ‘One morning after a particularly nasty tear-up, I went to work at the salon in Mayfair with a badly scratched face and this refined client looked at me and said, ‘Good God, Vidal, you look terrible. What happened to you?’ “Nothing much, I said. I just fell over a hairpin,” ’ remembers Sassoon. Rebecca Taylor
For Kossoff’s interview with Sassoon, see hopenothate.org.