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The Times They Were a changin'

This month's The Way We Were, sponsored by Matrix, covers the years 1960 to 1970. Looking through the archival issues from that era was an eye-opener for me. While the name Vidal Sassoon is now synonymous with the '60s, he was still the new kid on the block when he presented his "new short coiffure" at a press luncheon hosted by Clairol in 1966, and not everyone was betting that his geometric haircuts were here to stay. Also on the program was hairstylist John Garrison, a proponent of "soft and lovely shaped styles." Let's just say it was the Old Guard meets the New Wave, and it was going to be a fight to the finish.

Brett Vinovich
Brett Vinovich

In our January 1966, issue, we reported that the New Allied Chemical Tower in Times Square had just installed a fashion information center, which featured electronic answers to various fashion problems. Eight photographs of eight experts were mounted on the wall above eight telephones from which recorded fashion messages were delivered by the expert (his photo lit up above the phone so you knew who was talking). All of this was very high tech at a time when even H.G. Wells might not have imagined the Jumbotron. Kenneth (so famous he only needed one name) was one of the beauty experts. My former editor in chief at Interview, Gael Love, went to Kenneth. So did Jackie Kennedy. In other words, Kenneth was God when it came to hair. So what was the legendary hairstylist's take on Sassoon? "The Sassoon, geometric kind of thing" couldn't make it as mass fashion, he said. And we agreed. I believe our exact words were, "Thank heaven." So we were wrong. Sue us.

CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP: One of the "soft and lovely shaped styles" that women were wearing in the 1960s before Vidal Sassoon came along; the "Upbeat" look Sassoon presented at a press luncheon hosted by Clairol in 1966; Victoria Beckham sporting her new bob, which the press Is calling the POB (Posh's Bob).
CLOCKWISE, FROM TOP: One of the "soft and lovely shaped styles" that women were wearing in the 1960s before Vidal Sassoon came along; the "Upbeat" look Sassoon presented at a press luncheon hosted by Clairol in 1966; Victoria Beckham sporting her new bob, which the press Is calling the POB (Posh's Bob).

Now, of course, any beauty magazine that adopts a wait-and-see attitude is committing career suicide. The idea is not just to scope out new trends and report on them but to create those trends if you must. Case in point: Recently, Victoria Beckham, formerly Spice Girl Posh Spice, got a haircut, a simple bob. No news here, you might think. Think again. When the British press dubbed it the "POB" (Posh's Bob), the word spread like wildfire. Now everyone, including Katie Holmes (Tomkat turned Copycat) wants one or has one. The POB: Don't say you weren't warned. —Brett Vinovich, publisher, bvinovich@questex.com

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Brett Vinovich

Brett Vinovich