Elan Sassoon
Lessons in Faith, Love and Looking Good

By: David K

According to PhoPhacts.net, “Being a heterosexual male hairdresser (H.M.H.) is almost like being god.” Francoise Marie Dubonet, the infamous Courtesan de Coiffure, declared one balmy English day to an unlikely assembly of crimpers and theologians in London’s Royal Parisian Hall, circa 1916. Philosophical Platonic thoughts continue, if we hold this truth to be self-evident, then as day follows night it also follows, being an H.M.H. from London’s “swinging mod sixties” with the surname Sassoon is being god.

Stay with the logic. If your first name happens to be Elan, as in panache, and your surname Sassoon, with the charm of your handsome father and looks from your charming and heavenly mother, then reason follows, YOU must be the prodigal son of god returneth home to Salonville, U.S.A..

Say Amen. Praise the Lord.
There’s only one slight blemish in the logic, one fine print detail omitted. The son of the father is only a heterosexual male H.M.; fact is Elan is not a hairdresser. Therefore, the common sense of it breaks down; the son needs a brand new bag and baby needs a new pair of shoes.

All homage, spirituality, ridiculosity and religiousity aside, as East Coast Director of Klinger Advanced Aesthetics, Elan Sassoon makes good use of his pedigree and entrepreneurial wiles overseeing the chain of nationwide salons, spas, medical centers, and hairdressing talents with the knowledge, history, and thicker than blood pumping blood through his veins passed down, as folklore would have it, from the father to the son.

I, meaning me, your humble narrator, became a haircutter for among other travel and financial motives to meet girls, chicks, women, broads, birds, dames, and ladies. All things being equal, though things are not equal nor are they fair, what was Elan’s raison d’être for getting into the hair and beauty game? Particularly after producing a run of successful film projects. Was it to carry on the family legacy, for the money, to meet women, or for some other more esoteric rationale?

“I enjoy producing films. My first movie ever was at Sundance and that was far out. They only take eight movies a year and we had the movie Café Society, that’s my pride and joy.” Another film, Homage, with Blythe Danner, was in the Cannes Film Festival for the Camera D’or. “We did very well with that film,” but he gets more excited about beauty than he does about profit and goes on about his gorgeous star in another of his movies, Brooklyn State of Mind, and “the drop dead gorgeous girl from Il Postino Maria Grazia Cucinotta.”

Love Lies Bleeding was with another A-List star Faye Dunaway. “That was the last film I did and then I had to make a choice. I was gone like three months, my wife couldn’t leave the country because she didn’t have her visa, and so she said to me, “Look, either you choose family or you choose your movie career.”” You can tell by the way he tells it, it was not an ultimatum and there are no regrets when he says, “So I said all right I choose family; I’m done.” Check this… I’m his wife’s hairdresser–good choice E; she’s a major babe.

“Then she said, “Good, let’s move.” And I said, cool; let’s move to Seattle. She said, “Why don’t we move to Miami?” I said, I don’t want to go to Miami; I’m going to Seattle.” His already sweet voice goes softer, “And she said, “Let’s just go look at it.” And I said, fine, you look in Seattle and I’ll go look in Miami and then we’ll make a choice.” All of a sudden a deep blue something washes over me like a romantic Tiffany Blue mist, though I’m certain he didn’t produce the new Capote. “She took me down to Cocoanut Grove, and like Coral Gables and South Miami, and y’know I was like, this is kinda cool.”

It’s at this point I inform Elan that he is but H.M. and Vidal and I are both H.M.H. –and with a tinge of a gloat explain what you have already read at the top of the story and the last thing I want to be is redundant or repeat myself over again repeatedly. He loves the H.M. designation and laughs. And I ask Elan, what have you learned from your dad?Not being a hairdresser what have you carried with you from him?

“The most valuable thing that I learned from him was surround yourself with excellent people. You surround yourself with excellent people and they will always make you look good. That was the number one thing he always told me. Bury the ego, look for the best people and you surround yourself with the best. That’s the key. Don’t always want to be the best, you know. You will be.” It makes me happy to know it was he who hired me.

The scope of his job encompasses recruiting talent to the actual physical buildings; non-stop cell phone calls, conference calls, meetings, bottom lines, and a neverending line of people needing to talk to or get next to the birthright heir to hair. “We (Klinger Advanced Aesthetics) have salons in twelve cities and I like the fact that we’re owned by Louis Vuitton.”

He loves the vision of the company. “Which is the 360 degree approach to beauty. It’s taking in everything about one’s self. Instead of just looking at the hair–it’s looking at their eyebrows, their skin, looking at all their features– it’s a whole package.” He represents, “Lots of salons will be opening around the U.S. and Europe.”


In the same way what it’s like to give birth, I’ll never know what it’s like to have such a recognizable name. How does it feel? What’s it like? He pauses and thinks thoughtfully and turns to the computer he’s been Googling his flicks and reminisces about the Faye movie. “Those were good years, um, I don’t know. As long as you take advantage of it in positive ways and not negative it can open a lot of doors for you, and you can help a lot of people. It’s hard to answer a question like that when you’ve grown up with it your whole life. I really don’t know any other way. I remember as a kid I was really shy and when I’d go to events with my mom and my dad I’d sneak in through the kitchen door of say the Beverly Wilshire Hotel at one of those black tie events instead of walking down the aisle.” He chuckles, “Going in through the back just to kind of avoid everything. Now it doesn’t bother me so much. It’s kind of nice, you know. As long as you’re grounded.”

So why did he get into the salon business? “There’s an incredible feeling, a rush, there’s an energy being around so many creative people in one place at the same time. There’s something special about being around people who want to help other people be beautiful. There’s a buzz and sense of joy.”

Given the opportunity to say one last thing and ask if there is anything he wants to say, he thoughtfully thinks and slowly says, “Peace.” A wonderful thought this holiday wartime season.


We’re late to the party on this one, but Vidal Sassoon has listed his renovated, 3,392-square-foot Richard Neutra-designed Modernist-style house on 5.23 acres in Los Angeles’ Bel-Air area for $19.995M

We’re obviously late in getting around to this, but we wanted to give our readers our take on hairdresser Vidal Sassoon having listed his architecturally significant, Richard Neutra-designed house in Los Angeles’ Bel-Air area, which he purchased in 2004 for $6 million and now has on the market for $19,995,000.





First, we’d love to give props to Radar Online, who broke the story in June, and also to the Real Estalker, who also published a fine post on the listing. And Deidre at the Luxist also wrote a nice summary of the Sassoon house a few weeks back as well. And as the Real Estalker correctly noted, this isn’t believed to be Vidal’s main house; his principal residence is a 6,189-square-foot house on a 1.432-acre tract on Calle Vista Drive in Beverly Hills, down the street from Tom Cruise’s new house.

As for the Neutra-designed Bel-Air house, it was built in 1959 and ostensibly was bought by Sassoon as an investment. Located at 15000 Mulholland Drive and known as the Singleton house because it was built for Teledyne co-founder Henry Singleton, the four-bedroom, 3,392-square-foot house has been renovated but still has its original living room and dining room, according to listing information. Other features include five baths, a large kitchen, a sitting room/media room, an art gallery, a master suite with a sitting room, a swimming pool, two potential building pads on the site, and a long, ‘imposing’ private drive, according listing information.

The house uses seamless glass walls so that it appears to be a part of the natural surroundings, and also has flat roofs and simple post-and-beam construction. The home overlooks the Stone Canyon Reservoir Preserve. It has views of the San Gabriel Mountains, the Pacific Ocean and downtown L.A. A modernist architect, Neutra (1892-1970) once was a student of Frank Lloyd Wright.

Sassoon purchased the property in 2004 from the Massachusetts-based MIT Real Estate Foundation, according to public records.

Sassoon’s Son Starting Boston Hair Empire

Academy To Be Built Near Boston University

POSTED: 11:23 am EDT July 8, 2008
UPDATED: 11:42 am EDT July 8, 2008
BOSTON — The son of famed stylist Vidal Sassoon is opening a salon and massive new hair care academy in Boston as he moves to build his own empire.

The Academy for Hair and Skin by Elan Sassoon is a 90,000-square-foot, $22 million school planned near Boston University.

The school, with its 180 dorm beds and a 200-seat auditorium, is the first of four planned nationwide. It’s supposed to open in the spring

Elan Sassoon also is part-owner of a 3,000-square-foot salon on Boylston Street that will open a few months before the school.

Sassoon told The Boston Globe he chose Boston for the school because it’s a city of education.

Several years ago, Sassoon’s $31 million bid to purchase the Vidal Sassoon brand fell about $2 million short.

Ryan Gander, The Boy Who Always Looked Up, 2003. 200 children’s storybooks on a shelf, 14 1/8 x 78 3/4 x 6 3/4 in. (35.9 x 200 x 17.1 cm)

The British artist Ryan Gander weaves subtle tapestries of fact and fiction. His idea-based practice, his handling of the details of life and his own biography, art history and the artistic process, even obscure fables and puzzles—all of these he synthesizes into myriad forms, from sculpture to installation, the printed word, performance, and intervention.

He has created, for instance, an installation in which viewers are positioned on the wrong side of a cinema screen, and a book on high-rise living that is positioned above the audience’s heads. In What the Postman Brought (2007), disparate items are loosely collected, and viewers are invited to complete the space between the (missing) objects.

Gander’s cerebral but playful puzzle incorporates various visual clues: the painting of the American artist Mark Tansey (whose work is similarly allusive, often exploring abstract concepts through somewhat realistic images), a children’s adventure-mystery book whose story develops as puzzles are solved, and the Irish comedian Spike Milligan’s ironic and emotionally raw writings.

An Incomplete History of Ryan Gander
by Jens Hoffmann

The London-based artist Ryan Gander connects what appear upon first glance to be prosaic historical facts and events with a large collection of fictional and semifictional elements. His works include photographs, drawings, films, installations, sculptures, and even lectures, all of them intertwined by a fractured, opaque narrative that threads through his entire oeuvre. The finished pieces are surprisingly minimal, but they suggest a variety of points of reference, from the utopian impulses of the early twentieth century to contemporary popular culture and mundane aspects of everyday life.

The Boy Who Always Looked Up (2003) exemplifies Gander’s approach perfectly. The primary component of the piece is a children’s book that the artist wrote himself about a boy in a small house across from the infamous Trellick Tower, which was designed by the British modernist architect Ernö Goldfinger in London’s Notting Hill. The story of the building and its creation is told through the eyes of the child, and a large number of exquisite illustrations show him watching its construction. A minimalist bookshelf holding numerous copies of The Boy Who Always Looked Up is installed high on the museum or gallery wall, out of the audience’s reach. Only in the bookshop can viewers actually handle and acquire the book so that they can finally read the story after leaving the exhibition space. The fact that Goldfinger was the neighbor of Ian Fleming (author of the renowned James Bond spy novel series) in London’s Highgate neighborhood and the inspiration for the Bond character Goldfinger is something that the artist carefully notes in a separate piece as part of his ongoing lecture series Loose Associations 2.1 (begun 2002). Both works are part of a larger group that Gander calls An Incomplete History of Ideas (2002–6).

Another work from this same group, also dealing with both the legacy of modernism and the world of children, is Bauhaus Revisited (2003), a chess set designed in 1924 by Josef Hartwig, a master craftsman at the Bauhaus in Weimar, Germany. The chess set’s unique concept is that the shapes of the pieces indicate what moves can be made with them. It was originally intended to be mass produced but never went into production; Gander fabricates it as a unique piece of art using zebrawood, a rare, endangered wood found only in the rainforests of central Africa. The material’s black-and-white patterning makes it impossible to tell which side the pieces are supposed to be on, so the game cannot be played and the chess figures become, essentially, old-fashioned-looking children’s building blocks.

One of Gander’s most complex and yet most characteristic pieces is What the Postman Brought (2007), a subversion of museum display standards. It consists of four elements, three of which are missing. The fourth functions as a wall label, giving the viewer some clues about what might be going on in the absent parts. There are two nails in the wall, but the painting that is supposed to be hanging there (The Bricoleur’s Daughter [1987] by Mark Tansey) is gone. There is a bookstand, but the book (The Adventures of the Black Hand Gang [1976] by Hans Jürgen Press) has also disappeared. And the empty frame, we learn, was supposed to hold two documents from the unpublished writings of the Irish comedian Spike Milligan.

The film that Gander is presenting in his solo Passengers exhibition, Is This Guilt in You Too (Study of a Car in a Field) (2005), again employs a child as the narrator. In an enclosed space with white walls and white carpet, we watch a one-minute video loop of a car stuck in a snowy landscape near a group of trees. The camera slowly zooms in from above toward the car, and a voice-over by a young girl continues for about 15 minutes while the projection loops again and again. The girl speculates, just as we do, on how the car got there, describing carefully what we see on the screen.

Gander’s works are uncommonly hard to decipher. He sends us on a journey that is less about trying to arrive at an intellectual understanding and more about engaging in a form of detective work, which is often linked to the history of larger social structures and their relationships to the human condition. He lays out the evidence and asks us to study it carefully, connecting the different elements and forming our own personal relationship with them.

“Any damn fool can put a deal, but it takes genius, faith, and perseverance to create a brand”

David Ogily

“Your premium brand better be delivering something special or it’s not going to get the business”

Warren Buffet

” Well -managed brands live on, only bad brand managers die ”

George Bull

” Brand loyalty is very much like an union. It has layers and a core. The core is the user who will stick you until the very end. ”

Edwin Artzt

” I am irresistible, I say, as I put on my designer fragrance. I am a merchant banker, I say, as I climb out of my BMW. I am a juvenile lout, I say, as I down a glass of extra strong lager. I am handsome, I say, as I don my Levi’s jeans”.

John Kay


Tom Peters

” The only place where success comes before work, is the dictionary ”

Vidal Sassoon

” Our work is the reflection of our image”

Adriana Sassoon

” The world is getting green , Green Tangerine”

Adriana Sassoon

” Our body is our inner Temple of beauty, Let’s cultivate it”

Adriana Sassoon