For a relationship to last 50 years, many things must fall in to place, including (but certainly not limited to!) mutual respect and harmonious growth between both parties; that much is certainly true of the relationship between Sassoon Salon and the community of Bloor-Yorkville. In 1968 when Bloor-Yorkville was the hub of the counterculture and the hippie movement, Vidal saw it as the perfect starting point of his first Canadian location. 50 years later, Sassoon remains a hallmark of the Bloor-Yorkville salon scene. The two-story facility houses both their client studio and training school; Sassoon Salon remains forward-thinking and innovative – evolving with the community throughout the years. We spoke to Senior Creative Director, Lorraine McAndrew, about this unique relationship, what aspects of Bloor-Yorkville would inspire Vidal today, and a few of the modern women he might look to for inspiration.
In what ways does Sassoon Salon and Bloor-Yorkville complement each other?
L: Yorkville has changed throughout the years and Sassoon has evolved with Bloor-Yorkville – it’s a great neighborhood to be in! There’s a younger feel coming in [to the neighborhood], and there is a lot of diversity compared to when it first opened.
What aspects of the neighborhood inspires today’s team?
L: The mix of street fashion with [the higher end shops], the younger people coming in, the trendy spots to grab a drink like at One at the [Hazelton] Hotel.
What does the salon do today to maintain the forward-thinking quality of Vidal?
L: Our company releases two collections per year; it’s like fashion in that it’s always ahead [of the season]. Our current collection has just been released in October, and our team will have already finished the spring collection. In November, we’ll be working on February 2019.
We continue to educate our staff when these collections are released. We never stop learning in this industry – for cutting and color – it is an art, so it’s an on-going education at Sassoon. We’ll get the collection, we’ll bring in models, and either demo or present and then our team will work on the techniques. They’re always learning and experimenting.
Bloor-Yorkville has changed so much in the last 50 years – what would Vidal appreciate about the community today?
L: I think he’d appreciate how Bloor-Yorkville has evolved fashion-wise. Also, our clientele is a lot more open – we’re very lucky in Toronto. When we’re teaching and [demonstrating cut and color] with models, they’re always very open with new styles. We do have clientele who want the iconic bobs, but we have a very great diversity of people and I think Vidal would really appreciate how that has grown.
Bloor-Yorkville has changed throughout the years and Sassoon has evolved with Bloor-Yorkville – it’s a great neighborhood to be in!
In the early years it was the geometric bob that solidified Sassoon’s iconic status – how has the brand evolved with its style since then?
L: To this day we’re still working with the geometric shapes, but it’s evolved with lifestyle – people are busy – people want looks that are a little bit softer. Though it does depend – some people like it very dramatic, but, in general, people want looks that are versatile, maybe with waves, or a cut that can be flipped to one side, showing off a brighter color for the evening. Sassoon works with cuts and colors that complement each other. This is part of every collection [and just like fashion] people come here for the new collections.
What can a first-time client expect of the Sassoon experience?
L: A great cut! Clients are coming to Sassoon for that. Something that’s easier for them to style. Our technique is in the cut, so we spend more time cutting than styling, making it a wash and wear look for the client. When a client leaves the salon to go home, the look won’t fall apart, and that’s what people come here for. They’re looking to the Sassoon stylists for help deciding what will complement their individual style, their hair texture, etc. [Bringing in] pictures is good and we’ll either say we can do something similar or (laughs) we’ll say “put that picture away.” The consultation is really important, and we book longer appointment times to accommodate a longer consultation.
Also, our clientele is a lot more open – we’re very lucky in Toronto.
Throughout the 1960’s women like Goldie Hawn, Grace Coddington, and Mia Farrow were dedicated Sassoon clients. Who do you think Vidal would be inspired by today?
This is a hard one – it’s pressure! I was thinking of Victoria Beckham: she’s a perfectionist, she’s got her own clothing line, and she changes her look often. Lady Gaga is also amazing, and Anna Wintour always looks very Sassoon. He’d look to women who are inspiring and dedicated to whatever job they do. Sassoon was very dedicated and to work here you need to be just as dedicated. The training at Sassoon is very tough, you’ve got to put in the effort, and must really want it!
Sassoon Salon is located at 122 Scollard St, Toronto.