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Vidal Sassoon isn’t just a brand name; he was in fact a real person, a hair-products tycoon and above all, an iconic hairdresser whose prolific career spanned over half a century.

Sassoon revolutionised hairstyling; he made sprays, backcombing and beehives redundant by introducing his ‘wash and go’ styling philosophy and the no fuss, easy to maintain ‘bob’ cut.

An architecture buff, Sassoon’s hair styling philosophy was inspired by the Bauhaus movement and is all about geometric and angular shapes without the fuss and fluff. The quintessential modernist, Sassoon’s aesthetics reflected in every aspect of his life from his hairstyles to his homes which are all partial to straight lines and clearly discarded superfluity.

The Los Angles house where Sassoon and wife Ronnie lived is a testament of the couple’s love for architecture and modernist design. Known as the Singleton House after its original owner, the house sits on over five acres of land on a Bel Air hilltop. It affords spectacular views of the Pacific Ocean, the glass and steel skyscrapers of downtown Los Angeles as well as the desert and San Gabriel Mountains.

Designed in 1959 by modernist master Richard Neutra, the Sassoons’ renovated the house when they moved into it in 2004, but stayed true to the architect’s original vision. They retained many of the built-ins (such as kitchen cabinets and bedsteads) and matched materials and fixtures.

Decorator Martyn Lawrence-Bullard helped with the interiors, which now includes original mid-century furniture by Italian architect Gio Ponti and French designer Charlotte Perriand. A Saarinen Tulip table by Knoll (an embodiment of modernist design theory) is the centrepiece of the kitchen which has views of the pool and spectacular vistas beyond.

The house is accented with art by modernists such as Lucio Fontana, Étienne Hajdu, Anish Kapoor and Ellsworth Kelly. The four-bedroom, five-bathroom house is valued at about $15 million.

Vidal Sassoon died in his beloved Bel Air home last week at the age of 84.

– Leila Mahfooz Barry

First published in the Adbuzzzz Section of The DAWN National Weekend Advertiser on May 20, 2012.