I was born and raised in Southern California, in the decidedly blue-collar neighborhoods of Hawthorne and Gardena. Beverly Hills was just a dream, a place my dad would drive us around so we could see the big, beautiful houses.
Then in my teen years, my boyfriend and I, both “starving” students, started hanging out along Rodeo Drive in Beverly Hills, soaking up the wealthy ambiance. We drooled over gorgeous jewelry in the shop windows and experienced the occasional celebrity sighting. Maybe a few times we scratched together enough money to have lunch at some not-quite-so-pricey place.
We also started to get our hair cut at Vidal Sassoon’s salon. At that time, you could find a stylist there who was relatively affordable. I had my hair styled by a Japanese-American man named Tanaka (he went by one name). It was maybe $20 for a cut–a lot of money then (and my dad probably got stuck with paying for it), but so worth it. Tanaka was way cute. And I would spot Vidal and Beverly Sassoon at the salon and feel quite glamorous.
Alas, over time, the prices increased and I started to feel kind of scruffy compared to the other very chi-chi clients in the salon. When it got to the point that I couldn’t afford the Sassoon cut, I let my hair grow out and eventually it hung past my waist. But I have very fond memories of Vidal’s salon, how pampered I felt and how much fun Tanaka was to visit with while he styled my hair. I’m sad to hear of Vidal’s death, and sorry to let go of a special part of my teen years.