Sorry I Kept You Waiting, Madam(excerpt) © Vidal Sassoon, 1968

[My new hairstyle] line caught on faster than any I had done before or have done since. Much of the credit for encouraging the general public to accept it, however, must go not to me but to that very beautiful actress, Nancy Kwan.

About a week after Mary Quant's show, the Seven Arts film people telephoned to say, "We'd like you to cut Nancy's hair for her role in The Wild Affair."

"Fine," I said. "Let's get together this week and talk about it."

"No time for chat," they said. "We want to come around right away."

"Two hours later a small army arrived at 171-- managers, agents, photographers with their various assistants, and John Krish, the director. There were so many of them that it was quite a while before I saw Nancy, who was looking completely enigmatic about the ordeal ahead of her.

It was an ordeal. She had the most wonderful thick, strong hair, so long that she could sit on it. Now she was going to lose it in the name of entertainment.

She sat down quietly. Her manager called for a little table, and as I got ready to work, he produced a chessboard and began setting up the pieces.

As I used barber's shears on that magnificent rope of black hair, she never raised her head. She moved only when she stretched out a hand to move one of her chessmen.

She won, and I think I won, too. The game and the cut finished almost simultaneously. Nancy stood up and gazed at herself for a full minute in the mirror. Then her reflection smiled out at me.

As soon as they had gone, I telephoned Max Maxwell of Vogue and told him what I had just done. He told me to hold on for a moment, and when he came back, he said, "I've spoken to the editor. We want Terry Donovan to do a picture of her. We're going to give it a whole page, not only here, but maybe in American Vogue, too."

A few days later I met Nancy again in Terry's studio. Immediately she said, "I like it. Everybody likes it. It's so easy to manage."

With those words, her stock shot up on my private exchange. She knew what I wanted to hear. She knew I had probably been worrying.

After that we had no chance to speak very much for about two hours. Nancy was busy, and I was completely fascinated by this classic encounter between Donovan, a wild, way-out character, and the cool, cool Kwan.

There was no clash of temperaments. Instead they worked almost in silence, like a well-trained team. Here were a couple of complete professionals, with Nancy reacting to the mood of the photographer and seldom having to be told what he wanted.

Afterward the three of us went out with Max Maxwell for a meal in a Chinese restaurant. Nancy chose the food for us, and as we talked, I realized that she was far from being the aloof person I had always imagined her to be. She was shy, certainly, but behind that shyness there was gentleness and warmth.

The following morning Terry showed me the picture he had chosen from the dozen she had taken. I knew at once it was a winner. It was used not only in the British and American editions of Vogue, but circled the world. My new style, which until then had been known as the Mary Quant cut, because it had been seen first at her collection, got a new name-- the Nancy Kwan cut.

Nancy, ready for the big day...
Vidal planning his strategy...
Is this really happening?
Yes it is!
no turning back now...
finishing up with a rinse...
and a new, very Mod look!
the famous Kwan Cut