William Collier: Synopsis of a Memoir, Pt. 30 - Sassoon Academy Training Completed

March 10, 2016

Prior to leaving London we planned to do some shopping. I was interested in looking for a few items and Gene was interested in a completely new wardrobe. Kings Road was the most popular choice. I actually enjoy shopping and am willing to invest some time in the process. We found a mens clothing store, of which there were many, that appeared to be particularly appealing to the both of us. The staff was fun and very accommodating, seeming to enjoy the opportunity to chat-up a couple of Yanks. As it became clear that there was some serious shopping about to occur, the level of hospitality increased dramatically. As I proceeded to look around for items that would integrate with my existing wardrobe, I noticed that Gene was creating quite a stir. I wandered over to the area where Gene was being fully catered to and was asked if I might like a pint of ale and a bit of lunch, which I promptly accepted. By now they began to lay down complete outfits, which included trousers, shirts, sport jackets, and ties. Lunch arrived with a round of British Ale & the sandwiches were quite tasty...the attention was superb. If memory serves me correctly, I believe Gene’s total package included at least five or six complete outfits, with a few ties compliments of the store. I have yet to enjoy another shopping experience quite like that.

Upon finishing our training at the Academy, and saying goodbye to the amazing staff, who's commitment to excellence was truly exceptional...we were now on our way to three days in Paris. We had reservations at a hotel that was centrally located, large, with all the amenities but not much charm. We spent one night there and then switched to a hotel on the Left Bank with serious charm. By now, even though we were in a city with an endless opportunity for tourist adventure, we were both looking forward to being home. I knew this would not be my last visit to France and preferred to enjoy a relaxed time; this included wonderful cuisine, and an endless abundance of people watching, which of course tended to be quite gender specific. Go figure. The Parisian expression is in a class of its own.









Arriving home is always pleasurable in so many ways. Gene was in his new location constructing a staff, which would become the foundation of his success at the Tower 801 Salon. I was taking on new responsibilities myself, including hiring my first employee who was just out of the Paul Morey training center: Jimmy Buss. Jimmy was quite visible in the Avant-Garde scene in Seattle, not having to exert any effort, he just saw the world a certain way. Jim enjoyed success as a top hair designer in Seattle and I am proud to have shared time with him during the early days of his career. There is a story I will share about Jim, which anyone that knew him will enjoy. So Jim had been working with me for a few months and Jimmy Buss Santa picduring that time was constantly trying to figure out what to do with his own hair. He was getting thin on top and the sides and back were thin and curly. I had cut his hair several times but he just could not adjust to the thinness on top. On a day that was a little slow, Jim was going through his concern about his hair, of which I was getting a little tired of and suggested shaving his head. I was kind of joking, however, in true Jimmy fashion, he says, “Let’s do it.”


Well he called my bluff and went down the street to a small neighborhood market to purchase a safety razor. Upon returning he sat down and said, “Go for it”. I had not shaved a head with a clipper since my army hair cutting days, and had never used a razor to shave anyone’s head. In spite of a few rivulets of blood, that required absorbing with a towel to avoid freaking him out, the haircut could be called a success. Jim wore his hair shaved for many years. Jim’s life ended under most unfortunate circumstances of which I feel no need to share. He will always hold a special place in my life.Jimmy Buss


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