The performing arts are synonymous with glamour. Whether we’re talking about opera, theatre, ballet or film and television there has always been a place for gorgeous costume, makeup and of course hairstyles!
The hairdressers of the rich and famous are now becoming celebrities in their own right…one hit hairstyle on the right actress can make a career and confirm the hairstylist’s place on the hot-list in an instant.
Look at Jennifer Aniston’s famous “Rachel” cut which spawned a billion high-street copycats and equally, the bouncing curls of Farrah Fawcett a couple of decades earlier. Both cuts are still very much imitated and both assured the actress and their stylists of instant stardom.
It’s not a new phenomenon though; celebrity hairstyles have been influencing the hoi-polloi for many, many years and some of the most famous are still popular almost a century later!
1) Louise Brooks and her Infamous Bob
Louise Brooks was the glamorous originator of the bob and her style is still very popular today.
Back in the roaring twenties when Louise Brooks’ career as a film actress was just burgeoning, she took the brave decision to chop her hair into a short, blunt bob which epitomised the new freedom of women.
In an age where Victorian values were still keenly felt, though slowly being pushed out like a cork from a champagne bottle by the young and crazy flappers, this was a bold move.
Louise Brooks changed the face of style in the Roaring Twenties.
These young women’s daring exuberance for a life lived fast and hard was exhibited in gossip columns across the world. They changed the face of fashion in a more shocking way than perhaps any other generation has done since.
Louise Brooks was originally a dancer and understood the importance of silhouette, appreciating that her features were strong enough to carry off such a severe haircut.
Although she made many movies, she is best remembered for her role of Lulu in the silent film Pandora’s Box.
2) Audrey Hepburn and the Gamine Look
It was in 1954 that Audrey Hepburn premiered a severe and boyish crop which has been much imitated over the years by countless celebrities and wannabe’s.
By cutting most of her hair off, Audrey managed to make herself appear more feminine than ever and by framing her tiny, elfin features in such an unusual way, she became all the more fascinating.
A succession of other actresses have pulled this look off since Audrey Hepburn…in fact for every generation there has been at least one star who has chosen this look.
Audrey Hepburn’s elfin features need little framing.
In the 1960s it was Jean Seberg and Twiggy; the 1970s saw Mia Farrow
go short for Rosemary’s Baby and the 1980s and 1990s brought Molly Ringwald and Winona Ryder.
All of these young actresses had one thing in common…that they were or indeed are, very beautiful.
This is a strong look and one which has stood the test of time in more ways than one!
3) Bo Derek and her Cornrows
When the publicity shots for Bo Derek’s movie 10 came out, all the talk was of Bo’s hair-do. Nobody cared about the plot or who else was in the film…all anyone wanted to know was “Who’s that girl?”
The sight of Bo Derek in her swimwear on a paradisiacal beach with her blonde locks braided tightly across her scalp was a fascinating one and soon, everyone wanted to imitate her style.
Thirty years later and singers and performers are still trying to recapture the look. Christina Aguilera has done it, and so has Alicia Keys. Originally a style that was popular in Jamaica, cornrows have been tried by people of all cultures and remain a classic and practical look.
4) Farrah Fawcett’s Flip
The beautiful and talented Farrah Fawcett changed the face of hairstyling in the disco era.
The 1970s were a time when hairstyling was still very structured and the soft and touchable look hadn’t yet hit the fashion magazines. Farrah’s natural-looking and heavily layered style was a breath of fresh air.
She appeared in Charlie’s Angels with the hairdo of the moment and all over the world, women arrived at their hairdressers clutching pictures of Farrah which they had torn from magazines and asked for a “Fawcett Flip”.
The style lingered on through the 1980s in various guises and after disappearing for a while in the 1990s it made a big comeback for the new millennium and remains a popular and very wearable style.
5) Actresses and Singers Who Reached for the Razor
Shaving all of your hair off is a bold move, perhaps the boldest possible in terms of a style choice.
There have however been plenty of celebrities who have gone for the GI Joe look with varying degrees of success.
Perhaps the most famous of the bristly headed ones is Sinead O’Connor, the Irish singer who amazed audiences in the 1980s and 1990s with her powerful voice and equally powerful image.
Actresses who have braved the clippers include Angelina Jolie, Demi Moore, Megan Fox and Natalie Portman. A common feature of their decision to chop the lot off is that they were cast in roles which happened to suit the most minimalist hairdo ever.
This is a look which is not for the faint hearted and which can create strong reactions but which, when worn with the right attitude, can be an amazingly liberating one.
Performers have tried to shock, bewitch and amaze people with their hairstyles for generations. There is little which hasn’t been done already but when the right person re-thinks an old classic, it can make a career.
Having the style and the confidence to pull off something new and different is what makes individuals stand out above the crowd and remain in people’s consciousness for years to come…making them not just a performer but also an icon.
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