Movie moguls are not the only ones focused on Cannes, the world’s most glamorous film festival. Hair stylists are turning to Hollywood’s big hair moments to inspire some glamour in the salon.
“If you think about Marilyn Monroe or Rita Hayworth, women have grown up with their films as well as seeing their hairstyles used as a reference, so they feel in comfortable territory,” says Kerry Warn, international creative consultant at John Frieda. Warn looks after Nicole Kidman’s hair on screen (a blonde tease in The Paperboy and crimped 1930s bob in Hemingway & Gellhorn, both debuting at Cannes) and created the looks for this year’s Great Gatsby remake, which stars Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan.
The right hairstyle can send a signal. Bruce Masefield, UK creative director at Vidal Sassoon, recalls how Mia Farrow, who played a bookish teenager in US television soap Peyton Place, famously had her hair shorn into a short crop by the late Vidal Sassoon for her role as the woman pregnant with the devil’s baby in Rosemary’s Baby (1968). “That cut showed her maturity and confidence, as well as having an element of anti-vanity, so she was taken much more seriously as an actress,” says Masefield. “The same has happened today with Emma Watson and Carey Mulligan, with many clients following suit.”
Certainly, famous styles from film history were referenced during recent runway shows. The remake of F Scott Fitzgerald’s novel is one of the most anticipated films of the year, so a nod to the classic 1920s look was to be expected – from soft waves at Zac Posen to longer locks tucked behind the ears at Cacharel, all was Daisy Buchanan. Meanwhile, at Mulberry and Peter Som, dishevelled half beehives referenced fluffy versions of the style in the cult classic Valley of the Dolls (1967). Partings that made a simple style statement from off-centre at Burberry to wide and at the side at Derek Lam were reminiscent of Ali MacGraw in Love Story (1970).
“I think the silver screen is alluring because those iconic hairstyles instantly look glamorous without being fussy,” says Masefield. “That’s a very appealing quality to both hairstylists and women recreating the looks themselves.”
The key is not to be too literal in your homage; think inspiration, not imitation. “With fashion, make-up and hair, so many things have been done that it’s hard to be completely original,” says renowned British hairstylist Neil Moodie. “We constantly reference old styles but the key is to rework them and make them modern.”
Warn says: “When the hair becomes a detailed imitation, it’s instantly too retro. The Ali MacGraw parting, for example, is very natural and youthful-looking, so great for good quality hair. But to bring it up to date it shouldn’t be flat and over-straightened but, instead, have a bit of a wave.”
Even today’s starlets have to ensure not to look like carbon copies. “Emma Watson’s short haircut was inspired by Mia Farrow’s but made softer to suit her face,” says Moodie. “And Amy Winehouse took her inspiration from the beehive but added her own unique twist to make it look modern, not retro. The clever thing to do is look at these famous styles, take the best elements and interpret them. It’s about changing the texture or shape slightly to suit you.”
Warn says: “It’s great to see women being able to do those kind of styles but put their own stamp on it. It’s an instant confidence boost.” You may not be on the red carpet on the Riviera but you’ll still feel like a star.