When was the last time you peeked in your high school yearbook?
If it’s been a while, we invite you to dig it out...and flip to your portrait.
Now, here’s a question for you:
How willing would you be to wear that same hairstyle…today?
Of course, you may be one of those lucky ladies who found a style that just works for you…and never needed to change your look!
If you do fall into that category, we salute you. Like they say…why mess with success, right?
“We should all be so lucky to have a senior yearbook photo with hair that fabulous!”
But for most of us, our high school looks prove one thing, beyond a shadow of a doubt:
SOME HAIRSTYLES AGE BETTER THAN OTHERS
That’s why it’s incredible when a woman introduces a style that’s simply a game-changer…
…a look that transforms beauty forever…
…becoming iconic...and instantly timeless!
So today, we invite you to celebrate three of the most monumental style breakthroughs in the history of hair.
These tress trailblazers launched revolutionary looks that have inspired generations of women…
...and they’re still turning heads and making headlines today!
CLEOPATRA: THE EMPRESS OF STYLE
The truth is, historians and archaeologists don’t have a lot of information about the hairstyles ancient Egypt’s most famous ruler preferred.
So when we think of Cleopatra, a lot of what we picture comes from the legendary 1963 movie, starring Elizabeth Taylor as the empress of the Nile.
In that movie, Liz set a record for the most costume changes for any actress (65 different outfits!) that stood for over 30 years.1
And the dramatic hairstyles she sported as Cleopatra were every bit as vivid as her costumes.
Those looks, which included:
- A sharp shoulder-length bob with curved bangs
- Striking face-framing braids adorned with gold and jewels
- …and a “Greek-style” tousled updo, with tight curls cascading down the bare neck
…made the actress, and the monarch she played, part of hairstyling history.
These looks have made Cleopatra a source of inspiration for any woman seeking a daring, conversation-starting style.
“Thousands of years after she ruled an empire, we’re still talking about Cleopatra...and her hair!”
That means, the next time you marvel over the unconventional hair risks taken by Sia, Lady Gaga, or Cardi B…
…you’re paying tribute to Cleopatra, the original queen of barrier-breaking hair!
MARIE ANTOINETTE: WHEN IN DOUBT…MAKE IT BIG!
Another famous ruler who changed women’s hairstyles forever was Marie Antoinette.
The doomed queen of 18th century France was the ultimate style-setter of her time. Women from all walks of life strived to recreate her thrilling new looks.
And arguably her most lasting contribution was created by her famous stylist, Léonard...who, according to the history books, was just as much of a diva as his royal client!
In 1774, at the coronation of Marie’s husband, Louis XVI, the queen unveiled a towering curve of hair, hailed far and wide as:
“Like most everything she did, Marie Antoinette’s towering pouf of hair was a scandalous sensation”
Throughout her reign, Marie Antoinette continued to raise the big-hair stakes. Sometimes, her powdered wigs were so massive…she decorated them with model ships!3
But no hairstyle she ever sported has had the long-lasting impact of le pouf.
You can see its influence in everything from the still-retro-cool 1950s-style “beehive”…
…to the cascading explosions of curls favored by Alicia Keys, Shakira, and other music legends.
So, if you’ve ever sat down in a salon chair and told your stylist, “The bigger, the better”…
…you owe a tip of the hat to Marie Antoinette and “le pouf”!
LOUISE BROOKS, FLAPPERS, AND THE BOB
For our final legendary look, we’re visiting the 1920s...a truly thrilling time for women.
It was the first decade when American women had the vote...and it was also the era of the women known as the flappers.
These ladies caused national scandals by challenging every rule of social convention.
- Wearing sexy new fashions
- Dancing and partying all night in speakeasies
- Joyriding in fast cars with the top down
- Speaking their own hip, up-to-date slang
And, to really show off their liberation, the flappers adopted carefree short hairstyles.
These chic looks were a rejection of stereotypical women’s roles, constricting fashions...and high-maintenance hair.
The most recognizable of the flapper hairstyles is the bob.
“With the bob hairstyle, women no longer had to spend whole days and nights washing and styling their hair”
With its jawline-level length and fringed bangs, it frames the face with sharp lines and angles...a major break from the soft-edged silhouette of earlier women’s styles.
The bob was most famously worn by silent movie star Louise Brooks. She became a symbol of the Roaring ‘20s, and a style role model for modern women.4
Even today, the bob, and all the above-the-shoulder looks that followed…
...from the ‘60s pixie cut to Jennifer Aniston’s trendsetting “Rachel” style…
...represent the liberated, can-do attitude of contemporary women.
When we spoke with a Hollywood film and TV costume consultant about the bob, she said it “might be the most important hairstyle for women there ever was.”
You can’t argue with an expert opinion like that!
SET YOUR OWN TREND
Of course, these immortal innovations are just a few of the looks that, over the centuries, have changed women’s style for all time.
Do you have any favorites we might have missed?
If so, send along your thoughts. We’d love to hear which celebrated hair icons have inspired your own looks.
Or better yet…
...try out one of these famous ‘dos yourself, and send along a selfie showing off your results!
We’ll share some of the most striking renditions of these renowned hairstyles in a future HAIR TALK blog.
We hope you enjoyed this brief survey of three unforgettable hairstyles.
Perhaps they will inspire you to follow in the footsteps of these beauty legends…
...to recapture some of their unique magic for yourself…
...or maybe...just maybe…
...to create the next hairstyle women will be admiring, and recreating, for generations to come!
- “Which Film Had the Most Costume Design Changes Ever? - Helen Beaumont.” Helen Beaumont - Welcome to My Blog, 10 Jan. 2017, www.helenbeaumont.co.uk/film-costume-design-changes-ever/.
- Smith, Simone Haruko. “10 Fun Facts About Marie Antoinette's Hair.” Bellatory, Bellatory, 8 Mar. 2016, bellatory.com/fashion-industry/Marie-Antoinette-Hair-styles.
- Bashor, Will. “PHOTOS: Marie Antoinette's Craziest, Most Epic Hairstyles.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 16 Dec. 2013, www.huffingtonpost.com/will-bashor/marie-antoinettes-crazies_b_4109620.html.
- Oliver, Dana. “PHOTOS: 1920s Hairstyles That Defined The Decade.” The Huffington Post, TheHuffingtonPost.com, 7 Dec. 2017, www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/08/08/1920s-hairstyles-photos_n_3720290.html.