The Small-Head Silhouette

Summer is coming, ladies! … Get in style with this small-head silhouette.

Big-head silhouette? So passé!

Ingrid Bergman, Notorious, 1946

Did I say that Hitchcock only used blondes? Turns out he used a brunette too, and what a fine choice. Bergman (Alicia Huberman) is such a wonderful leading lady, she makes this film sparkle despite its mostly mundane plot. Her hair is wonderfully, elegantly, unwaveringly 1940s. What a joy to watch! I counted seventeen different ‘dos throughout the film!

Oh, if I could still get my hair to do this! Gracious, it is an elegant upsweep. She uses several hair pieces, hats, barrettes and accessories throughout the film. Seen above is a fabulous black sequined … well, I’m afraid I just don’t know the name of it, but it sure is a sight! The many accessories were very typical of the time. The fact is we just put more into the looks of our hair back then. Now it’s all gone to pots.

The most show-stopping ‘do in the film is this one:

She’s rolled it upwards on both sides, sleeked it back through the middle section, pinned it at the nape in back with a diamond barrette and added pin curls to each side of the back bun. Nothing short of a momentous sight!

My favorite look comes in the second scene of the film, Miss Huberman’s “perfectly hideous party” in her Miami bungalow. I think it really is most flattering.

"Don't be silly––the important drinking isn't started yet."

I don’t want to spoil the film, for you really must see these hairstyles in action, and it’s available for viewing online. However, I suppose I really mustn’t neglect Bergman’s leading man, Cary Grant (Mr. Devlin). His hair is neatly parted and gelled in place throughout the whole picture–– a real upstanding man of the ’40s, he is. He keeps a razor to that square face, doesn’t even let his sideburns down. It’s quite surprising that the good-timing, good humoured Miss Huberman falls for such a straight arrow. I oughtta just let you watch the rest, though.

A Memorable Quote:

Miss Huberman: “What does the speedometer say?”

Mr. Devlin: “65”

Miss Huberman: “I want to make it 80 and wipe that grin off your face.”

Flowers in their Hair

Isn’t it sensual to have the soft petals of flowers adorning your tresses? Isn’t it fabulous to pin on the scent of sugar that all the honeybees are drawn to? Ladies, I tell you, flowers are nature’s adornment, and we should wear them any chance we get! It’s been done throughout history in all different nations.

In the 1940s U.S., blossoms gave Lady Day an untouchable glamour on the stage.  She always wore hers on one side––a little sassy, she was, and very feminine. She preferred white hibiscus, although she wore other kinds too. In the 1930s Mexico, Frida Kahlo, boldly creative, always wore hers right on top of her head with a part in the middle. She preferred bright, tropical blossoms. Kahlo said to her lover Josep Bartolf, “I paint flowers so they will not die.” If we pin them into our hair, we can reclaim a little youth, too, before it wilts away.

Now I’m thinking of my youth wilting away like a flower, and I’ll just indulge this bout of melancholy. Lovesick Ophelia drowned herself in the flower of her youth, for she could not turn the head of the boy who made her heart leap.

She put flowers into her long, straight tresses just before she laid herself down in the river, probably ’round the 12th century in Denmark–– fictionally speaking, of course.

“There is a willow grows aslant a brook,
That shows his hoar leaves in the glassy stream;
Therewith fantastic garlands did she make
Of crow-flowers, nettles, daisies, and long purples
That liberal shepherds give a grosser name,
But our cold maids do dead men’s fingers call them:
There, on the pendent boughs her coronet weeds
Clambering to hang, an envious sliver broke;
When down her weedy trophies and herself
Fell in the weeping brook. Her clothes spread wide;
And, mermaid-like, awhile they bore her up:
Which time she chanted snatches of old lauds;
As one incapable of her own distress,
Or like a creature native and indued
Unto that element: but long it could not be
Till that her garments, heavy with their drink,
Pull’d the poor wretch from her melodious lay
To muddy death.”

Ophelia was a deep-thinking and poetic young girl, so she pinned the flowers for deliberate meaning. The willows stood for forsaken love; the nettles for pain; daisies for innocence; pansies for love in vain; violets for faithful chastity and death of the young; and roses round her face, for she had been called the rose of May. What a poor young girl, but smart for dressin’ up so pretty for her death bed.

Long live Ophelia and Frida and Ms. Holiday; they’ll always be remembered for the flowers in their hair.

Longer ‘dos of the 1940s

Marguerite Chapman staying glamorous on the home front

The longer ‘dos of the late 1930s and the 1940s just had to have luscious waves or big curls. I remember it well, making my curls bigger by stuffing rats into the middle. Oh dear no, I would never let varmints rummage through my locks. We would make the rats by simply pulling out all the loose hair from our brushes and balling it together. During the war we were innovative, see. And we were still glamorous even though our men were away.

Bonus!:  A Slip of the Lip by Duke Ellington

Was it Loretta Young’s long ‘do that turned the eye of Clark Gable?

All the women were doing rag curls, which required only the rags that we had, cut into strips. A rather good tutorial exists, created by an unusually classy lady for this day and age. If it’s anything like the old days, all the men who are not in the war abroad  will be knocking on your door in hopes of taking you dancing, so you really must practice your lindy hop.