Whyte & Brown: Free Range Chicken

Which Came First – The Bob or The Beehive?

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Both styles are synonymous with the 1960s (and over the years both have been regularly sported by the Carnaby fashionista), but which came first?

The answer is The Bob – by quite a while.

Historically, women in the west had always worn their hair long. There were a few young girls, actresses and “advanced” or fashionable women who had started to wear short hair even before the first World War (for example the French actress Polaire adopted a short cut back in the early 1890s), but the style was not considered generally respectable until given impetus by the inconvenience of long hair to girls engaged in war work.

Notably, English society beauty Lady Diana Cooper, who had had bobbed hair as a child, kept the style through her teenage years and continued in 1914 as an adult.

Then popularized by film stars Colleen Moore and Louise Brooks in the early 1920s, it was still seen as a somewhat shocking statement of independence in young women. Hairdressers, whose training was mainly in arranging and curling long hair, were slow to realise that short styles for women had arrived to stay, and so barbers in many cities found lines of women outside their shops.

By the mid-1920s the style was the dominant female hairstyle in the Western world. As the 1930s approached however, women started to grow their hair longer and the sharp lines of the bob were abandoned.

In the 1960s, Vidal Sassoon made it popular again, using the shape of the early bob and making it more stylish in a simpler cut. Its resurgence coincided with the arrival of the “mop top” Beatle cut for men. Those associated with the bob at that time included the fashion designer Mary Quant, actresses Nancy Kwan, Carolyn Jones, Barbara Feldon and Amanda Barrie, and singers such as Keely Smith and Cilla Black.

Lady Diana Cooper  Mary Quant  Quant Carnaby  Cilla

The Beehive is a woman’s hairstyle that resembles a beehive; it is also known as the B-52, for its similarity to the bulbous nose of the B-52 Stratofortress bomber. It is said to have been developed in 1960 by Margaret Vinci Heldt of Elmhurst, Illinois, owner of the Margaret Vinci Coiffures in downtown Chicago, who had been asked by the editors of Modern Beauty Salon magazine to design a new hairstyle that would reflect the coming decade.

The popular girl group, The Ronettes, helped popularize the hairdo.  Audrey Hepburn’s character in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (1961) sported a large then-fashionable beehive, and the 60s singing icon, Dusty Springfield, was known for her trademark beehive and panda eyes look.

Ronettes Audrey Dusty

Thanks again to Wikipedia.