Archive for the ‘Old Hollywood’ Category


Monday, January 16th, 2012

Been studying Kim Novak’s hair in Vertigo again. Hitchcock seems to have been set on using it as a character; these loving close ups make it obvious. Many shots are composed around her hairstyles [all delicate wigs] and often the lens in focused on the hair, not the face, keeping the rest of the frame in a depth of field haze. The swirled chignon isn’t mere decoration, it’s structured like a dizzying vortex leading into a dark hole. When she’s in control seducing Scotty, not a single hair is out of place, even on a windy hilltop. When she needs to inspire Scotty’s sympathy and protection, her hair is at its most vulnerable, sad wet tendrils crying on her back. Her hair is a character in the diabolical plot against dazzled, naive, horny Scotty.

Not gone with the wind. Elnett-ed to infinity.

Sad, confused chignon.

Ready for its close up. One of many.

Another miracle of senses is inspired by the two different shots used when Scotty sees Madeleine for the first time. This scene was reshot after filming had been completed [Novak had looked in the camera by mistake] and bears signs of inevitable slips in continuity. Can you guess which is the latter version? It’s the one with the redder background.

Judy is a mere brunette, a lesser breed. She knows it. “I’m just a girl.”

As Judy, she disappears into the background. She has no light.

“I don’t care about me anymore.”

On a parting note, meet Kim’s wig head, on which Max Factor created these Vertigo wigs.

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They don’t make them like they used to.

Friday, November 25th, 2011

Incessantly collecting (and using) old school hairstyling tools.
They don’t make rollers like these anymore. These metal ones are from the early 40s. They retain heat and transmit it into the hair long after you take them out of the dryer, making for a tighter curl. Their mesh construction renders them unsuitable for fine bleached hair, as they will leave dents. But perfect for thick, virgin hair. The spring coil ones, are in such rare small sizes, perfect for sideburns, baby hair, nape curls and for sneaking them between large ones where needed. These bad girls have just arrived, to join an army of long forgotten, strange old (very useful) curlers in my arsenal of old tools.
(also, observe the early 30’s pin curl clips, that are formed in a way that doesn’t crush the hair!)



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Monday, February 21st, 2011

Fascinating, the level of fine craftsmanship that went into the making of these exquisite shop window mannequins. Pierre Imans in Paris and Irwin Culver in New York, early 20s. Due to the fact that they were made of vulnerable organic materials such as glass, wax, paper and human hair, so few of them survive today in good condition but I’m hell bent on acquiring one to study.

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Saturday, December 25th, 2010

Suddently the barista shouted from across the cafe, to ask
me what was it I was reading. Obtrusive monkey.


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personal moment

Saturday, November 27th, 2010

Hair can be such a dramatic component of a film scene. That, is often forgotten today.

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Old Hollywood

Sunday, November 21st, 2010

I’m always vehemently researching the great old artists that worked at the movie studios from as early as 1915. Max Factor, Eddie Senz, Jack Pierce, Perc Westmore. The tools and techniques they came up with, are still what we use today.
Old Hollywood. *sigh*

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