And Ann as its champion
I was struck recently by the kinds of hairstyles the rich and famous (and movie stars) wore just a couple of decades ago. My thoughts were partly a reaction to Ann Coulter’s long blonde tresses that we saw a little of during her visit here in Canada, and partly a reaction to Michelle Obama's casual holiday attire last summer, which included unmade hair.
Right: Michelle Obama going on holiday...No comment
Perhaps the advantage for those bygone public figures was that there were no constant paparazzi at their side, so they were not surprised while wearing inappropriate attire. But, I also think they had different expectations of how they should look.
Grace Kelly, Lana Turner, Audrey Hepburn
Look at Grace Kelly at the wheel of a convertible. I know there was a bit of hairspray that kept her locks in check, but the overall effect is of controlled dishevelment, which is, I think, much more attractive than hair gone wild. Even Lauren Bacall's longish hair was contained in some fashion. If Katherine Hepburn's curls look a little windswept, there is still an attempt at styling them, rather than letting them fall loosely all around. Audrey Hepburn opts for elegance over bohemian in this early sixties shot of her in Breakfast at Tiffanies. And Kim Novak's styled curls in Vertigo give her a sophistication and mystery that modern thrillers could never achieve in their protagonists.
What has happened to hair, and hairstyle these days? Like much of fashion, it is allowed to "do its own thing." Just as tailoring is scorned, so is hair styling ridiculed. There is also a strange tendency to let the hair grow to longer lengths, and then let it swing and sway around as it will, like a young girl's. T.V. anchoresses, still somewhat styled, go for those longer locks. It is strange to watch all that hair in the middle of serious news about world epidemics and devastating legislature.
Back to Ann, the newscaster/commentator par excellence. Like her contemporaries, her long blonde tresses are distracting, yet lovelier than most, I will admit. A grown woman (I think she's in her late forties) wearing her hair down to her waist is a little disconcerting. It gives the impression that she is uncontrolled, and uncontrollable. Perhaps that is the image she wants to emit – no one bosses her around, least of all liberals (and Muslims). Perhaps, in a contradictory fashion, it is also her way of regaining her femininity, while out in the field with the guys. “Look at my beautiful blonde hair in all its glory,” she seems to be saying. She's also clearly trying to look provocatively (her favorite word) sexy in this very unsexy field of partisan politics to get attention for her words. She may have a huge fan base (of adoring males, too), but at some level, people take her a little less seriously than she would like. She would be even more effective if she contained herself a little more, including those skimpy black dresses that she has made into her signature costume. She has made herself into a memorable and popular caricature. But, I think she could do better than that. And it could all start with changing the hair.
In any case, look at the stars of the past. Marilyn Monroe was smoldering on the screen. And her hairstyle was never out of control.