When we're talking about Style in the Movies and Deco design, one of the most iconic actresses has got to be Louise Brooks. She is truly the one who started it all in modern hair. Her hairstyle--the bob, as it became known--was an enormous trend during the 1920s. Known for its cheek-grazing length, slightly beveled bottom, and blunt cut bangs, the Louise Brooks bob is still one of the most recognizable and enduring hairstyles today. Its symmetry and geometry made it perfect for the Art Deco era. Even Clara Bow succumbed to the trend at the time and had her hair cut this way, too.
As most people know, Louise Brooks was one of the great silent movie queens of the 1920s. Her 1928 performance in A Girl in Every Port with director Howard (The Big Sleep) Hawks made her a star during the Jazz Age, and both she and her style became very popular with the public. Yet despite her success and being very close with celebrities like Marion Davies and William Randolph Hearst, she was not a fan of Hollywood and its "scene." She was also troubled about her career, which began to bring changes with the coming of sound. In 1930, she turned down the lead in Public Enemy with James Cagney...the "talkie" role that would make friend Jean Harlow famous. This was, in fact, the moment that became the end of Louise's career. Though it did seem somewhat tragic at the time, now the decision could be considered a brilliant move in protecting her legend. Her career remains silent.
Today images from her silent movies are still referred to again and again when women go to their hair salons. Celebrities like Katie Holmes and supermodel Linda Evangelista have also revived enthusiasm for the bob at different times...a style that is my absolute favorite because of its many variations and how it seems to be flattering on everyone. This hairstyle is another moment in history when fashion followed film...because of classic cinema--silent cinema, no less--both men and women now know the Louise Brooks bob. Much like Veronica Lake, another star with a surprisingly brief career, it is her hair that has made her immortal.
And incredible reproduction of the Louise Brooks bob and Jazz Age makeup today
Few have done the Louise Brooks bob better than Katie Holmes
who started an enormous trend when she cut her long hair
Even at a slightly longer length, it is still an incredible cut
Linda Evangelista just might be the best model in the world...
she looks incredible with every length of hair and was known for her incredible tributes to the bob
Harper's Bazaar just recently relaunched their design,
reminding me of their 1992 relaunch with Patrick Demarchelier's photo of Linda and her bob...
...and his cover images of the bob's updates in 1993, 1994, and 1995
For the best selection of silent movie classics, be sure to visit the TCM Store!