Photography by Len DePas
Last week I was reading this post, when all of a sudden memories of my blue-streaked hair came to my mind. I’ve never done much to my hair, but in mid 90s I did the most drastic thing ever, when I decided to get some blue streaks. I remember I spent all the morning at the hairdresser’s, who had to dye my raven hair white first and then to dye it blue. It took ages, but the result was astonishing, I was so proud of it (well, my parents weren’t as proud as me, to be honest). Apart from this personal memory, I’ve always loved girls who take risks with their hair and dye it in bright colours, so here are some who have dared to go bold.
This photo is incredible: it portrays Yves Saint Laurent in the grand salon of his Parisian apartment on Rue de Babylone with the fiery-red-haired Sibyl Buck in 1995. They are surrounded by the Surrealist-period Léger painting The Black Profilee (1928) and Jean Dunand’s 1925 Art Deco brass-and-lacquer vase, among other works of art collected by the French designer. I love this pic so much because it makes Sibyl’s artificial red hair appear like another work of art, especially in relation to the red dress she’s wearing.
Sibyl is one of my favourite models ever, because she reminds me of my youth and because she represents one of the first models who didn’t conform to the beauty canons of that time. I remember she also wore a septum piercing and that was another reason why I admired her. Her unnatural red hair was amazing, especially when she wore elegant and refined outfits, the contrast was sublime.
Another celebrity who sported red hair at the peak of her career (in the iconic Girls Just Want to Have Fun video, for example) is Cindy Lauper. She sometimes dyed half of her hair yellow, too.
Franka Potente, the beautiful German actress, sported bright red hair in her most famous movie, Lola rennt (1998) by Tom Tykwer. I love that movie, so energetic and with such a hectic plot. Plus, it is set in Berlin, one of the cities I love most.
Talking of 90s movies and bright-coloured hair, Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element (Le Cinquième Élément, 1997) by Luc Besson cannot be left out. In the movie she played the role of Leeloo, an orange-haired girl wearing a barely-there white costume, who defends Earth from an attack of destruction. Am I the only one who thinks Rihanna’s stage costume at the 2009 American Music Awards is reminiscent of Leeloo’s outfit?
I’ve never been a fan of Luc Besson’s movies but, on the contrary, I love Michel Gondry. I first learnt to love his unique music videos , then I fell in love with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), starring Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey. This is for sure one of the strangest movies I’ve ever seen, so it’s really difficult to forget its complicated plot and the twisted love story between Clementine and Joel. The adorable Clementine – who falls in love with Joel twice – sports bold colours on her hair – red and blue.
As for blue hair, the reason why I decided to get blue streaks in my hair is one and only, and her name is D’Arcy Wretzky. If you were in your 20s in the 90s, I’m sure you’ll recognize the screenshot below.
Bullet with Butterfly Wings by Samuel Bayer is possibly one of the best videos by the Smashing Pumpkins, a Chicago-based band who revolutioned the world of rock with their albums, in particular with their magnus opus Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. It’s hard for me to explain what their music and that album have meant to me, it’s enough to say that my nickname comes from Stumbleine, a song from Mellon Collie. D’Arcy has never been a diva, she was extremely fascinating but didn’t try to focus the media attention on her; nonetheless, her presence on stage and in videos was captivating. The first time I watched Bullet with Butterfly Wings, I knew I had a new mission in life: get that hair colour myself.
Not many sported the same colour. The only one who comes to my mind – but she actually wore a wig in lavender – was an Italian actress.
Gina Lollobrigida played the role of Fata Turchina in the tv movie Le avventure di Pinocchio (1972) by Luigi Comencini, based on the novel by Carlo Collodi (1881).
The bright colour which has most frequently sported by celebrities is pink, probably because it reminds girls of their childhood or who knows. Gwen Stefani has ditched her trademark platinum blonde hair twice in the 90s: she sported her hair turquoise (and a scary plush matching bra) at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards, then a gorgeous pink in 2000, when the fourth studio album by No Doubt, Return of Saturn, was released.
She sported such a gorgeous colour in the lovely Simple Kind of Life music video (2000) by Sophie Muller.
It’s not coincidental that some designers have been sported hot pink hair, because this is a colour which suits creative characters: the first is Zandra Rhodes, the English artist who designed clothes for Lady Diana and stage costumes for Freddy Mercury, and who has designed costumes for important theatre productions. Her pink hair is paired by a bold make-up – bright turquoise eyes and red/hot pink lips. This is such a distinctive sign that MAC launched a collection ispired to her in 2006.
The jewellery designer Tarina Tarantino probably got inspired by Rhodes when she decided to dye her hair pink. I’ve always loved her hair, always perfectly coiffed, so shiny and thick. Tarina has a soft spot for Hello Kitty, everything sparkling and shiny and Barbie, so it’s not surprising that Mattel has produced a Tarina Tarantino Barbie doll, sporting the same pink hair colour and lots of Tarina’s jewellery.
Scene queen Audrey Kitching has got an over-the-top style, and the long curly hot pink hair is just the icing on the cake. I know most of you will disagree, but I love her nose ring and the blonde-streaked bangs.
Lady GaGa tries to make us believe she’s soooo cutting-edge and original, but not everyone can be fooled. She owes most of her style to the genius mind of Nicola Formichetti, her stylist, and to not-so-famous artists such as Roisin Murphy. It’s not strange she jumped on the pink bandwagon, but I must admit I love this colour on her hair (and her vintage Versace sunglasses, as well).
Lily Allen likes experimenting with her image and taking risks. She went pink at the 2008 Glamour Women of the Year Awards; everybody paid harsh words to this risquè on the red carpet, but I simply loved it, because pink hair looked so good on her. Another singer (or I should say THE singer, because of her stage name) who sported pink hair is Pink, of course. She started her career with very short, pink-dyed hair and stayed true to this colour for many years.
Oh, Kelis, you’re such a mess, but I love you! The pink hair-dye on the flamboyant singer has clearly gone bad, but I cannot stop looking at that fading pink. Gross, I know, but it’s like when you’re watching a car accident, you don’t want to watch, but you can’t help watching. To be honest, in 2007, when she had her hair dyed cotton pink, she looked good. The same cannot be said of her most recent hairstyle and hair colour. Some serious hair colourists to the rescue, please!
An unforgettable movie character who sported pink hair is the adorable Frenchy (Didi Conn) from Grease. This colour was the result of a hair-dye gone wrong, one of her first experiments as beauty school student. She’s the Grease character I like most, because she’s loyal, romantic and so funny. The screencap above comes just a few moments before the infamous Beauty School Dropout musical number, starring the charming Frankie Avalon.
Later, at the prom, she sported a platinum blonde updo, matching her lemon chiffon ruffled dress. Her prom mate, Doody, tells her she looks like “a beautiful blonde pineapple”. Cute!
Talking of yellow – not blonde – hair, here is Lady GaGa again, sporting fluo yellow hair, another vintage Versace sunglasses and a low-cut bustier. I must admit I like her with this colour (and I love the Rainer Maria Rilke’s verses tattooed on her arm).
Now, before closing the post, just a couple of words to these young ladies, rock royalties Kelly Osbourne and Pixie Geldolf.
I know your lives are probably not as exciting as we all assume, but please tell me why you dyed your hair lavender and silver??? Don’t get me wrong, I totally agree with women who go grey and thus break free from the colorist’s torture (sooner or later I’ll do it myself, since I’ve got lots of grey hair and I hate going to the hairdresser’s), but why do you pretend to be over 30 when you still are in your 20s? Kelly’s lavender hair is the one I like the most. She admitted Dame Edna inspired her, and she looked amazing with the hair styled in soft waves at the 18th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award party.
What do you think of bright hair colours? Would you dare to dye your hair in pink or in blue?
 If you don’t know him as a video director, it is enough to name a few of his works – Army of Me by Bjork, Protection by Massive Attack, Sugar Water by Cibo Matto, Around the World by Daftpunk, Let Forever Be by the Chemical Brothers and Ride by the Vines, to see what I’m talking about.