Timeshift takes a loving and sometimes horrified look back at the iconic hairdos and 'must have' haircuts that both men and women in Britain have flirted with in the past 60 years.
Browse content similar to Bouffants, Beehives and Bobs: The Hairstyles That Shaped Britain. Check below for episodes and series from the same categories and more!
MUSIC: "Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow?" by The Shirelles
# Tonight you're mine completely... #
We've dyed it...
teased and tousled it.
We've confined it with lacquer,
and we've let it flow free.
It's the one part of our identity we can change in an instant.
# But will you love me tomorrow...? #
Yet a hairstyle can be cruelly ephemeral, a passing trend,
and in Britain, we've had plenty of those.
From hair-raising up dos
and geometric bobs,
to sleek cuts and bubble perms.
Each generation has had its own hair heroes,
who brought with them a string of must-have creations.
We'd all go out on weekends dancing,
and all you'd see coming towards you was this great mass of hair!
I used to love my Afro.
I had an electric Afro comb, which not many people had at the time,
so every time I used it to comb my hair,
it made it even bigger.
Hairdos could go from the sublime
to the ridiculous.
They united us,
and tore us apart.
It's their dirty appearance!
To have these...filthy things walking about the street
is most objectionable.
Through our hair, we've reflected
not just who we are, but how we live.
In the 1950s, progress was seen as, you know, rockets and the moon,
and all this new technology.
In a sense, then, hairdressing reflected that,
with all this... SHE HISSES
Little else captures the essence of Britain better than our hair.
And, looking back, many of us understand our past,
not by what headline was splashed across the newspapers,
but by who was wearing what hairstyle.
As much as there was, you know, a fashion revolution
and there was a style revolution,
there was very definitely a social revolution.
The haircut was absolutely suited
to the social-economic situation at the time,
which is probably why they were so successful,
because they just reflected what was going on.
# So tell me now
# And I won't ask again
# Will you still love me tomorrow?
# Will you still love me tomorrow? #
In the years during and following the Second World War,
Britain struggled on through difficult times.
MUSIC: "Zou Bisou Bisou" by Gillian Hills
But, through all the austerity,
there was one man, a glittering figure,
who made it his mission that, despite everything,
we would have the most exquisitely coiffured hair.
And he went by the name of Raymond.
WOMAN GASPS: Who was Raymond?
He was, allegedly, rinsing,
in the War...
..women's hair with champagne.
# Zou bisou bisou, zou bisou
# Zou bisou means that I love you... #
I always knew when somebody really did go to him.
It was a cut that was...
and in such a way cut that you couldn't actually...
You couldn't do anything else with it, that was it.
Raymond Bessone was born and grew up in Brixton,
but his outsized personality, complete with faux French accent,
brought some much-needed Continental glamour to '50s Britain.
His Mayfair salon became THE place
for the great and the good to get their hair done.
He always wore carnations dyed to go with his suit.
That was Raymond - he was brilliant. A brilliant publicist, brilliant.
And Raymond made full use of the media of the day
to bring his hair creations to the Great British public.
A chat show on the BBC in the very early '50s.
And they used to have a hairdresser come along
and do a hairstyle, which was very nice, and it was Raymond.
And a couple of times, he had a little bit of hair
he didn't know what to do with sticking out,
so he'd like push it and put it there,
and the girl who was commenting, "What is that, Mr Raymond?"
"Oh," he said, "I'll call that a teasy-weasy."
And after that, that's how his name became Teasy-Weasys,
cos he had teasy-weasy there, and teasy-weasy there,
and teasy-weasys all over the place.
And he used to come out on the stage in this magnificent cloak,
with his jet-black hair with a white streak in it, and he used to be
accompanied by his dogs, which he'd actually dyed this season's colours,
and he gave haircuts the most fantastic names -
things like the champagne bubble cut.
So he really, I think, revolutionised even just the selling
of hairdressing to women, it became incredibly glamorous.
This crimper extraordinaire would bestow on the world of hairdressing
its greatest gift...
The voluminous but smooth style of the bouffant
quickly captured the hearts and heads of British women.
If you didn't have a bouffant hairstyle,
you weren't one of the crowd, sort of thing, you know.
We'd all go out on weekends dancing,
and all you'd see coming towards you
was this great mass of hair for everybody!
When I got married, I had a cottage loaf.
I don't expect you know what that is, do you? No.
Where your hair is bouffant and came in at the ears, then it came out.
The bouffant was bold, confident and modern,
expressing the optimism of the '50s.
Fashion became all about perfection, good grooming,
looking very neat and tidy.
It was all very controlled, you know.
When you look at the couture that's coming out of Paris with Dior's New Look,
it's all about very restrictive undergarments,
and I think hair, in a way, became quite restricted.
You know, you'd get women's hair being permed,
and the perm was a foundation to a very groomed and set look.
Women got into the practice of going to the salons
at least once a week to have their hair done,
so it's very much about being almost the perfect housewife.
# Hey, little girl
# Comb your hair, fix your make-up
# Soon, he will open the door... #
The decade saw an explosion in the number of plush new hair salons
catering to a growing breed of affluent women.
A leading figure in this world was Rose Cannan, formerly Evansky,
who owned one of the most prestigious salons.
My clientele existed of
I even had a judge,
women like that.
Rose drew on all the latest Continental innovations
to get the best results for her clients.
There was an advertisement of two hands in the advertisement
with rollers on each finger.
Eureka! That was it! That's what I want!
Well, in the end, they weren't big enough for me and I made my own,
bigger, out of metal chicken wire or something.
But it wasn't just society ladies that wanted the coiffured look.
Women everywhere flocked into the salons.
The status of going to the hairdresser's was quite important
to that age group in their late 20s and 30s.
It's seen as typical of a generation
that reached adulthood in the Second World War,
progressed into the 1950s
in their late 20s and 30s,
and continued to follow that perming, fairly tight curls
and set and styled each week.
And, for many women, the weekly visit to the hairdresser's
is a ritual that has continued throughout their lives.
I come here every Friday, and Lynne does my hair.
I've been coming here since I was a teenager,
and I'm 76 now.
I used to come in once a week and have it done at the salon
and then I'd do it myself after, you know,
I could manage quite well after.
MUSIC: "Higher and Higher" by Dusty Springfield
As the '50s moved into the '60s,
a desire to reach for ever dizzying heights seemed everywhere.
And a new generation of baby boomers pushed the bouffant
to its limits, taking it higher and higher.
# Your love is lifting me higher
# Than it's ever Been lifted before... #
There's almost a fork in the road in hairstyling according to age.
Younger generations started to experiment with these bigger hairstyles,
lacquered, high heels, stiletto shoes,
almost as a move away, this new generation that was seen
as different from that slightly older generation.
And the most hair-raising hairdo of them all was...
I think the beehive is the pinnacle of big hair.
There were iconic beehives and iconic women celebrities that wore them,
such as Dusty Springfield.
They created this look of a kind of husky sexiness,
so there was a real sexuality to some versions of the beehive.
Big hair became more streamlined,
and more kind of conical
and I always kind of think
that it was interesting that, at that time,
when you looked at American styling,
certainly with the space race when you had rockets,
it was almost like the faster the space race became,
the more conical and more aerodynamic the hair actually became,
until it couldn't actually get any more.
MUSIC: "A Thousand Stars" by Kathy Young and The Innocents
# A thousand stars in the sky
# Like the stars in your eyes
# They say to me... #
To reach these heady heights,
the now notorious technique of backcombing was essential.
If you don't backcomb, then you'll find it harder
to get the bigness in the hair. By backcombing,
you're just creating texture,
and it's what gives you the base
for what you then kind of wrap over.
The more you backcomb, you create more and more volume to the hair.
I could see why some women might
feel more powerful with bigger hair.
I'm not sure I do.
Big to me is party hair.
Big hair's like going-out hair.
MUSIC: "Sophisticated Boom-Boom" by The Shangri-Las
But great things cannot be achieved by backcombing alone...
..and '60s advances in science were on hand to help stylists
build a rock-solid foundation to sculpt with.
Hairspray had been developed as a result of the war in the Pacific,
because it was...you know, aerosols were invented for mosquito sprays.
So you could actually make your hair stay up.
# Now stand up straight and tall
# Like your back's Against a wall... #
They were very strong lacquers,
so it made the hair nice and stiff.
And it could last for two or three days without it being combed.
Some people employed a more DIY method
to achieve follicular greatness.
We'd have sugar water.
Dissolve some sugar in some hot water, spray it on your hair
and then it would set like concrete.
So if the wind blew, it didn't make any difference.
You could tap it, sort of thing.
I used to employ a couple of Continental boys,
who were wonderful hairdressers but they'd tell their customers,
"You go home at night and you do not touch your hair.
"And if you touch it, I will never do your hair again."
So they'd sit there, sleeping, frightened to death all week,
you know, in a hair net,
because if they touched their hair, it would all come down.
Some of the girls used to keep theirs up for a week
and put pillows underneath their necks
so that the curls didn't touch the pillow.
But I couldn't manage that.
I think I aim for perfection.
They're about solid shapes, a lot of the vintage hairstyles,
so it's not about moving your head and the hair moving, too.
I don't want it to move, ever.
I want to be in the wind or the rain
and I want it to almost be like a hat.
And it wasn't just women who were pushing their hair to its limits.
Men had been experimenting too,
teasing it up and slicking it back to sport ever more ambitious styles.
INTERVIEWER: What variety do you offer in the salon?
We offer every possible variety it's possible to give to a gentleman.
For instance, we offer style cutting,
tinting for men, permanent waving...
In fact, a complete service, manicuring, as well.
Are they going to become more hair-conscious than women?
I should say so.
'A DA is a Boston.'
The haircut straight across, which they do now instead of tapering,
and then it was all brought into like a...
Can I say duck's arse?
Yes, like that, and then the comb was put down there,
and that's what they called a DA.
Then, of course, you had the Perry Como,
which was the flat tops and straight parting
and just touching the tops of the ears.
Most important of all was...
-'..fails to rise to the occasion.
'And in emergencies like this, when it just isn't long enough,
'a switch of false hair is thrust into the breach.
'Not everyone's cup of tea, but this is no time to split hairs.
'To the customer, it's a mark of distinction.
'To other folk, it looks like an elephant's trunk.
'Which is just what it is called.
'We repeat, the elephant's trunk.'
It was the height of having artificiality,
of visible artificiality
as a status symbol expressed through the hair.
Leaving your hair in its natural state would have been considered
really quite old-fashioned
and, you know, not really the thing to do.
The over-inflated hairdo reflected this post-War era perfectly.
It was living proof that anything was possible
in this bright new world.
But soon, it looked as if the world of big hair
might come crashing down.
# I'm looking for a love maker
# I ain't looking For no heartbreaker... #
One of the leading crimpers of his generation decided enough was enough
and embarked on a one-man campaign against the bulbous high barnet.
Vidal Sassoon wanted to turn the world of hairdressing on its head.
Well, actually, we don't consider ourselves hairdressers
in the true sense.
I prefer to be called a designer.
He wanted to cut hair, rather than dress it up into complicated up dos,
yet some women would need much persuading.
You're not going to cut my hair forward, are you?
Well, Linda, when you came in,
I noticed that your hair was curled back this way.
Yes, I like it to go back, it's more flattering,
-I'd rather it went back from there.
-Why do you want it to go back?
-Give me one good reason.
-It gives me height up there.
-So all you're worried about is height, really.
Not that it goes back or forward, but height.
Yes, but I've always had it going back.
We don't go with what you've always had!
In 1963, the film actress Nancy Kwan was brought to Sassoon's salon.
Dubbed 'The Chinese Bardot', she was at the height of her success
and it was with some trepidation
that she agreed to let Vidal cut her hair.
She had five feet of amazing dark hair.
And for a new film she was making at that time,
they wanted to give her this kind of new look,
so they called up on Vidal to cut Nancy Kwan's hair.
When she came into the salon, she brought her manager with her,
and apparently played chess while Vidal cut her hair off.
Vidal says that, as he took the first snip
and cut off about three or four feet of hair,
a single tear kind of ran down her cheek as he was doing it.
But then, in the end, he phoned his friend, Terence Donovan,
the photographer, called him up, they ran round to his studio,
photographed Nancy Kwan,
and within a week or so,
it was on the cover of more or less every magazine.
It was revolutionary.
It really put hairdressing,
British hairdressing, on the map, in a way, for ever.
Sassoon was cutting hair
as precisely as a tailor cutting the sharpest suit.
He saw that hair could be cut
in the same way as cloth, this fashionable cut,
that those two things kind of came together in this amazing moment.
But this moment was the result of years of research and development,
and Vidal's geometric style reached a pinnacle in the five-point cut -
a look that became famous thanks to a mutually beneficial partnership
with fashion designer Mary Quant.
Essentially, in 1963, Mary Quant came to Vidal
because, obviously, Mary Quant was the mini-dress
and the sort of geometric shape,
she wanted haircuts that reflected that,
so Vidal cut her hair into this shape.
So, essentially, the shape is cut from the centre of the fringe,
down into the corners, onto the cheekbone.
Then a line is cut back along the line of the cheekbone
to the top of the ears.
As the shape works into the back, there are two more points,
one on either side and one in the centre,
and the lines here directly accentuate the cheekbone.
And no matter which way the hair fell,
the whole shape was designed to fall back into this original shape.
From profile, the graduation that sits into the back
directly accentuates the roundness of the head,
which, again, balances with the heaviness of the fringe.
For me, the five-point was so revolutionary
because it was one of those movements where it was a complete sea change
with what was happening before.
Before, hair was stiff, lacquered into place
and had, like, a solid kind of look to it.
What Vidal did, and what we still continue to do,
is to cut hair to bone structure,
to allow the hair to move very freely with the wearer,
but, essentially, it still has that shine,
movement, tactile quality that,
even though this shape was pioneered over 50 years ago,
it still looks resolutely modern today.
When I first went to New York
and saw Mies van der Rohe's Seagram's Building,
I looked at that and I thought,
"Jeez, hairstyling is so way behind."
I mean, you know, we're still doing our curls and our waves
and our bits and pieces, and we're not in...
We're not working with up-to-date, modern design.
I felt this very, very strongly. I think now we are.
The move away from hair setting to precision cutting
required a new way of working.
And Vidal was able to draw on a recent innovation
pioneered by Rose Evansky -
One day, I was walking down Brook Street, in Mayfair,
and there was this barber, and he was blow-drying
a man's hair on the front.
This was unheard of in the world of women's hairdressing,
where hair was always set and then dried off under a hood drier
to create a nice, solid hold.
But Rose wanted a softer effect.
A regular client came in and I said, "Let's do something different now."
And I picked up the brush like the barber did,
and the hairdryer, and I started...
You were actively working with the hair much more in its natural state,
so you were removing the moisture from the hair
to make it fit onto the head, as opposed to artificially enhancing
the hair to make it do something it didn't do naturally.
The blow-dry really took off when one of Rose's clients,
Claire Rendelsham, the editor of Vogue,
noticed Rose's new way of finishing off hairstyles.
And, in her inimitable way, she said,
"Rose, what ARE you doing?"
And she pissed off out of the...
I said, "God, I've done it now."
And that evening, there was a piece in the paper,
and Barbara Griggs named it "blow wave".
My husband went mad because we had just bought 20 new hood dryers.
Well, they were all redundant now, weren't they?
It took on like wildfire.
In a sense, it was as revolutionary as the cut,
the way the hair was finished.
I think the bob is essentially timeless
because it can suit any face shape,
it can suit any hair texture,
it can be cut at many different lengths,
it can be layered, soft, dark,
And I think, for that reason,
it's become the most popular hairstyle of the modern age.
This is our modern version
of the classic Nancy Kwan bob.
The whole idea of hairdressing had been redefined,
but in some ways, Sassoon was simply harking back to an earlier era.
Another decade when the economy briefly boomed
and women cut off their hair.
The Swinging '60s simply picked up where the Roaring '20s left off.
When we have the bob revival in the 1960s,
it's almost the same as it was in the 1920s.
I mean, the fashion silhouette actually is pretty similar -
that sporty silhouette with a flat chest,
a hemline that's on the knee.
So, in fashion terms, the bob kind of made a sense.
A further reason the bob made such a big impact in the '60s
was that over the years, our hair, like our society,
had got stiffer and stiffer.
Now, just like us, it was finally starting to break free.
And for the first time in years, it wasn't stuck in place like concrete.
The timing of it was perfect, because, as much as there was
a fashion revolution, there was a very definitely a social revolution.
You know, liberation, the pill,
sexual freedom was all around at that time.
To actually be able to run your fingers
through another person's hair was completely unheard of,
because it wasn't possible before.
Not only did it break hair free from the bonds of lacquer,
women were now liberated from their weekly trips to the salon
and hours of cooking under a dryer.
We kind of emphasise the sexual freedom,
but there were no more freedoms that women were pushing for.
You've got the beginnings of early feminism,
with people like Betty Friedan, and then of course, later on, Germaine Greer.
And I think the bob for many women was kind of representative
of 1920s fights for equality,
but also the fights for equality which were going on in the 1960s.
In no other era could a young working-class girl
with a boy's haircut have taken the fashion world by storm
Twiggy was instantly catapulted to fame when she had her hair cut
into a radically short Eton crop by Leonard's of Mayfair.
Twiggy's haircut has become incredibly iconic
because it transformed her career.
I mean, she went into the hairdressing salon
with kind of a stringy, mid-length bob,
because she was a mod, and she was persuaded to cut it off
into this beautiful, almost little '20s Eton crop.
A Vogue editor saw the photographs in the window
that were taken by the great photographer Barry Lategan.
Twiggy's career was transformed overnight by a haircut.
It's just so beautiful.
It is almost like when you see great design...
..you can't imagine adding anything to it to improve it.
It's kind of in and of itself.
It just, if you did anything else than what it is, it would ruin it.
A lot of young women liked that look,
but, of course, you have to be like Twiggy, which is very thin,
very elfin like, very beautiful with, you know, Bambi eyes,
and I wouldn't think it was particularly widespread,
because it suited so few women, but it was definitely,
in terms of an iconic 1960s image, very important.
Mayfair hairdressers like Leonard and Vidal Sassoon had played
a key role in pushing Britain to the forefront of global fashion.
But not all of the decade's iconic haircuts
came from the pages of Vogue.
One of the most popular arrived courtesy of the small screen.
Ready Steady Go! featured a young presenter called Cathy McGowan
who quickly became a fashion icon.
Her hair was cut by Leslie Russell.
What we were always trying to achieve with Cathy's hair
basically was a long bob.
Making the hair look shiny and natural,
and not too formed all the time.
There were lots of women out there that were ironing their hair,
certainly of a certain age,
were ironing their hair to get that straight look,
which wasn't sort of possible at all at the time in any other way.
I mean, I subsequently learned how Leslie did it cos I used to stand and help him.
Leslie Russell and Keith Wainright
set up their own salon, called Smile, as a deliberate challenge
to the established hair emporiums of Mayfair.
The reason for Smile was to try
and get away from the regular kind of hairdressers,
which was very high fashion.
Certainly at Leonards it was, in Mayfair.
And we wanted, really, to open a salon we wanted to go to ourselves,
and that meant doing men and women in the same room, lots of pop music.
And our influence, I think, was this real change in the '60s,
which some people now call street fashion,
where it was influenced as much by music,
and the kind of clients we were doing at the time
needed not the high-fashion haircut, more relaxed hair.
MUSIC: "Can't Explain" by The Who
But not everyone understood this new relaxed approach.
Bless him, my dad -
I'm a council house boy, we were very working class -
he used to have a look at Ready Steady Go! and see Cathy's hair
and see Sandy Shaw's hair and he'd say thing like,
"Well, you haven't done much with that, have you?"
He couldn't really cope with this dead straight hair.
"No, Dad, of course I haven't(!) Just to make it shiny, OK."
MUSIC: "I'm Free" by the Rolling Stones
The '60s had seen a haircutting revolution take place.
# I'm free to do what I want
# Any old time... #
Though not everyone signed up to it and abandoned their bouffant.
If you look at the celebrities of the time,
you can really see that split.
So you've got the geometrics, people like Mary Quant.
You've got Sandy Shaw,
who's got that kind of Sassoon, almost Nancy Kwan Bob.
And then, you have people like Dusty Springfield, who have the bouffant.
There were two looks going on at the same time.
In a way, you could choose which one you wanted to go for.
In the '60s, hairstyles reflected a growing freedom.
Women could choose whichever path they wished to follow.
But men were also making choices,
and they weren't going down quite so well.
MUSIC: "Are You A Boy Or Are You A Girl?" by The Barbarians
ARCHIVE: 'Long-haired boys.
'Well, I've got one, and I wish to hell he'd get it cut.'
'I reckon it's unhealthy
'because it collects a lot of dust and all that.'
'Tell you the truth, I can't tell one from the other.'
'I think it's disgusting, disgraceful and effeminate.'
'Put a skirt on 'em and I'd go out with them.'
The boundaries of hair are such that,
whenever one sex crosses into what's
considered the terrain of the other,
a moral panic ensues.
So, in the 1920s, where women cut their hair short,
they were seen as moving into a form of masculinity.
The same thing happens in the 1960s, but the opposite.
When men begin to grow their hair long en masse,
it seemed to be moving into female terrain.
And I remember this clearly.
I remember my father being outraged that young men
were growing their hair long, and he used to say,
"What happens if I go into a pub and start chatting up a blonde
"and it turns out to be a bloke?"
I thought that was so funny on so many levels,
because he shouldn't be chatting up women anyway
because he was married to my mother!
The yet-to-be-famous David Bowie
spearheaded a campaign against long hair prejudice.
PRESENTER: A 17-year-old, Davy Jones, has just founded
the Society For The Prevention Of Cruelty To Long-haired Men.
Who's being cruel to you?
Well, I think we're all fairly tolerant,
but for the last two years, we've had comments like, "Darling,"
and, "Can I carry your handbag?" thrown at us.
I think it's just had to stop now.
And I think we all like long hair.
We don't see why other people should persecute us.
You see, a lot of people can't tell the difference
between a man and a woman, can they, if you've got your hair that long?
Well, that's ridiculous.
If the stage has got to the point when you can't tell either sex
by a few inches of hair, I think it's a pretty poor show, don't you?
This wasn't the first generation of young men
to push the boundaries of public acceptance.
As early as 1960, a group of fashion renegades
took on the good people of a small Cornish town.
# Want to hear more Then listen to me
# It's all about the troubles In old Newquay
# Cos it's hard times in Newquay
# If you've got long hair
# Well, you move in to old Newquay
# Then you pitch your tent Down by the sea
# Along come the law And they move you away... #
I can see my old tent there, with a flysheet made from a parachute.
And my National Health glasses with Elastoplast sticking them together.
# Try to get a job To drive away the blues
# Everywhere you go They stand and stare
# Can't employ you Cos you've got long hair... #
Initially, friends of mine had gone down to Cornwall,
in 1958, I think it was,
and I just simply followed them down the following year, in '59.
It was a bit like a secret society, really.
If you saw somebody who looked vaguely a bit different,
then you'd immediately speak to them.
And, although we had quite longish hair and everything,
we were quite OK and able to work in hotels with no problem, you know.
It wasn't until the following year, 1960,
when that documentary was filmed, when lots more people showed up
and it started to get a bit too much.
-If they're not employed in the hotels and just wandering
-around the streets, they still offend you?
It's their dirty appearance.
It's absolutely, er, against the general
normal appearance of Newquay, which is quite a clean resort.
And then to have these...filthy things
walking about the street is most objectionable.
I don't want to be hard on the council and the local people,
because they didn't really understand.
-They think we're doing it to be noticed.
He says, "Aren't you just doing this to be noticed?"
And I say, "No! No, I'm not." But, of course, I was!
With me, the long hair thing becomes a fetish.
It was initially because I felt very inadequate
and I thought, well, I look a bit different,
people might notice me more.
An egotistical thing.
And I guess I just cling on to the past, really.
I suppose I'm still that very naive, simple young man
trapped in a body of a 74-year-old, I suppose you could say!
MUSIC: "Gimme Shelter" by The Rolling Stones
By the late '60s, long flowing, natural hair for both sexes
became an essential requirement for dropping out.
The hippie movement was that you didn't actually do any...
You know, it was completely against hair colour, hair cutting,
you know, your hair was almost like a flag of rebellion, almost.
This natural look upset not only the more conservative amongst
the population, but it also worried those in the tonsorial business.
A lot of British hairdressers were genuinely frightened
that they would not be operating much longer because so many young women
and young men were growing their hair long, they weren't getting it cut,
they weren't interested in going to the stylist.
But the long-haired look spread beyond the anti-fashion brigade
to a group once renowned for their sharp looking hair.
I was a mod in the '60s,
and although the sideburns were quite long,
the hair was short or back-combed up.
It wasn't really until I got sort of late '60s
that I started growing my hair.
And everybody around me, all my friends, at college
and other acquaintances, just guys started to have long hair.
And mine was naturally curly, and so, it just started to grow.
It wasn't rebelling at all, really. I think it was more like fitting in.
Because men had long hair, I think just everybody had long hair,
so you weren't rebelling at all, you were going along, which was fashion.
To achieve the look people like Tony wanted,
you still needed a professional.
Hairdressers everywhere were able to breathe a sigh of relief.
In the 1970s, the sort of long-haired,
natural hippie look becomes tamed by hairdressers.
You get that feather cut, it was called a shag in America,
and it becomes very, very sexy.
The feather cut became the style of choice
for all men in pursuit of hair heaven.
MUSIC: "Every Picture Tells A Story" by Rod Stewart
# Spent some time feeling inferior
# Standing in front of my mirror
# Comb my hair in A thousand ways... #
It was commonly known as a shag, or a budgie.
I was involved doing the haircut,
so that's why it was called a budgie, as far as I was concerned,
because that what's most people were calling it.
The layered cut became an instant hit when it was featured
in Budgie, the TV drama series starring Adam Faith.
But, I mean, I think that was from Manchester to Macclesfield
or wherever, you know, everybody kind of wanted that.
When you think of '70s sort of TV heroes,
they were quite sort of macho, but they had hairdos.
Whereas now you think of maybe Daniel Craig,
and he would never even think about his hair,
it's just short back, military haircut and that's it off.
Budgie, obviously, used a bit of a round brush and flicky and... Sort of thing.
-Straight up, working man - how do I look?
And a man like Budgie didn't go to a traditional barber.
He went to a new-fangled unisex salon, like Smile.
We used to do quite a lot of men's highlights,
which ten years before would have been, "You don't do that," you know.
So, that whole thing had broken down of...
I think the word now is androgynous, but...
Men didn't... They weren't worried about looking slightly effeminate.
We used to have beads and things. It was a massive changeover.
In just a few years,
long hair for men had gone from being anti-fashion to de rigueur.
MUSIC: "I Walk On Gilded Splinters" by Marsha Hunt
And a similar thing happened to another style
born out of the natural hair movement.
It, too, caused a revolution.
When Marsha Hunt appeared in Vogue magazine at the beginning of 1969,
she immediately became an important hair icon.
That shot that Patrick Lichfield took of Marsha Hunt, where she is nude
but she has this crowning glory of Afro...
It manages to exoticise black women, but at the same time it reminds you
of the natural hair and the natural beauty.
It's the Afro in full glory, untamed, flowing locks.
It created a real stir in people's minds,
because it was suddenly a shock to see a black woman
with this full head of hair,
because I think in those days people believed our hair wouldn't grow.
The Afro signalled a new era,
one which celebrated the natural quality of Afro hair.
MUSIC: "To Be Young, Gifted And Black" by Bob & Marcia
# To be young, gifted and black
# Oh, what a lovely Precious dream... #
For years, the Afro-Caribbean population
had been straightening their hair to follow mainstream fashion.
People would wear their hair firmly styled
and achieve a bouffant hairstyle as well.
Back in those days, especially with my mum's generation,
if they were going to go to something really posh
or a good do, they either wore a wig
or they straightened their hair.
It was just the done thing in those days.
It was almost like losing part of your own cultural identity,
because they were straightening their hair to look more English,
although they weren't and couldn't be.
But, I mean, even when I look at old photographs now,
I've got one of my mum in a cocktail dress
and her hair is all straightened and it's just...
That wasn't her natural look,
but that's how they felt they had to present themselves.
Britain was mirroring what was happening in America,
where wearing an Afro became a powerful symbol
for those engaged in the Civil Rights struggle.
The leading figures of the movement saw hair as deeply political.
We're told that Angela Davis and Stokely Carmichael,
on their travels to Africa, had actually seen the Afro being worn
and realised that this was something that could all be part of
the black power struggle and movement,
and decided to start wearing their hair natural.
And that was the start of the natural movement,
where people decided it was liberating.
There was a real sense that, you know,
constantly putting all of these products in
and looking like people who...
Or a community that was denying you your own civil rights -
it absolutely made sense to not look that way.
The growing cultural importance of the Afro was no more clearly evident
than when it was adopted by one of the most successful pop groups in the world.
The Supremes had always favoured pristine bouffants,
but in 1968, they made a strong statement.
One of the things that's really important to think about
when we assess the visual importance of the Supremes is that
we mustn't freeze them in that whole sort of Baby Love period,
because by the time we get towards the end of the 1960s,
what you're seeing is a real embracement of Afrocentricity.
# You think that I don't feel love
# But what I feel for you Is real love
# In others' eyes I see reflected
# A hurt, scorn Rejected love child... #
On the cover of that album, they weren't standing
shoulder to shoulder and looking out towards you.
They weren't wearing evening wear, they were wearing waistcoats,
they all had Afros and, especially in the song Love Child,
they're narrating what their audience is going through,
as opposed to giving them a vehicle for escape.
But the political potency of the message would gradually become diluted.
It became a fashion statement,
and I sometimes wonder and I think of the early years of me wearing an Afro,
I didn't really quite understand why I was wearing it.
I was wearing it because it was a look, it was fashionable,
it looked nice, I was a hairdresser,
people wanted to come and get an Afro and I wanted to wear an Afro.
I used to love my Afro.
I had an electric Afro comb, which not many people had at the time,
so every time I used it to comb my hair, it made it even bigger.
You just had to hope it wasn't a windy day, because an Afro
on a windy day, when it's pushed to its limits, just looks a bit naff.
The appeal of the Afro soon reached out to the wider community.
What happens in the early 1970s is that the political associations
of the Afro are completely defused
by black entertainers like Michael Jackson.
You know, it becomes part of celebrity culture.
A lot of men and women wanted that volume,
no matter what race they were.
I've had white friends who said to me at the time
they permed their hair because they wanted to wear an Afro
and wanted to use the Afro pick, they wanted to use an Afro comb
because along with the Afro went an Afro comb.
And this led to one of the most notorious episodes in our shared hair history -
# Play that funky music, white boy
# Play that funky music right... #
Here was a hairdo that appeared to unite,
not just different races, but different genders.
The sleek cuts of the '60s became a distant memory,
as the nation rushed to celebrate the curl,
be it natural or artificial.
One of my favourite looks, I think, is the perm.
My wife and I were on holiday in Italy and I was stood by a beach,
and I had huge great flared trousers
and I had this highlighted curly perm.
I used to love my curly perm.
And you do feel good when it's first done.
You feel a bit of a pillock when you're sat in a shop
with rollers and stuff in your hair, obviously.
What you made sure you never did was you never went to the hairdresser's at the same time as your boyfriend,
cos seeing him in curling rods -
that could alter the relationship for ever.
When I had my first perm done in the late '70s,
I remember having to try and find an Afro comb
in which to then treat it myself.
So there was this sudden joining together of things
that were the staple of the black hairdressing industry
then feeding into sort of ordinary hair salons in Catford.
My sister had a bubble perm.
She used to wear a bubble perm with a rather smelly Afghan coat,
and she used to listen to Horses by America.
# I've been through the desert On a horse with no name
# It felt good to be out Of the rain... #
The perm took Britain by storm,
but achieving the optimum look wasn't all that easy.
The only problem was you had to grow your hair
for a year to have your hair permed,
then you had it permed, and you had to perm it tighter
cos it would drop after a couple of weeks a little bit.
So it dropped after a couple of weeks and you loved it,
and then about a month later it had dropped out,
but you couldn't have it permed again until the whole perm grew out,
so you kind of spent a year, for about a month of hair Nirvana.
MUSIC: "Mr Blue Sky" by ELO
So what prompted a large proportion of the male population
to endure this trial by curler?
Two words -
He went to Hamburg in Germany to play football.
We have a salon near Hamburg, and he came into the salon
and wanted this Kevin Keegan perm, as it became known.
So we did it.
It was, er... It was a moment, definitely.
# Mr Blue Sky, please tell us why
# You had to hide away for so long
# So long... #
But, when Keegan joined Southampton, his manager, Lawrie McMenemy,
was worried that he wasn't scoring any goals,
so he sent him along to his own hairdresser, Trevor Mitchell,
to work a bit of hair magic on his new signing.
Kevin hadn't scored a goal for about three weeks,
and Lawrie McMenemy, who was the manager of the team,
I used to do his hair, and he said,
"Would you cut Kevin's hair for me and make him score?"
When he came in, it was all long
and you could hardly see his eyes, sort of thing.
And, of course, while they're running along or sweating, rain,
it's getting in their eyes, and so anyway, what we did,
we cut the sides off short
and the mullet they called it, I think.
But he was so pleased with it, and he said, you know,
"You must have a ticket to come up and watch the game."
Anyway, I sat with his wife and he did score his first goal.
MUSIC: "So You Win Again" by Hot Chocolate
This is actually a picture of Kevin Keegan having his hair done.
You can see by the picture the long hair at the back
just above the shoulder.
They had a little bit of weight on the front there,
shorter on the top, and then he had the angled sides,
which didn't have a perm in it.
But that was the difference between the ladies' perms
and the men's perms.
And then, of course, everyone was copying his haircut, as well.
Not that they came to me, but right through the country.
The classic combination of mullet and perm was a winning one
and many, many sportsmen followed in Keegan's footsteps.
Over the coming years, no football pitch would be spared
and the game became renowned for its crimes against hair.
It would be an age until another figure finally came along
to re-write the rule book and show bad hair the red card.
-# He's so fine
# Wish he were mine... #
David Beckham has been showing off his latest hairdo.
In his time, he's worn it floppy, cropped and shaven.
Now he's gone mohican. His previous cuts have started trends.
David Beckham harnessed the immense power of football
to re-imagine what men's hair could be.
Whether you love him or loathe him,
and I think a lot of us maybe love him at the moment,
cos he does look great, he's been really responsible
for a huge advance in the way that young men think about their hair.
When you're in front of the media, people look to you as a style icon,
and that's how we do develop some of our fashions.
Somebody is going to come out wearing something very different,
very avant-garde, very striking,
then we all look at it and think we want that.
He made great hairstyles popular, like the fin,
the shattered mohican, you know, his little samurai double ponytail.
Even now he's rocking that kind of '40s Hollywood thing,
and I think, in terms of hair, he's been amazing.
In David Beckham,
sporting prowess met fashion sense in a particularly unique way.
But, though he remains a one-off,
his career showed footballers that to get ahead in the Premier League,
you need to stand out from the crowd.
If you look at football or boxing ten years ago, mad, stupid,
mad hairstyles. I wouldn't even leave my house like that.
It's nuts, all unshaven, bushy, you know, slicked to the side.
And now it's all changed.
It's all about how you look, what you're wearing.
So they turn to barber Daniel Johnson
to give them their own distinctive look.
Now I'm doing most of the premier clubs in the Premiership,
the England squad,
some of my clients are, like,
anyone from Mario Ballotelli,
A lot of the boys who rock up, they rock up I'd say
two, three times a week, mainly before the games.
I might get a phone call. I have to go to the hotel,
or I might have to leave the country and do a haircut.
It could be from Dubai, London, Hertfordshire,
Uxbridge, Manchester, Newcastle...
I'd say it's more important than the game.
Funnily enough, when I actually cut my clients,
believe it or not, they actually score goals.
Daniel's barbering skills are in high demand,
and he isn't alone.
In recent times, more and more men
are turning to barbers rather than haircutters.
And the cutting edge look for today's hipsters?
Well, it's the short back and sides.
I think it's always when people
feel that masculinity is in somewhat of a crisis that short hair comes in.
The short back and sides has got a really long history,
and in fact it's first called "the ordinary".
By calling a haircut for a man an ordinary, it suggests that
you're an ordinary bloke if you have an ordinary, nothing weird about you.
But if you go beyond short back and sides and grow it long
or something, you're a bit odd, you're not ordinary any more.
Men's hair had to be not thought about,
because anything other would be considered vain,
and vanity was obviously something which was associated with women.
I guess the triviality of femininity -
you know, it's women who do all that hair stuff and fashion stuff.
You know, men are out to work doing the important stuff.
And I think we're moving to a similar thing now,
but the short backs and sides now are very Edwardian.
They're nostalgic short backs and sides accompanied with beards.
And that, clearly, to me is a response to recession.
You know, it's this idea that we're in a massive economic chaos,
we don't know what's round the corner, we need real men to get us out,
none of these footballers with their silly textured hair.
We need proper haircuts.
It's interesting that that look's accompanied with
very nostalgic menswear, as well.
The sort of hunting, shooting and fishing thing,
looking as if they've stepped out of 1910.
Their fathers have still got their shattered mohicans,
so you've young men looking older than their own fathers.
Heritage becomes big when people are uncertain of the future.
The global recession is still happening now, so I think
when it's like that people feel more secure looking back.
And, just as men are retreating into the past,
today's women are also resorting to the spirit of an earlier age,
except they're choosing a far more glamorous route.
The arrival of a phenomenon known as the blow-dry bar
in many ways heralds a return to the world of the hair salon
of the 1950s, where styling was more important than the cut.
Women can choose from a menu of styles,
and get a completely new look without a hair on their head being cut.
We do half-an-hour appointments, so things have to be quick
and they have to be in and out,
and we have to achieve that result really, really quickly.
The fact there's no scissors in there, I think that's
actually what makes it exciting for women to come in
and have that half-an-hour time of looking and feeling great.
I'm all about big hair.
Especially when I go out, I like to have my hair looking massive, loads of body.
Towards the week I'm not bothered,
but at the end of the week definitely lots of volume.
Unlike in the old days, hair isn't glued together with lacquer.
Women want flexibility.
They want to be able to change their looks constantly,
and that is why I think there's this resurgence of styling.
But styling as of now.
I get my hair blow-dried twice a week.
I get it done at the end of the week for the weekend
and then kind of mid towards the beginning of the week for the weekdays,
so it's always looking nice.
So, for some women, a weekly visit to the hair salon
is back on the agenda, as it was in the '50s.
But these are very different times.
There seems to be a cyclical approach to austerity
and then glamour, and then austerity, then glamour.
And I think we're slap-bang in the middle of austerity,
but at the same time what is so very important about not appearing
to be a reflection of your sort of financial times
is to visually escape it.
Why not make things bigger? Get the sequins out.
There has to be something where people feel that,
at times of financial frugality,
that if they are going to spend something, it's got to be worth it.
MUSIC: "Love Power" by The Sandpebbles
Hairstyles are central to how we see ourselves,
but also absurdly throwaway.
By definition, they're always changing.
In the post-war era, we pushed all the boundaries,
and we came together with the unisex look.
Today, though, it appears our journey may have gone full circle,
and men and women have once again gone their separate ways.
But for how long?
-# We've got love
# It's the greatest power of them all
-# We've got love
# And together we can't fall
-# Sometimes we're up
-# Sometimes we're down
# But our feet are always On the ground
-# We always laugh
# Don't have to cry... #
Subtitles by Red Bee Media Ltd
It is said that the average woman gets through around 30 hairstyles in a lifetime, with some changing their look entirely every 15 months. Timeshift takes a loving and sometimes horrified look back at the iconic hairdos and 'must have' haircuts that both men and women in Britain have flirted with over the past 60 years.
And it's some journey... from the meringue-like confections of Raymond 'Teasy Weasy' via the geometric 'bob' cuts of Vidal Sassoon, stopping off to take in the 'big hair' heyday of bouffants and beehives, and not forgetting the mullet, the feather cut and the ultimate 'bad hair day' look of 1970s perms.
Our hair is the one part of our identity we can change in an instant and which speaks volumes about who we are, where we've come from and where we're going. Today, young women are revisiting hair fashions of an earlier generation - big hair and blowdrying are back in demand, whilst many young men sport Edwardian 'peaky blinder' short back and sides.
Narrated by Wayne Hemingway.