The evolution of your favourite hairstyle
The contentious bob has come a long, long way. Not many know but it was Polish hairdresser, Antoine de Paris—the world’s first celebrity hairdresser, better known as ‘Monsieur Antoine’—who was said to be inspired by Joan of Arc when he introduced the bob way back in 1909. Much later, prominent celebrities and actresses like Coco Chanel, Louise Brooks, Irene Castle among many others, all experimented with this short style adding characteristic twists to it, making it their own. In many ways, the humble bob came to stand for the bold, brazen woman who, as her locks were shorn off, almost metaphorically cut herself off from old rules of femininity and fashion. But the bob would later fade away, only to return years later with its many variations.
While it was a popular style worn by nurses during the war time in 1920s for practical and hygiene reasons, it was around this time that many more women embraced the look; interestingly, by flocking to men’s barber shops! This sudden change stood for the new unconventional woman, the bold diva, who’d step out to earn a living and engage in athletic pursuits and more. ScottishAmerican singer, Mary Garden put it simply when she said, “Bobbed hair is a state of mind and not merely a new manner of dressing my head.” The bob took many a shape in the form of the severe Shingle cut and the Eton Crop right until the 30s and 40s, after which it started to become softer again. By the 60s, legendary hairstylist Vidal Sassoon re-styled the bob with geometric, edgy, angular looks. Coiffed, punky and buzzed bobs ruled the 70s, while the 80s saw the emergence of the textured style. By the 90s, the bob no longer stood for liberation but rather, became an outlet to express one’s personal style with everything from curls, waves and even bangs doing the rounds.
We’re back to now, where messy lobs (read: long bobs), wavy bobs and graduated bobs, have become uber-popular thanks to their youthful, chic and sexy styles. It’s interesting to note how, like any cycle, the recent bob has once again come to symbolise feminine grace with its longer lengths, hair accessories and the like. From red carpets to the streets, women can’t seem to get enough of the bob. And while even today in the movies, the most unconventional and liberated character may sport a bob, it is again a narrow-mind that is quick to form a judgement about the wearer. Whatever the case may be, the bob has reappeared time and again in various forms, and why shouldn’t it when it flatters absolutely any type of face? Be it brazen or cutesy, the bob has managed to become a timeless ally. What we’re wondering is, where’s the bob going to go from here?