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Beehives, bobs and blow-dries

IN THE FRAME: Beehives, Bobs and Blow-dries looks at how hairstyles reflect political landscapes through time

BEEHIVES, Bobs and Blowdries is a new exhibition dedicated to the social history and cultural significance of hairdressing and hair technology making its national debut at The Civic next month.

Through this unique collaboration between curator Da- vid Sinclair, hairstylist Andrew Barton and fashion research consultant Donna Bevan, the exhibition will explore the key haistyles and technological innovations from the mid-1940s to present day, the hairdressing salon and its role as a pillar of the community and the meaning of hair as a form of self-expression.

The exhibition charts the cultural and economic shifts which influenced key hairstyles, using archival photography, advertising graphics, ephemera and historical objects from the archives and collections of L’Oréal, Unilever (TIGI, Toni & Guy, TRESemmé, VO5 and Brylcreem), Coty Inc (Wella), Sassoon, Dome Hair Products, Lambeth Archives, Wakefield Museums and Museumand: The National Caribbean Heritage Museum.

A collection of wigs supplied by Banbury Postiche and inspired by key styles in the exhibition will be exclusively styled by Barnsley born celebrity hairstylist Andrew Barton. The exhibition begins by exploring the changing nature of the salon in post-war Britain and the new products and hairstyles that were on offer at the time, including sets, permanent waves, beehives and the rising popularity of wigs and hairpieces.

a budding hairstylist proudly holds her diploma from L’Institut de Coiffeur, London, in 1966

It then looks at the rise of the celebrity hairdresser na- tional hairdressing competitions in the early 1960s. From this era, the cultural impact of Teddy Boys and Teddy Girls are all examined, while the hairstyles and natural hair remedies of Caribbean migrants and the first black hair salons are illustrated as well.

It also looks at the impact of ‘Black Pride’ and the politicisation that hair had on the style choices of women in the United States and Britain are demonstrated, alongside the current trends of wearing natural hairstyles.

Since the 1970s, the way that fashion trends have been dictated have changed greatly; subculture, street style, the alternative press, the internet and social media all have a much greater say and influence on hairstyles than any individual school or stylist. The exhibition closes with a look at current technologies, gender neutrality in hairstyling, the ways that artists and designer incorporate hair into their work and a footnote on salons of the future.

Curator David Sinclair, said: “We are delighted to be work- ing collaboratively with Andrew Barton and Donna Bevan to curate this culturally significant exhibition, Beehives, Bobs and Blowdries for the gallery at The Civic.

“It will be a major highlight of the year. The observational approach will provide the discussion regarding the importance of the role of the hairdresser, charting the advancements in design, evolution and creativity and also looks forward to the future of hair. Working with a wealth of partners on the project has brought a fantastic insight to a very exciting project.”

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