Sunday, 1 January 2012

A Good Life on Christmas Eve. Trying to out-do Margo Leadbetter!

Creating a seventies look for Claire with Kamani Lomas on Christmas Eve
We have a very special guest blogger today, Claire Violet Hanley, whose enthusiasm for the 1970s made our Christmas Eve at Vintage Hair Lounge supremely retro chic. Over to you Claire.....

"Today I will dress up as Betty from Frank Spencer", I posted up on facebook a few months back. My friends are used to such eccentricity, as there is no era of history in which I haven't revelled. From Anglo Saxon bog woman, medieval peasant, Tudor skivvy, Regency dancer to 1940s make do and mend. I've dressed up in all the costumes and collect them avidly. But expert film industry standard hairdos and makeup is Vintage Hair Lounge territory and something I cannot recreate on my own (my idea of a beauty routine being occasionally bothering to comb my hair!)

Michele Dotrice (Betty) and Michael Crawford (Frank) in seventies sitcom Some Mothers Do  'Ave 'Em
Sharon, who has worked on film sets such as the The Young Victoria, amongst others, can recreate expert styles and glamour which put my feeble make up attempts to shame. When I saw Sharon and the team on Christmas Eve I was ready for the blazing colours of the seventies as part of my new folkie “I’d like to sing just like Joni Mitchell” vibe, (as you do!). The 1970s have a special allure to me, having been born just at the end of them in 1978. Rolling in cornfields, Tom and Barbara, Margo and Jerry, big hair, Carry On films, bright blue eye shadow, techni-colour maxi dresses “I’m sure it’ll come back into fashion” I repeat in vain to my sceptical friends.

Full of enthusiasm, Sharon needed no persuasion and went with it. She had inspiration books at the ready; one of them opened up on the Carry On page.

Barbara Windsor in the iconic Carry On Camping
I had in my hand a black and white photo of my auntie Maggie from 1972 and pointed at her ribonned auburn ringlets. “Big hair for you!”. Sharon beamed and her enthusiasm infiltrated even my burgeoning locks, which grew bigger by the minute in rollers under the dryer.

Claire channeling Karen Carpenter
By the time the hairdo and makeup was completed I was effervescing with excitement and changed into two different 70’s dresses even though I had no event to attend that evening! It was Christmas Eve and most people were thinking about turkeys. I was quite happy not to be! I only wished I’d brought some pineapple chunks and cheese on sticks for a Mike Leigh style retro party... and perhaps a prawn cocktail. Next time perhaps! The best Christmas present ever. I think even Margo would have been envious at the decadence and glamour of my Christmas eve!

Thanks to Kayleigh, Kamani and Sharon.

Thankyou so much to Claire for making our Christmas Eve so special. We couldn't complete this retro piece without the last word from our very own seventies icon, Karen Carpenter, singing Close To You. Wishing everyone a very Happy New Year, love and peace for 2012.


  1. I remember it well :) Lovely finished result! You even co-ordinate with the wallpaper ;)

  2. Great results and what a lovely way to spend Xmas Eve.

  3. Claire looks absolutely stunning - it must help to have such bountiful hair to work with in the first place

  4. ah Claire best not to follow fashions set yer own trends the wide eyed Joni Mitchell wonder suits you entirely, your hair looks wonderful as befits your beaming smile. Always had a crush on Bettie, not Margo though, Barbara though tis another matter. Keep smiling jest like that . . . Walter O ps Me Mum's relation writ Some Mother's Do 'Ave Em . . .