Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Vintage Glamour from the Inter War Years

Maddy Hobbs, photography by Scott Chalmers

I've been asked many times when talking about "vintage hair" what do I define as "vintage". In our Vintage Hairstyling For Camera Course which has been successfully running for a year now, training people from all sections of the hair and makeup industry (and many complete beginners), we set our technical training against a backdrop of the twentieth century for a very good reason. The birth of modern commercial ladies' hairdressing comes from the post First World War years, when fashions for hair became shorter and more dramatic as women's roles in society changed and a new world order offered the prospect of increased emancipation for women. "Vintage hair" we therefore see as part of this fundamental change; prior to the First World War, hairdressing for women was a distinctly more private activity and perhaps stylistically can more aptly be described as "period hairstyling". When hair got fashionably shorter for women on a mass scale, the hairdressing industry began to boom, challenging the initial dominance of barbers in cutting women's hair, and embraced the exciting new technology and science developing for more electrical devices and chemical processes to style and permanently wave hair.

1920s inspiration

And now the unrelenting vintage revival is focussing back on this wonderful glamorous era of the inter war years for new inspirations of classic iconic looks and Vintage Hair Lounge took the opportunity to launch our new photographic studio with a stunning 1920s/1930s collaboration with photographer Scott Chalmers and Mother and Daughter costume duo Katy and Veronica from

1920s with modern twist inspiration

The aim of the shoot was to create an authentic looking 1920s and 1930s image, as well as more modern 1920s inspired fashion type image. So we scoured our resource library for a true sense of lighting, styling as well as the way women from the period tended to pose for photography in these bygone eras, and similar themes came up over and over again, enough for Katy Leicester to start sourcing the right kind of clothing, accessories and props for each of these set ups.

1930s inspiration
Scott Chalmers started his work of preparing his lighting set ups and planning for his post-production edits, and you can read more about how he achieved the looks here.

Styling for black and white photography brings new challenges as more attention is paid to texture and tone rather than colour. To show the comparison of the colour styling to the final black and white images, it's worth taking a look at the fun behind the scenes film of the shoot, Keep Young and Beautiful. 

Gloria pin curl set Maddy's hair to begin with and dressed out into soft waves for the 1920s set. Makeup was kept pale and matte with a light dusting of cheek colour. Eye colour was kept to brown and a blue/green colour which would read better in black and white than actual black, and capture the light well on the eye lids when photographed. A dark plum lip colour (Noir Red from Besame) was used, and eyebrows darkened and shaped in the era style.

Maddy Hobbs, photography by Scott Chalmers

We then moved on to the 1930s set and for the "looking in the mirror" shots we wanted to create a suitable hairstyle that would keep the flatness reminiscent of the period, but give detail from behind. Gloria's angled twist in the neck worked perfectly, and set off the vintage wedding dress neckline and antique hair decoration perfectly. More sculpting and shading was added to the makeup to work with the lighting for this set up.

Maddy Hobbs, photography by Scott Chalmers
Finally, we went in to the more fashion oriented set, and Gloria wetted down the hair, added gel and combed in finger waves, losing the back of the hair in a small knot, which helped give the illusion of typically 1920s short hair, reminiscent of the severe "Eton Crop". Eye makeup was then made more heavy and shaped in a more modern style both on the lids and under the eye. More severe sculpting and shading was added to the face and lip color was changed to a red-plum tone (Cherry Red by Besame) at the same time as creating a more modern shaped fuller lip, in contrast to the earlier "Clara Bow" type lips. Finally, to add some theatrical touches to complement the beautiful Ostrich feather cape worn for this set, feathered false eyelashes were used. Scott's first edit from this set, as seen above, allows some of the colour to filter through from the hair, the eyelashes and the lips.

Vintage Hair Lounge is now delighted to be offering a vintage makeover photoshoot package with Scott Chalmers and able to work with clients to create authentic photographic set ups for all post 1920s eras. For more details see here.

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