Style File: All things…Ginger Rogers’ Hair!
Maybe she is best remembered dancing in the arms of her long time dance partner Fred Astaire but she was also well known and adored for her fashion style and most notably her hair styles. Born in 1911 and having no less than 73 films to her credit, Ginger was a stella actress, dancer and singer with a wicked comedic flare, Ginger loved fashion , style and dressing up.. Putting on one of her dancing gowns, donning her hair and donning one of her famous feather capes, she said it made her instantly wan to “Turn and Twirl in it”..
What was particularly striking about Ginger was her hair, which never looked the same twice. She was also always the one to set the trend. Personally I loved that she was able to pull off so many wonderful hair styles and how the hairstyle not only changes her face it changed her whole demeanour.. Just look at the difference, you can almost be forgiven for mistaking for not recognising her. The power of a good and different hair style… See below a picture of Ginger from Kitty Foyle and then compare that to say Ginger in the infamous dance flick “Top Hat” .
Best known as a blonde, with curls or waves – this was the look she sported in most of the eight wonderful musicals she made with Fred Astaire in the 1930’s. For the most glamorous dances in the Astaire-Rogers musicals, Ginger complemented her evening gowns with a series of much-copied up-do’s, including this pleated style (Which I have to say looked smashing and difficult to replicate) which she wore to dance Cheek to Cheek in the classic 1935 musical ‘Top Hat.’
The Astaire-Rogers films were made virtually back-to-back though Ginger often crammed in other movies in-between. This meant that the same styles were in vogue from one film to the next. The following photo was taken in 1935, during the filming of ‘Follow the Fleet,’ which was released less than six months after ‘Top Hat.’ The picture shows a style which RKO Studios’ hair and makeup department christened “The Golden Plaque”, and Ginger sported it during the big romantic number ‘Let’s Face the Music and Dance’ (complete with fur-trimmed gown).
By the late 1930s Ginger had begun experimenting with a sleeker, straighter bob, which can be seen in two 1938 films; the Astaire-Rogers musical ‘Carefree’ and the romantic comedy ‘Vivacious Lady’.
Here’s another take on this late 1930s bob
Looking to be taken seriously and break the stereo type blonde bombshell dancer Ginger got her break and received the most critical acclaim when she dramatically changed her appearance for a part in ‘Kitty Foyle’, where the blonde bombshell wore her hair long and brunette. This 1940 melodrama about an unwed mother won Ginger her Oscar.
Ginger as a brunette in ‘Kitty Foyle’ (1940.) – Below:
Just a couple of years later, Ginger was favouring a straight style and a colour that was somewhere between the extremes of bright blonde and dark brunette. Here she is in 1942.
That same year, she sported curls and an up-do in the comedy ‘Once Upon a Honeymoon.’ She was only 31 at the time but Ginger’s movie career had clearly peaked: most of the roles she played after that were lesser known than her earlier parts, and the memorable hair-do’s became a thing of the past for a little while but as Style never really goes out of fashion, we still marvel and try to achieve her look today..
Most of the hairstyles (Except for the pleated braid) that Ginger sported would have been set using a great setting lotion and pin curled overnight then brushed out into the styles and shapes she was looking for. Preparation is the key. Buy your setting lotion here today! It really is the Miracle Rocket Fuel!
Although we know Ginger as meticulously groomed and styled, she once told Look Magazine that she was happiest in a “Shorts and bra outfit” She even designed her own angora bra, which she deemed wonderful to wear while relaxing in the sun.
Ginger passed away April 25 1995 but left behind a legacy of style and some amazing hairstyles for us to try and emulate.