It’s official. The pink hair trend is no longer confined to the punk genre and is moving into the realm of mainstream fashion today. The movement toward pink hair has not gone unnoticed by the fashion press who documented its growing appearance on runways and magazine covers over the past year. Particularly noticeable would be an understatement when describing the March 2011 cover of Vogue magazine that featured Lady Gaga in a bobbed pink wig looking, well, looking a bit weird, but fashionable nonetheless.
An 18-year-old model named Charlotte Free has been leading the charge back toward rosy pink hair, as she has been spotted at several different major fashion shows sporting tresses in various shades of pink. Trendsetting musicians such as Nicki Minaj, Ellie Goulding, Avril Lavigne, and John Cale have all been spotted sporting pink-hued hair lately too. The particular shade of pink that seems most popular this year seem to be a bit less neon in nature than seen in the recent punk past, and more of a modern, muted pink hue. Although both the current embrace and the relatively recent past punk acceptance of pink hues might seem rather avant-garde, a look back at the pages of the fashion history will quickly reveal that long before the birth of punk music, pink hair had already enjoyed the status of a mainstream fashion.
Many Americans alive today can remember a grandmother who proudly wore pink hair in the 1950s, and even by then the trend was already several decades old in this country. Looking back to the United States in the early days of World War I, the United Press published an article in 1914 that quoted fashion author Margaret Mason as saying that pink hair was “fashionable perfection." The same author also declared “If you would be the pink of perfection, you certainly must have pink hair" in a Milwaukee newspaper a year later. A few years later at the 1939 New York World’s Fair, the noted European hair stylist Leo of Vienna backed up the style when he admonished the ladies that “Pink hair is perfect for evening because women should always look flower-like.”
Just prior to World War II in 1940, the Associated Press reported that the famous Hollywood makeup artist Max Factor came to the startling conclusion that intermarriage between blonds and brunettes would eventually result in a new breed of pink-haired people. Following the war into the early 50s, the use of new and sometimes very artificial-looking hair shades including bright pink were promoted as the next big thing in fashion. If your grandmother was a fashionable lady of those times, it is highly likely she may have once had pink hair herself and seeing it on today’s youngsters might only lead her to conclude that “Pink hair must be back again.”