Feb 11, 2013
In typical MPB ripped-from-the-headlines fashion, I present Helen Mirren at last night's BAFTA's ceremony in London. Can this sexagenarian (not sextagenarian, I looked it up) rock pink hair or what?
Readers, I must ask: do you think unnatural hair color, still largely associated with the pop music and "alternative" style scene, is best reserved for the young, or has the world changed enough that anything goes? Please note: this isn't about what we can do to our bodies -- surely whatever we want -- but rather what works to our best advantage as we perceive it in ourselves and, by extension, in others.
Not so long ago, candy-colored or neon hair adopted by the senior set was strictly for laughs: the realm of the aging eccentric or drag queen (not mutually exclusive of course), whose way-out grooming habits were the stuff of parody.
For rock/pop stars, on the other hand, the rules have always been different. Cyndi Lauper has been associated with unnatural hair color for so many decades, it would feel like a letdown to see her look otherwise.
So too, clothing designers with punk and alternative roots (no pun intended) like Patricia Field and Vivienne Westwood.
Today, while we celebrate the rare birds featured prominently on the Advanced Style blog, is anybody actually taking styling cues from them, or are we just cheering on women like carrot-top, doe-lashed Ilona Royce Smithkin from the sidelines?
The boundary between natural and unnatural hair color isn't clear, of course. Lucille Ball sported an orangey-red rarely found in nature (though she toned it down later in life), and many women dye their hair shades that, while found more frequently in nature, are no longer natural to them, my mother included.
And then there's cousin Cathy...
What do you think, readers? While I suspect that most of you admire these trendsetters' chutzpah, is the "Manic Panic" look too outré for the real world? Assuming you like it, what holds you back from giving unnatural hair color a try, or do you already dye your hair green or pink or purple -- or all three?
Other than extreme self-confidence, what does it take to pull this off? What do you think it communicates to others (one way or the other) -- and do you care?