I’ve got a bad case of hives. Beehives! In the second instalment of The Locked Files I’m going to explore that most fabulous of do’s – the hive.
For years, when my hair was long, I would wear it in a hive of sorts. It was usually backcombed, messily pinned up with a multitude of Kirby grips and had pieces hanging about the front framing my face. I had totally forgotten that I ever used to do this until recently. Now, after my Christmas hack, my hair is getting longer and I’ve been re-visiting the look. I’m not sure if it’s really and truly to be considered a beehive though, and herein lies the problem.
How to define a hive? Are we purely talking about the narrow cones of the Ronnettes or the wider, poofier and messier Bardot? Is Patsy’s famous and fiercely immovable bouff a hive or just a French twist? Is Audrey’s hair really a hive as so many always describe it? Is there a height limit? Is there a width criteria? Essentially, what’s a beehive and what’s just an updo with volume? Well like the mysteries of the Sphinx, I’m not convinced anyone really knows. As such I’m going to use my own definition, which is; if it’s had a degree of back-combing and is pinned up with an air of ‘yeah I’m a hive, and?’ then it’s a beehive.
I think at its heart the hive is as much about attitude as it is height or form. I think that’s why I love it. I can’t think of a more kick-ass-I’m-a-woman-with-a-signature-fragrance-and-impressive-collection-of–spendy-underwear do than a hive. It’s so confident, bold and peacocking to backcomb your locks in to a huge matted nest and then stick it on top of your head like a massive sexy sign which screams, ‘GIVE ME ALL OF YOUR SK-II SKINCARE, THAT GREAT JOB OVER THERE IN THE CORNER AND HALF A POUND OF CHARBONNEL AND WALKER, STAT’. A woman with a beehive never gets told to ‘cheer up love’ by some patronising git on the street. She never gets ID’d for cigarettes when she’s left her drivers licence at home and has to get her boyfriend to buy them for her, despite being 27. But most importantly, she never, ever gets asked when she’s going to have a baby because everyone knows that the other stuff she’s’ got going on, like do the cha-cha in Monaco or being a cat burglar, is frankly just a bit more interesting. In short, a beehived woman is a woman to be respected.
The beehive itself was created at the dawn of the 1960s by Margaret Vinci Heldt. She was asked in by Modern Beauty Salon magazine to design a new style that would ‘reflect the coming decade’. It became so popular that the Cosmetologist Chicago trade association created a scholarship in her honour.
The subsequent decades saw the look falling in at out of mainstream fashion, evolving in to other styles and just generally kicking about in our lady arsenals to be pulled out in times of need.
What a do.
So here’s my homage to that entirely unapologetic and fabulous look.
First things first, let’s see how we make a hive. I stumbled across this video a few months back of Gizzie Erskine doing her signature hive on her mate Sally Hughes which I thought was pretty helpful and fun….
Also for a more detailed, blow by blow account, here’s the ever lovely Cherry Dollface with her tutorial.
Right, now we all know how to do them, lets start with those gals who began it all, the Ronnettes. They of course weren’t the only 60s girl group to sport the look, but it will forever be synonymous with them.
The 90s saw a second honeymoon for the beehive as it became rebranded the French Twist. Well if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck…The likes of Ivana Trump popularised the style and made it the power-do for women in royal blue blazers and statement gold jewlery.
The beehive seems to be constantly re-invented by each new decade. It currently remains the darling do for fashion editorials the world over, combining vintage nostalgia with luxe glamour.
Then there are of course those modern ladies who have made it their trademark look.
So I suppose the moral of the tale is that the hive can be anything you want it to be. Big, small, neat or messy. So go out there and get teasing. And if you really want, try out one of these varriations…