Rainbow-Haired Girls

Last week I was reading this post, when all of a sudden memories of my blue-streaked hair came to my mind. I’ve never done much to my hair, but in mid 90s I did the most drastic thing ever, when I decided to get some blue streaks. I remember I spent all the morning at the hairdresser’s, who had to dye my raven hair white first and then to dye it blue. It took ages, but the result was astonishing, I was so proud of it (well, my parents weren’t as proud as me, to be honest). Apart from this personal memory, I’ve always loved girls who take risks with their hair and dye it in bright colours, so here are some who have dared to go bold.

This photo is incredible: it portrays Yves Saint Laurent in the grand salon of his Parisian apartment on Rue de Babylone with the fiery-red-haired Sibyl Buck in 1995. They are surrounded by the Surrealist-period Léger painting The Black Profilee (1928) and Jean Dunand’s 1925 Art Deco brass-and-lacquer vase, among other works of art collected by the French designer. I love this pic so much because it makes Sibyl’s artificial red hair appear like another work of art, especially in relation to the red dress she’s wearing.

Sibyl is one of my favourite models ever, because she reminds me of my youth and because she represents one of the first models who didn’t conform to the beauty canons of that time. I remember she also wore a septum piercing and that was another reason why I admired her. Her unnatural red hair was amazing, especially when she wore elegant and refined outfits, the contrast was sublime.


Another celebrity who sported red hair at the peak of her career (in the iconic Girls Just Want to Have Fun video, for example) is Cindy Lauper. She sometimes dyed half of her hair yellow, too.

Franka Potente, the beautiful German actress, sported bright red hair in her most famous movie, Lola rennt (1998) by Tom Tykwer. I love that movie, so energetic and with such a hectic plot. Plus, it is set in Berlin, one of the cities I love most.

Talking of 90s movies and bright-coloured hair, Milla Jovovich in The Fifth Element (Le Cinquième Élément, 1997) by Luc Besson cannot be left out. In the movie she played the role of Leeloo, an orange-haired girl wearing a barely-there white costume, who defends Earth from an attack of destruction. Am I the only one who thinks Rihanna’s stage costume at the 2009 American Music Awards is reminiscent of Leeloo’s outfit?

I’ve never been a fan of Luc Besson’s movies but, on the contrary, I love Michel Gondry. I first learnt to love his unique music videos [1], then I fell in love with Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004), starring Kate Winslet and Jim Carrey. This is for sure one of the strangest movies I’ve ever seen, so it’s really difficult to forget its complicated plot and the twisted love story between Clementine and Joel. The adorable Clementine – who falls in love with Joel twice – sports bold colours on her hair – red and blue.

As for blue hair, the reason why I decided to get blue streaks in my hair is one and only, and her name is D’Arcy Wretzky. If you were in your 20s in the 90s, I’m sure you’ll recognize the screenshot below.

Bullet with Butterfly Wings by Samuel Bayer is possibly one of the best videos by the Smashing Pumpkins, a Chicago-based band who revolutioned the world of rock with their albums, in particular with their magnus opus Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. It’s hard for me to explain what their music and that album have meant to me, it’s enough to say that my nickname comes from Stumbleine, a song from Mellon Collie. D’Arcy has never been a diva, she was extremely fascinating but didn’t try to focus the media attention on her; nonetheless, her presence on stage and in videos was captivating. The first time I watched Bullet with Butterfly Wings, I knew I had a new mission in life: get that hair colour myself.

Not many sported the same colour. The only one who comes to my mind – but she actually wore a wig in lavender – was an Italian actress.

Gina Lollobrigida played the role of Fata Turchina in the tv movie Le avventure di Pinocchio (1972) by Luigi Comencini, based on the novel by Carlo Collodi (1881).

The bright colour which has most frequently sported by celebrities is pink, probably because it reminds girls of their childhood or who knows. Gwen Stefani has ditched her trademark platinum blonde hair twice in the 90s: she sported her hair turquoise (and a scary plush matching bra) at the 1998 MTV Video Music Awards, then a gorgeous pink in 2000, when the fourth studio album by No Doubt, Return of Saturn, was released.

She sported such a gorgeous colour in the lovely Simple Kind of Life music video (2000) by Sophie Muller.

It’s not coincidental that some designers have been sported hot pink hair, because this is a colour which suits creative characters: the first is Zandra Rhodes, the English artist who designed clothes for Lady Diana and stage costumes for Freddy Mercury, and who has designed costumes for important theatre productions. Her pink hair is paired by a bold make-up – bright turquoise eyes and red/hot pink lips. This is such a distinctive sign that MAC launched a collection ispired to her in 2006.

The jewellery designer Tarina Tarantino probably got inspired by Rhodes when she decided to dye her hair pink. I’ve always loved her hair, always perfectly coiffed, so shiny and thick. Tarina has a soft spot for Hello Kitty, everything sparkling and shiny and Barbie, so it’s not surprising that Mattel has produced a Tarina Tarantino Barbie doll, sporting the same pink hair colour and lots of Tarina’s jewellery.

Scene queen Audrey Kitching has got an over-the-top style, and the long curly hot pink hair is just the icing on the cake. I know most of you will disagree, but I love her nose ring and the blonde-streaked bangs.

Lady GaGa tries to make us believe she’s soooo cutting-edge and original, but not everyone can be fooled. She owes most of her style to the genius mind of Nicola Formichetti, her stylist, and to not-so-famous artists such as Roisin Murphy. It’s not strange she jumped on the pink bandwagon, but I must admit I love this colour on her hair (and her vintage Versace sunglasses, as well).

Lily Allen likes experimenting with her image and taking risks. She went pink at the 2008 Glamour Women of the Year Awards; everybody paid harsh words to this risquè on the red carpet, but I simply loved it, because pink hair looked so good on her. Another singer (or I should say THE singer, because of her stage name) who sported pink hair is Pink, of course. She started her career with very short, pink-dyed hair and stayed true to this colour for many years.

Oh, Kelis, you’re such a mess, but I love you! The pink hair-dye on the flamboyant singer has clearly gone bad, but I cannot stop looking at that fading pink. Gross, I know, but it’s like when you’re watching a car accident, you don’t want to watch, but you can’t help watching. To be honest, in 2007, when she had her hair dyed cotton pink, she looked good. The same cannot be said of her most recent hairstyle and hair colour. Some serious hair colourists to the rescue, please!

An unforgettable movie character who sported pink hair is the adorable Frenchy (Didi Conn) from Grease. This colour was the result of a hair-dye gone wrong, one of her first experiments as beauty school student. She’s the Grease character I like most, because she’s loyal, romantic and so funny. The screencap above comes just a few moments before the infamous Beauty School Dropout musical number, starring the charming Frankie Avalon.

Later, at the prom, she sported a platinum blonde updo, matching her lemon chiffon ruffled dress. Her prom mate, Doody, tells her she looks like “a beautiful blonde pineapple”. Cute!

Talking of yellow – not blonde – hair, here is Lady GaGa again, sporting fluo yellow hair, another vintage Versace sunglasses and a low-cut bustier. I must admit I like her with this colour (and I love the Rainer Maria Rilke’s verses tattooed on her arm).

Now, before closing the post, just a couple of words to these young ladies, rock royalties Kelly Osbourne and Pixie Geldolf.

I know your lives are probably not as exciting as we all assume, but please tell me why you dyed your hair lavender and silver??? Don’t get me wrong, I totally agree with women who go grey and thus break free from the colorist’s torture (sooner or later I’ll do it myself, since I’ve got lots of grey hair and I hate going to the hairdresser’s), but why do you pretend to be over 30 when you still are in your 20s? Kelly’s lavender hair is the one I like the most. She admitted Dame Edna inspired her, and she looked amazing with the hair styled in soft waves at the 18th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Academy Award party.

What do you think of bright hair colours? Would you dare to dye your hair in pink or in blue?

[1] If you don’t know him as a video director, it is enough to name a few of his works – Army of Me by Bjork, Protection by Massive Attack, Sugar Water by Cibo Matto, Around the World by Daftpunk, Let Forever Be by the Chemical Brothers and Ride by the Vines, to see what I’m talking about.

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39 comments

  1. I had mine red, pink, white, blue, brown and black. Being in brighton in the middle 90’s helped, cos you can find easy to dye and not too long lasting bright colors everywhere.
    The first day i met my future husband (i was 17) i was in my bathroom crying on an hair disaster. It had to become black (with natural body shop’s henné) while it become green instead.
    My mum, being unable to use the hair cut machine, made my hair 3mm long as well.
    I was young. It was fun! 🙂

    1. Hey, I didn’t know you dyed your hair pink! Ohhh, what a lovely colour for hair. You’re blonde, so I guess it’s easier for you to dye your hair in all those amazing bright colours!

      But what do you mean by white? Did you really dye your hair white or was it just platinum blonde???

    1. Sorry but I’m not planning to write about that movie anytime soon 😦 But I agree with you: I enjoyed the costumes so much! Colleen Atwood, the costume designer Burton chose for Alice, is one of the best ever! If you want to know a little bit more about the costumes in this movie, you can read this short but nice post.

    1. Cute in her cosplay costume and turquoise hair!

      Far from being something crazy invented by Dunst, this video has been directed by Takashi Murakami (the man with the costume of giant daisies), who is behind many Vuitton collections. Bape’s designer Nigo is also featured in the video, and I can see a precise net of collaborations here.
      Murakami has worked for Vuitton, and Pharrell Williams has worked for Vuitton, too, and with Nigo as well. I’d love to know if there’s a commercial or artistic project behind this.

  2. Ah D’Arcy. I simply adored her. Unlike you, I didn’t dye my hair, i just cut it like her. For a certain period, some people even told me that we looked alike, and I immediately knew I was talking to somebody interesting, ’cause they knew her

    1. She was talented and beautiful, in years when the artists’ image was not planned by stylists and when you could really do it your own way. I’ve always admired D’Arcy because she wasn’t a diva and never wanted to be such. I’m so sorry she has retired from the music business, but I guess it’s not easy to accept how things have changed since the 90s.

    1. Hi!
      Your blog is awesome, love it!

      I’ve added a link to the post about the Pink Ladies on your blog. Hope it’s ok.

  3. If I’ll ever have the guts to do it, then I’d love to have my hair dyed either hot pink or a very intense shade of purple.
    What puts me off is that I’ve seen amazing hairdyes fade in a couple of weeks and looking very washed out, and then you’d have to go around with white-yellowish for months, not so nice!
    I must admit I am not so daring when it comes to dying my hair- I have had copper red highlights when my hair was still very long, then I dyed chemically once- it was supposed to be a crimson-ish red but the colour changed after a couple of weeks and became boring rust orange. Also I once used henna to make my hair coffee brown/ almost black. I always say I’ll buy Lush black/blueish henna (yes, I want to be Mia Wallace!), but I wonder when I’ll get around to do it- as you can see, I’m not very daring with hair colours; perhaps a bit more with haircuts! 🙂

    1. I can totally get the idea of white-yellowish hair, because the same happened to me. After some time, I decided not to have my blue highlights done, and the result of the faded (then missing) colour was white hair, streaks of white hair, not so nice when you’re in your 20s 😉

      Oh, I’ve never tried the black/blueish henna. What is your experience with henna?

  4. Hai dimenticato una delle nostre blue-haired girls: Stefania Rocca in Nirvana. E peccato ci siano poche donne con il coraggio del verde. Ho cercato su Goggole ma l’unica celeb che compare è Miley Cirus.
    Ma se vogliamo una nota di dada ci sarebbe anche Wanna Marchi per l’arancio. Immancabile per farsi due risate.

    1. E’ vero! Chissà perchè la Rocca in quel film proprio non mi è venuta in mente!

      No, no, sulla Marchi soprassediamo, va ;P

  5. Sybil Buck all the way, I admired her so much during my turbolent years, as you said she brought that unconventional red hair into haute couture, and an unforgettable (and ugly I got to admit) passion for hairy armpits 😉

      1. Yes, gross…I do remember an interview while backstage for an a-list catwalk, all the other models were questioning her about those (awful) hairy armpits, everybody seemed horrified by that vision ;D

      2. Ewwwww O____o I don’t know why, but she wasn’t the only one who had this passion. In the 90s some things looked wild and – in some twisted way, I must admit – even hot.

  6. Già dato…
    rosso pomodoro,comprai la tinta,che mi feci in casa,in un negozio di Via Torino a Milano che ora non c’è più,ricordo l’attimo di indecisione fra il rosso e il blu.
    Mia madre si arrabbio non poco.

    A.

    1. Ma come hai fatto a fartela in casa? Hai decolorato i capelli da sola e poi fatto la tinta rossa? Oppure sei già chiara, quindi hai potuto saltare la fase della decolorazione?

  7. Dovrei vergognarmi ad entrare nel dettaglio,ma oramai per me sei come un’amica…

    Essendo mora di padre sardo,urgeva decolorazione,ma decolarere l’intera testa mi sembrò un impresa troppo ardua.
    Mi stinsi delle strisce di capelli,a modi colpi di sole,dividendo i capelli in ciocche abbastanza precise come avevo visto fare in salone,e con l’aiuto di un’amica feci più passate di DECOLORANTE PER PELI SUPERFLUI (sì hai capito bene) in modo da raggiungere una schiaritura decente,e poi tinsi il tutto…Certo il risultato non fu certo dei migliori,il colore in teoria avrebbe dovuto essere simile a quello qui sopra di Sibyl Buch,però il mio era a strisce (-:

    A.

    1. Ehehehehe, gli esperimenti con i capelli sono sempre memorabili! Beh, secondo me sei stata molto coraggiosa a voler fare tutto da sola, io non ce l’avrei mai fatta (specie la decolorazione!). Ma i capelli ce li avevi corti o lunghi? Io lunghissimi, ancora più di adesso 😉

  8. Tu lo chiami coraggio…io incoscienza adolescenziale!.
    Ho quasi sempre avuto i capelli lunghi non oltre le spalle,una fortuna visto il lavoro lunghissimo di decolorazione home-made.
    Chissà che belli i tuoi lunghi scuri e mossi,capisco però un pò impegnativi da tingere in toto…
    A.

    1. No, tingerli tutti sarebbe stato un suicidio, e poi l’effetto Fata Turchina (o peggio, Puffetta) sarebbe stato assicurato. Ho tinto solo delle meches blu e devo ammettere che in contrasto con il nero erano meravigliose!

  9. I personally love the silver/white colored hair (although I would say that the last pictures did kind of a bad job at representing it). I am 21 years old and have been wanting to dye my hair white/silver for quite a while. Even though it may resemble the gray hair I will have when I am older, I think it is such a beautiful color. It remind me of some unique fantasy character or something. I often see older women whose roots are growing out so I can see their natural white, and if it is pure enough I really sometimes think they shouldn’t dye it. It is such a unique and beautiful color! I can’t wait to dye my own hair this color.

    1. It’s true that white hair reminds of fantasy characters, but I also think you like white hair so much because you’re young. When you are older and have real white hair (just like me), I can assure you it is not so charming anymore, because it reminds you of the fact that you’re growing old!

  10. btw.. as for lady gaga, she has never claimed that she was “cutting edge” or “original”, that has been the media and people like yourself have define her the way you want. I cant believe she has been around for this long and morons like you still do not grasp what she is trying to do… i am not going to sit here and explain it to you, but you should know this… your fucking hair color does NOT define who you are, and the risks you take. That is foolish. My hair has been every color of the rainbow and i am one of the most boring people you could ever meet. I just liked those colors.. Gaga may have people to help her with her look, we already know that because practically every interview she has done, she has mentioned the team that helps put her look together, which by the way, happens to mostly consist of her friends from new york… i dont care if you want to let stupid trends dictate the way you live your life, however, i would suggest to look at your inner self and focus on the bettering of the self. ps.. if anyone is reading this, i am not a creepy stalker who knows every detail of gagas life, i actually just read a book about her called, and dont quote me, the fame. it is very good and gave me a good insight of why she dresses the way she does, and acts the way she does as well.

    1. I don’t know why I’m writing this reply, since your rude comment only deserves to be ignored. You may not be a Lady GaGa’s stalker, but you surely lack of manners and your insults prove it.

      Maybe you didn’t take your time to actually read the post: I wrote about celebrities with bright hair colours from a trendy point of view, and I didn’t judge anyone from the colours of their hair. I don’t agree when you say that your hair colour doesn’t define the risks you take, because when you dye your hair – say – green, you’re making a statement about you, and I think this cannot be denied. Our ‘drag’ – the way in which we dress, do our make-up, style and dye our hair – speaks of us more than million words, and you can’t deny it either. I’m not saying that one should judge a book from its cover, but please don’t pretend that one’s look is not a form of self-expression, you surely know that it is.

      As for Lady GaGa, I don’t need to be taught about her story of social outcast as a teenager because I’ve heard her telling it an infinite number of times. She’s extremely self-conscious: everything she does and wears is carefully planned with the intention to provoke a reaction in the audience. Her only goal is to become as famous as possible (I’ve read her interviews, I know what I’m talking about), and she knows that – if she wants to reach that goal – her talent is not enough. For this reason, she has decided to focus on her looks and on her thought-provoking performances. I give her credit for her choice: if she had based her career on talent only, she wouldn’t have gone so far. The problem is that she’s not as original as everybody thinks she is, and this is because people have got a very bad memory: most of her fans don’t know who Roisin Murphy or the late Wendy O. Williams are, so they can’t understand Lady GaGa’s image is often a total rip-off of these (and many other) artists. I guess the people who help her with the styling (Haus of GaGa and Formichetti) should have been more creative, especially at the beginning of her career, when the (apparent) “homage” to other artists was so annoying.

      As for this sentence (“i dont care if you want to let stupid trends dictate the way you live your life, however, i would suggest to look at your inner self and focus on the bettering of the self”), it sounds so bitter and gratuitous. What do you know about me and my life? Please don’t speak of what you don’t know and please stop being so judgemental. If this reaction of yours has been caused by a few lines I wrote about Lady GaGa, a few lines where I expressed my opinion about her (I live in a country where the freedom of expression is still a right, what about you?), I think you should look at your inner self and try to figure out the reason of such bitterness.

      This said, you’re more than welcome to comment on this blog, but insults are not. Thanks.

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