On the Hairstyles of Lucille Ball and Andy Warhol

It’s been said that the clothes make the man. But I think we all know it’s really the haircut and color (whether natural or not). August 6th marks not only the anniversary of the bombing of Hiroshima, but also a special merging of birthdays between Lucille Ball and Andy Warhol. And it seems like no coincidence that the two have undeniably memorable haircuts. Ball, with her fiery red Henna rinsed hair and Warhol with his bright white wig both created signature looks that the world will never forget (or at least no one currently above the age of thirty).

Often seen in black and white, the cultural consciousness still somehow new Ball was a redhead
Often seen in black and white, the cultural consciousness still somehow new Ball was a redhead
We may never have known of a time when Lucille Ball was just, as Lucy Ricardo would say, “a mousy brown.” Her entire persona was wrapped up in her orange-red hair–in spite of frequently being seen in only in black and white. Those curly locks situated atop her head gave her an edge that no average 50s woman could carry off half as well.
Warhol looks decidedly lackluster as a brunette
Warhol looks decidedly lackluster as a brunette
Before Ball went red, no one gave her the time of day. Warhol, too, could attest to changing his hairstyle changing his life. Before he donned that signature wig, he was nothing, a nobody. The second he made it his look, he became an instant New York icon (which automatically means an icon everywhere else). Warhol’s motives for changing up his appearance were, naturally, utterly vain. In his 1975 book, The Philosophy of Andy Warhol, he explains:

I thought that young people had more problems than old people, and I hoped I could last until I was older so I wouldn’t have all those problems. Then I looked around and saw that everybody who looked young had young problems and that everybody who looked old had old problems. The “old” problems to me looked easier to take than the “young” problems. So I decided to go gray so nobody would know now old I was and I would look younger to them than how old they thought I was. I would gain a lot by going gray: (1) I would have old problems, which were easier to take than young problems, (2) everyone would be impressed by how young I looked, and (3) I would be relieved of the responsibility of acting young—I could occasionally lapse into eccentricity or senility and no one would think anything of it because of my gray hair. When you’ve got gray hair, every move you make seems “young” and “spry,” instead of just being normally active. It’s like you’re getting a new talent. So I dyed my hair gray when I was about twenty-three or twenty-four.

Looking "young" for an "old" man
Looking “young” for an “old” man
Regardless of the motives behind why Ball and Warhol chose to go for such a bombastic aesthetic, both of their hairstyles are proof that a bold coif (largely centered around the hue in addition to the style itself) equates to a memorable career.

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  1. Pingback: Grandma Chic Taken to Next Level in Bushwick with Pervasive Gray Hair Dying Trend | The Burning Bush

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