Those Nifty '50s

This month's The Way We Were, sponsored by Joico, looks back at the 1950s. What struck me as we were looking through archival issues of American Hairdresser from that era was that we published a hairstyle of the month from Seventeen and a regular feature called Fashion Digest, a monthly report of style and beauty trends gathered from leading newspaper and magazine editors. It was our editor in chief's contention that magazines like Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, Mademoiselle, Glamour, Charm and Woman's Home Companion had "enormous influence on the hair and fashion trends of your customers. What they report makes for many conversational tidbits for your operators and yourself—and what they photograph is what you will be asked to recreate for your customers." Aside from the fact that she used the word "operators" instead of "stylists," her words could have been written today. The only difference is that celebrities are driving the trends now. In fact, we've got a feature in this issue on celebs who change their hairstyles more frequently than they do rehab centers. Throughout the 1950s, there were numerous ads for exercise machines and steam cabinets in our magazine, and this was long before we'd ever heard the words "day spa." In July 1953, we published our Diamond Jubilee issue celebrating our first 75 years. By then, Belvedere had already been in business for five years. (For a look back at the company's history.) Did you know that founder Walter Kiefer invented the dip in the shampoo bowl that we all take for granted today? Well, now you do. —Brett Vinovich, publisher, [email protected]

 Brett Vinovich
Brett Vinovich

1. Our Diamond Jubilee issue, July 1953

2. We suggested this hairstyle for winter vacationists, and we did it with a straight face.

3. An ad for a Belvedere shampoo bowl

4. Seventeen magazine provided a hairdo of the month for us—we kicked off 1958 with the Gibson Gamin.

5. Ads for steam cabinets (think Lucy and Ethel) were popular in the 1950s.