“Who is the blonde? Who’s the blonde? The blonde?” A swarm of men – lust or dollar signs in their eyes – clamor to know during a 1950 screening of The asphalt jungle, featuring the new Marilyn Monroe. As Joyce Carol Oates writes the scene in her 2000 novel Blond (a film adaptation by Andrew Dominik is coming this fall, starring Ana de Armas), that word hangs in the air: a metonym for Monroe’s experience of being harangued, adored and frayed to the cortex, a danger to preserve its own description “white pillowcase.”
“This blonde”, the colorist Jenna Perry said, “It’s for a kept wife.” It does not refer to the Hollywood studio system (golden handcuffs of the peroxide type) but to the tyranny of the interview. Perry is best known for her #NYCBlonde, a hand-painted, low-maintenance approach that gives clients (Chloë Sevigny, Tommy Dorfman) a longer reprieve from her new SoHo. living room.
Style codes are a weather vane. “For a minute, it wasn’t really cool to be a blonde, politically,” Perry ventures. I remember the post-2016 articles about uniform dye jobs at Fox News (which New Yorkthis is Amy Larocca called a “whiteness dog whistle”). Claudia Rankine, who co-ridden a 2018 exposure on the color of the hair, sees a “complicit freedom” in the choice to become blonde: “What happens when what one wants agrees with a form of complicity around what is valued?
This year’s two blonde poles, Marilyn and Barbie, suggest the comfort (and currency) of nostalgia but also signal a new assessment. It’s obvious that these icons have been packaged for consumption and what the costs are when women are treated like dolls and dolls like women (however, dexterous director Greta Gerwig’s protagonist might be on neon rollerblades) . Can self-awareness serve as an insulator against a caustic blonde heritage?
Formula-wise, it’s definitely a smoother road. After Olaplex launched in 2014, promising to repair disulfide (or covalent) bonds in damaged strands, a product boom followed. (Such guarantees are why quick-change artists like Dua Lipa and Kim Kardashian can flirt with platinum for an Internet flash.) Living Proof, a company based on research from MIT’s Langer Lab, brings the latest balm. high-tech: thermo-activated Triple bond complex, a weekly treatment that targets all three links. For Perry, who tested the first samples, it’s a way to “perpetuate hair,” even though the inspiration dates back decades. She predicts a comeback for bottled blondes – “and I say that with a bit of a sweat,” she adds, alluding to the upkeep needed and a possible looming recession. We may soon find ourselves with a different new and old wire star: Blondie from the punk era.