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New Civic exhibition tells the story of hairdressing through the ages

New Civic exhibition tells the story of hairdressing through the ages supporting image

Pictures from a competition in Blackpool in the early 1960s. Copyright: Leslie Francis Archive

Barnsley celebrity stylist Andrew Barton helps explore the cultural roots of our crowning glory

Beehives, Bobs & Blow-dries is a new exhibition dedicated to the social history and cultural significance of hairdressing and hair technology making its national debut at The Civic, Barnsley in February 2018.


Through this unique collaboration between curator, renowned hair-stylist Andrew Barton and leading fashion research consultant Donna Bevan, the exhibition will explore the key hair-styles and technological innovations from the mid-1940s to present day, the hairdressing salon and its role as a pillar of the community and the meaning of hair as a form of self-expression.


The exhibition charts the cultural and economic shifts which influenced keys hairstyles, using archival photography, advertising graphics, ephemera and historical objects from the archives and collections of L'Oréal, Unilever (TIGI, Toni & Guy, TRESemmé, VO5 and Brylcreem), Coty, Inc (Wella), Sassoon, Dome Hair Products, Lambeth Archives, Museumand: The National Caribbean Heritage Museum and Wakefield Museums.


A collection of wigs supplied by Banbury Postiche and inspired by key styles in the exhibition will be exclusively styled by Barnsley born celebrity hair-stylist Andrew Barton.


The exhibition begins by exploring the changing nature of the salon in post-war Britain and the new products and hairstyles that were on offer at the time, including Sets, Permanent Waves, Beehives and the rising popularity of wigs and hairpieces.


The rise of the celebrity hairdresser in the early 1960s, national hairdressing competitions are the cultural impact of Teddy Boys and Teddy Girls are all examined, while the hairstyles and natural hair remedies of Caribbean migrants and the first Black hair salons are illustrated as well.


In the mid-1960s, we saw the influence that Swinging London and the Sassoon school of precision hairdressing had on hair fashion, as well as the then new vibrant offer of hair dyes from some of the industry’s biggest commercial names.


The impact that Black Pride and the politicisation of hair had on the style choices of women in the United States and Britain are demonstrated, alongside the current trends of wearing natural hairstyles.


Since the 1970s, the way that fashion trends have been dictated have changed greatly; sub-culture, street style, the alternative press, the internet and social media all have a much greater say and influence on hairstyles than any individual school or stylist.


The exhibition closes with a look at current technologies, gender neutrality in hairstyling, the ways that artists and designer incorporate hair into their work and a footnote on salons of the future.


David Sinclair, said: "We are delighted to be working collaboratively with Andrew Barton and Donna Bevan to curate this culturally significant exhibition, Beehives, Bobs and Blow-dries for the Gallery @ The Civic. It will be a major highlight of the year. The observational approach will provide the discussion regarding the importance of the role of the hairdresser, charting the advancements in design, evolution and creativity and also looks forward to the future of hair. Working with a wealth of partners on the project has brought a fantastic insight to a very exciting project".


For more information visit www.barnsleycivic.co.uk or call the Box Office on 01226 327000.

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