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The creator of the iconic 60s hairdo “Beehive” Margaret Heldt dies aged 98

Ian Smith

The lady who had invented the hairdo that epitomized the 60s, Margaret Vinci Heldt died  peacefully in her home in Chicago aged 98.   Margaret Vinci Heldt  was born in Elmhurst, Illinois, she was an owner of the Margaret Vinci Coiffures in downtown Chicago.  After Heldt and her saloon won the National Coiffure Championship in 1954,   the editors of Modern Beauty Salon magazine asked her to design a new hairstyle that would reflect the coming decade.The beehive originated as one of a variety of elaborately teased and lacquered versions of “big hair” that developed from earlier pageboy and bouffant styles.



Audrey Hepburn with a beehive in Breakfast at Tiffany.
Audrey Hepburn with a beehive in Breakfast at Tiffany.Source


Behibv in 1960s
Beehive in 1960s.Source


Brigitte Bardot with a Beehive in 1962
Brigitte Bardot with a Beehive in 1962.Source

She originally modeled it on a fez-like hat that she owned. The beehive was formed using a comb and running it back and forward down the hair to create a knotted effect which was lightly combed over to smooth down the effect. The longer the hair the higher the beehive.In recognition of her achievement, Cosmetologists Chicago, a trade association with 60,000 members, created a scholarship in Heldt’s name for creativity in hairdressing. The beehive style was popular throughout the 1960s, particularly in the United States and other Western countries, and remains an enduring symbol of 1960s kitsch. It is also known as the B-52 due to a resemblance to the distinctive nose of the Boeing B-52 airplane.


Beehive in Germany.1960
Beehive in Germany.1960.Source

Despite inventing the hairstyle, Heldt did not name it: for the final touch in her original design she added a bee-shaped hat pin and from that a reporter for the magazine Modern Beauty Shop (now Modern Salon) “it looks just like a beehive! Do you mind if we call it the beehive?”

Claudia Cardinale with elegant behive.Source
Claudia Cardinale with elegant beehive.Source
Lady with a behive.Source
Lady with a behive.Source
Portrait of Aenne Burda.Source
Portrait of Aenne Burda.Source

From Audrey Hepburn to Marge from The Simpson, women generally have enjoyed this kitschy hairstyle.The popular girl group, The Ronettes, helped popularize the hairdo. “We came from Spanish Harlem”, recalls the group’s veteran lead singer, Veronica “Ronnie” Spector, in a Village Voice interview. ” ‘We had high hair anyway.’ So the Ronettes made their hair still higher—’We used a lot of Aqua Net’ “.

Ian Smith

Ian Smith is one of the authors writing for The Vintage News