Every decade has its retro fixation, but it's the Golden Age of Hollywood, in particular the 1940s and 1950s, that has really captured the imaginations during recent years.
For autumn/winter 2007 Valentino's hair and make-up was heavily influenced by Veronica Lake: big voluptuous waves falling down one side of the head and deep ruby lipstick, it was the epitome of old-school glamour. The autumn/winter 2008 shows followed suit. At D Squared the inspiration was 1950s pin-ups, at Roland Mouret, hair and make-up was a modern take on Ava Gardner, and at Roksanda Ilincic the reference point was Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany's.
The make-up artist Alex Box has also studied the Golden Age of Hollywood era closely. For Gareth Pugh's autumn/winter 2008 catwalk she created a look she dubs "Garborg": Greta Garbo high-arched, pencilled brows coupled with bold, coloured lips all executed in a nuclear winter or cyborg-blue tone. "For those old black-and-white films they would paint make-up on in purple and yellow and blue to create different tones of grey. They often had dark blue lips. That's what the Gareth look was about – it was like someone from black and white stepping into colour – RKO's Colorama."
Samantha Hillerby, who created the Marilyn Monroe meets Ava Gardner hair for YSL's Rouge Volupté adverts, asserts that 1940s and 1950s hair, like the make-up, takes a lot more time and effort. "We wanted to achieve that glamour, that richness, that expensiveness that women back then gave off, via painstakingly groomed hair." According to Hillerby, a lot of tools are required to create the look. She lists rollers, heated rollers, old-fashioned scalloped rollers and hot tongs as just a few of the things you might require to create the right look, and cites the return of old-fashioned techniques such as barrel curling and pin curling.
The drawback with sporting a retro aesthetic, is that it's much more labour intensive and high maintenance than merely popping into Topshop or getting a bob cut at Toni & Guy. However, the satisfaction comes from achieving a classic, sophisticated kind of glamour.