Thursday, June 24, 2010

Style Inspiration: Maude and Frida

Any Harold and Maude fans present? The 1971 cult classic film is a sentimental favorite of mine. I got to thinking about it one day recently as I was doing my hair. You see, I was trying to remember how I got started doing my hair in a braided updo, which has been my style of choice in this muggy weather. (See my video tutorial for this style here.) And then I remembered - it was Maude's style I was trying to emulate!

It's easy to see why I would have forgotten the original inspiration for this coif, as it spans many eras and cultures. I sometimes get teasing "Swiss Miss" comments when I wear my hair up in Heidi braids, seeing as this hairdo brings to mind yodeling in the Alps. My mother calls it my "fraulein" hair, another nod to its Euro roots. But then there's the glamorous Hollywood side of a braided updo: Casey did a great post on vintage up-dos that included Madelene Carrol's beautiful Heidi braids.


But the reason I love Maude's version the best is that it encapsulates her character as a feisty bohemian. Maude is an eccentric, sexy, glamorous, smart, charming 79-year-old woman, and her hairdo manages to get all that across somehow. Jeff thinks it a little amusingly strange that I should have a geriatric style icon, but it makes perfect sense to me.

I was also recently reminded by a yoga teacher that another one of my favorite women in history sported this hairdo: the excellent Frida Kahlo. (The teacher warned me not to grow a uni-brow to go with my braids. Indeed: I should be so lucky to pull off a uni-brow as Frida did!) This must have been another unconscious style inspiration for me, as I have long been a Frida Kahlo enthusiast. I spent a summer in Mexico City many years ago and I visited La Casa Azul once a week. I loved looking at the relics of her life - colorful dresses, skulls, religious tokens, and jewelry strewn everywhere. It must be said that Frida Kahlo goes down in history as the ultimate accessorizer of the Heidi Braids. Who else could pull off all those flowers right on top of one's head? (I can't seem to get the hang of it. Not for lack of trying, believe me.)


And look at the ribbon woven throughout! Genius!


It's sort of fascinating to make a connection between Maude and Frida: one fictional, one real - but both very off-beat, political, feminine, flamboyant, passionate, glamorous, tragic, and artistic. I think they make perfect style icons, don't you?

28 comments:

  1. Oh I absolutely love 'Harold and Maude'. I would never personally have made the mental leap from Maude to Frida (who is also on my heroine list). How clever of you to do that.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I'm desperately hoping my hair will hurry up and grow! so I can do this style again. I wore pinned up braids all last summer and it really is perfect for sweltering weather!

    I just rewatched Harold and Maude last week (for the millionth time--I adore that film)! I dare say, if I can ever be half as awesome as Maude was at 79, I'll die happy. haha.

    Looking at the pictures of Maude and Frida, both sporting the pinned up braid, made me think about why this particular style seems so bohemian. Perhaps it's because even though it's an age-old style, there is something still a little subversive about a grown woman with long hair up in braids? It looks neither super professional or terribly grown up (after all: most people in this country tend to call them "Heidi braids" because of the reminder of the children's classic), and isn't a terribly complicated style (which forces people to focus on you or what you are representing). In a way, the women who dare to wear this style (more often than summertime) are kind of thumbing their noses at convention (which fits Maude and Frida!). Maybe I'm reading too much into this (I still haven't finished my first cup of morning tea, so it is entirely possible)? ;) lol.

    Oh, and thanks for the shout out! ;)

    ♥ Casey
    blog | elegantmusings.com

    ReplyDelete
  3. OMG I loved that movie. Does that take me back.....and the hair with the ribbon through it.....sheer beauty.

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love Harold and Maude. Old ladies have always been an inspiration of mine and Maude is a favourite.

    ReplyDelete
  5. I want to be Ruth Gordon (Maude) when I grow up. She was an amazing woman throughout her career. It's been a few years since I've had hair long enough to braid, but I've always thought it was a neater look than just a ponytail (or tails).

    ReplyDelete
  6. You hit the nail on the head with this one. I love both Maude and Frida, and I have been known to wear my hair up like theirs--even with flowers! (I live in Florida where I guess it's easier to pull off the flowers-in-your-hair thing.)

    I absolutely adore Frida's style. My husband and I throw a huge Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) party every November, and I always have so much fun dressing up like Frida for the party!

    Thanks for the great post!

    ReplyDelete
  7. I'm impatiently waiting for my hair to grow so I can wear them in the heidi braids... funny thing I always loved how Harold dressed and didn't notice as much how Maude dressed, I like how Harold's match-making ladies dress too! What a wonderful movie!

    I MUST wear my hair in braids with a ribbon through it! Especially with the ribbon ending on top like that.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I agree that Maude and Frida are awesome style icons! I just watched Harold and Maude again a few weeks ago, and as much as I loved it in my youth, I found so much more watching it again. Harold's mother's style busted me up in every scene she appeared in, bored and aloof.

    ReplyDelete
  9. Yes! there is something special about this style for sure. I often use this one, as actually find it's one of the quickest updos, for consistently good results! And always get comments on it. Plaits are so now too. I never really thought much about it, but that is so interesting to pick out people like that. Have you seen the ex-ukranian prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko (i think is her name) for best results, do a google image search - she is a dream!
    Emilia x

    ReplyDelete
  10. Harold & Maude is my favorite movie of all time!!! I have copycatted Ruth Gorgons hairstyle on those days when I want to feel like Maude in my heart. I have always loved Fridas' hair too. I'm sure my hair resembles Maudes' more than Fridas'! Another Heidi(loved her too and tried to copy her braids as a girl) hair icon with a twist that I have always loved is Mary from It's a Wonderful Life. She has the the braids but also this shiny loop of hair hanging to her shoulders. I've always been fascinated with women who pull this off well. Now I'm going to be singing Cat Stevens songs all day!!! Bliss:)

    ReplyDelete
  11. I think you look very pretty with your Heidi braids. Love seeing these other versions.

    Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment!! It's always nice to hear from you. Glad you thought my post was fun and liked the faux channel suit for little Emily.

    Trudy
    www.sewingwithtrudy.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
  12. The style Frieda's wearing in the last photo - with the ribbons braided into the hair, then wrapped and tied in a bow - is also seen in Italian Renaissance art! It's a great way to make an already pretty hairdo even nicer.

    I'm missing my hip-length hair right now. I cut it to above shoulder length about a year and a half ago. I'm growing back out a bit, but it's taking forever...

    ReplyDelete
  13. I have never seen Harold and Maude, but I will add it to my Netflix queue asap. I love that last photo of Frida. She looks so beautiful there.

    ReplyDelete
  14. How strange! When I first started reading your blog a few weeks ago, I noticed your hair in some of the pictures and immediately thought of Frida Kahlo. I've felt a kinship with her for over a decade now. However, I didn't think she was your primary hair inspiration because she's almost always depicted with flowers or ribbons in her hair.

    I read a mention about "Harold and Maude" in one of your posts and since I'd never seen more than ten minutes of it, made a mental note to watch it. I ended up watching it last weekend. When Maude first came onscreen I immediately wondered if SHE had been your primary hair inspiration. Funny how things work...

    ReplyDelete
  15. I LOVE Harold and Maude!!!
    I also adore the "heidi" braids, but with very fine hair, I end up looking like Heidi Struck by Electricity!
    Any tips?

    ReplyDelete
  16. Oh Frida. How I love thee! She is so beautiful and strong and proud.
    I love braids. of any sort. they can be so elegant like in the vintage hairstyling book by Lauren Rennells there is one hairstyle that has a braid wrapped around an up do. Its so pretty! Thanks for the inspirations gertie :-)

    ReplyDelete
  17. Oh, I loved Harold and Maude! I have seen this same style worn by Rebiya Kadeer, the Uighur women's rights activist when she visited Australia recently. You are in good company.

    ReplyDelete
  18. I wear my hair braided up too.The first time was when I was Frieda for Halloween. I felt very pretty, even with the mustache :0) A freeing experience not to leave the house tweezed senseless..not that I would do it again..but the hairdo is repeatable.lol

    ReplyDelete
  19. Frida Kahlo's stuff is gorgeous, she definitely knew how to accessorise (might have to try the ribbon trick through my own lacklustre locks to bulk them up)... love her necklace, she obviously did too as she is wearing it in both pics. Another blogger recently posted on a dollhouse that was made to resemble Frida's house, complete with artworks, but do you think I can remember who it was??

    ReplyDelete
  20. Gertie "darling" you have captured my interest. I am a life-long sewer, a Heidi braid wearer off and on. Love your style and individual take on fashion! Can't wait to see what is next. Let my just add, I made the clothes you feature as "vintage" when they were new!!!

    ReplyDelete
  21. H&M has been my favorite movie ever since I saw it at 16. I read once that the hair and makeup consultant specifically chose that hairstyle for Maude to convey her childlike excitement for life. Apparently several pieces from Rodarte's target collection were inspired by this movie too

    ReplyDelete
  22. Harold & Maude is a dazzling film-and Frida was a dazzling character,I adore them both.The upbraids are divine,I've done them many times,and luckily the flowers works for me!

    ReplyDelete
  23. Yeaahhh thanks for reminding me of Harold an Maude. It's decades since I saw it, but I'll watch it with my significant other as soon as possible.
    I wore Up-Braids in my twenties. My Hair was down to my waist and I had them up, wound the two braids around each other and then down again. That way I managed a little Frida-esque volume. Looking forward to wearing them Maude style, although I have a couple of years yet...

    ReplyDelete
  24. Wow, no one I ever speak to has seen "Harold & Maude". I was beggining to think that I had made it up. Fabulous hair, with or without the braid/flowers! x

    ReplyDelete
  25. Advanced BeginnerJune 27, 2010 at 2:44 PM

    I'm reasonably sure that in the Johanna Spyri book the character Heidi was described as having short, curly, black hair. So I think of this style as "German Braids" or "Bohemian (as in "Bohemia") Braids."

    Oh, I see, in the sequel she somehow started growing blond hair. Marketing no doubt.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heidi



    Typo fix: It's "Madeleine
    Carroll." The 39 Steps is a great favorite of mine.

    ReplyDelete
  26. when i saw your braid tutorial i was so excited because i've been wanting to do a cute retro-ish updo, but have no patience for full-on 40s/50s dos. the braids came very much in handy on my very muggy/wet trip to japan last week. now that i've seen maude was your inspiration, i love the braids even more! thanks so much! love the blog.

    ReplyDelete
  27. Having had a little time to browse some more of your blog earlier today, I have popped back to share this from House of Mouse which I found this evening, something a friend does on etsy. So strange for her to pop up twice in my day.

    ReplyDelete
  28. I was just watching harrold and maud yesterday. What a small world. I happen to see the photo for this post. Anway I love you style icons. They are great unique true icons.

    ReplyDelete

Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

© Gertie's Blog For Better Sewing. Powered by Cake