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An eponymous hairstyle is a particular style of hair that has become fashionable during a certain period of time through its association with a prominent individual.

Late 20th and early 21st century examples

One of the most famous example of this phenomenon was Farah Fawcett's hairstyle, as seen in the American television show Charlie's Angels in the 1970s. Another around that time was the short "Purdey" cut adopted by British actress Joanna Lumley for her role of that name in the television series The New Avengers, and the short Dorothy Hamill Wedge hairstyle.
Victoria Beckham.
More recent examples of eponymous hairstyles include a "Bo Derek" (plaiting hair with beads, as by the actress in the 1979 film, 10), a "Rachel" (after the straightened shag popularized in the mid 1990s by Rachel Green, the character played by Jennifer Aniston in the American TV comedy series, Friends), a Pob(Posh + Bob) named after Victoria "Posh" Beckham (dubbed in 2007 as being the most wanted hair since "the Rachel" and the "Dido flip", a "choppy shag" associated with the singer Dido in the early years of the 21st century.
Yulia Tymoshenko.
In 2006 Londonmarker The Times noted the transformation over several years in the hairstyle of Yulia Tymoshenko (a Ukrainianmarker politician and current Prime Minister of Ukraine), who was also Ukrainian Prime Minister in 2005 following the Orange Revolution of the previous year. Illustrated instructions for replicating Tymosheko's distinctive blonde braided crown were headed "How to do the Yuliya" .

Most recently the "Rihanna" has come into presence, the singer debuted a shortened, dark haircut with stylized bangs, in the summer of 2007.

The "wannabe" effect

Imitation of such styles can sometimes be attributed to what became known in the 1980s as the "wannabe" effect, a term used particularly with reference to young women who wished to emulate (i.e. "wanna" be like) the American singer Madonna. However, it is worth noting that the first three styles identified above were all largely not contrived. Aniston's and Dido's were essentially how they happened to have been wearing their hair at the time. Derek's, with its intricate cornrows and beads, was not her own, but what, in the film, her character had chosen to do with her hair while on honeymoon in Acapulcomarker, Mexico.

Audrey Hepburn

The "Audrey Hepburn look”, an associated in the 1950s and early 60s (and ever since) with the Anglo-Dutch film actress, owed itself principally to the intrinsic chic of Hepburn herself (a factor identified by Edith Head ) and the designs of French couturier Hubert de Givenchy. However, although never strictly eponymous, Hepburn’s hairstyles - especially those in the films Sabrina (1954) (short with a fringe, or "bang", across the forehead) and Breakfast at Tiffany's (1961) (pulled back and gently piled up around the crown) have been widely copied. The social historian Dominic Sandbrook wrote of "black-jersied gamines with Audrey Hepburn hairdos" presiding over British coffee bars in the mid 1950s .

Other gamines

Other short "gamine" cuts to have attracted imitators included Jane Fonda's as the call-girl Bree Daniels in the film, Klute (1971), and that adopted in 2005 by the actress Keira Knightley , a longer, slightly shaggier version of Hepburn's. Fonda's, which was captured also in photographs following her arrest for allegedly assaulting a police officer at Clevelandmarker airport, Ohio in 1970, was sometimes - even thirty years later - referred to as the "Klute shag", but neither this nor Knightley's style really attracted a personal eponym (and Klute was, in any case, the name of a male detective played by Donald Sutherland).

Bergdorf blondes

The quest for a particular eponymous style was caricatured in Plum Sykes' novel, Bergdorf Blondes (2004), in which it was rumoured that a glamorous New York heiress (Julie Bergdorf) had her blonde hair touched up every thirteen days ("$450 a highlight") by a stylist at her family's store, Bergdorf Goodmanmarker. Thus, other "Thirteen Day Blondes" who attained Julie's precise colour - likened to that of the "very white" hair of Carolyn Bessette Kennedy - became known as "Bergdorf Blondes".

Louise Brooks

Earlier in the twentieth century, the "Louise Brooks bob" (Paramount studios' description c.1927 of the defining "bob cut" of the "flapper" era) was iconic to the extent of being reproduced by Cyd Charisse in the 1952 film, Singin' in the Rain, by Melanie Griffith in Something Wild (1986), and by Rose McGowan in The Doom Generation (1995). Although photographs show that Brooks had in fact worn what became known as a bob from childhood, the actress Colleen Moore c.1923 was probably the first to be widely associated with it. However, there was never such a thing as a "Colleen" and it was Brooks, with her unmistakable sense of "It", that turned the "Louise" into an eponymous classic . Eighty years later the term was still part of fashion's lexicon: "With her trademark Louise Brooks bob ... Jean Muir built a career as one of Britain's greatest designers" .


An early example of an eponymous hairstyle was associated with the 5th Duke of Bedford. In 1795, when the British government levied a tax on hair powder, as a form of protest Bedford abandoned the powdered and tied hairstyle commonly worn by men of that era in favor of a cropped, unpowdered style, making a bet with friends to do likewise. The new style became known as the Bedford Level, a pun on a geographical feature of The Fensmarker also known as the "Bedford Level" and also making reference to Bedford's radical ("leveller") political views.

Hairstyling for men, in the sense that it has come to be understood, did not really get under way until the mid to late 1950s. Cover band The Crewcuts were the first to connect hair with pop music, but they were named after the style, rather than the reverse. Although eponymous styles are mostly associated with women, the "mop-top" Beatle cut of the 1960s (after the rock group of that name) was one famous and widely copied example of such a style for men.

In the early 1970s the singer David Bowie popularized the so-called "Ziggy cut", an orange-red form of "mullet" associated with the rather androgynous image that he promoted through his albums The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars (1972) and Aladdin Sane (1973). To the extent that Bowie during this period appeared to assume the persona of "Ziggy Stardust", the Ziggy cut can be regarded, at least partially, as an eponymous style.

In the late 90's, with the success of "ER", George Clooney popularized the Caesar style haircut, which his character, Dr. Doug Ross sported. The style worked equally well for both young and older men alike, and Clooney's distinguished salt and pepper color became very popular.

In more recent times the hair of footballers Kevin Keegan, who acquired a curly "bubble perm" while playing for Southampton in the early 1980s, and David Beckham, England captain 2000-6, gave rise to much copying, but a "Beckham" was whatever style ("buzz-cut", cornrows, Fauxhawk, even an Alice band) he happened to be sporting at a particular time . A more specific eponymous example was the so-called "Sawyer" of James "Sawyer" Ford, the character played by Josh Holloway in the ABC TV series Lost (2004-).


  1. Times, 20 May 2006
  2. See Ian Woodward (1984) Audrey Hepburn
  3. Sandbrook (2005) Never Had It So Good
  4. See, for example, She, July 2005
  5. See Barry Parris (1991) Louise Brooks
  6. Sunday Times, 4 June 2006
  7. An End of Hair Powder, London Chronicle, Sept. 26, 1795, Reprinted in the New York Times
  8. John Barrell, The spirit of despotism
  9. See Susie Dent (2003) The Language Report

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