Mysterious and sexy, Veronica Lake embodies the sophisticated film noir genre of Hollywood crime dramas the 1940s. Her iconic lock of wavy blond hair obscuring one eye is still an inspiration, nearly 75 years after her cinematic debut. In ‘This Gun For Hire,’ Lake was at her smoldering best. Here’s how to get this classic vintage look with pin curls, red lipstick and a little satin – all from natural beauty brands and eco fashion labels, of course.
Veronica Lake’s iconic 1940s Hollywood hair came about by accident, when a lock of hair fell into her eye during a promotional photo shoot. This unusual look helped skyrocket her to stardom, and women working less glamorous lifestyles clamored to channel her smoky, sauntering nightclub singer silhouette. In fact, her femme fatale hairstyle was so widely copied that the U.S. government asked her to change it, because it was seen as a health hazard to women who worked on assembly lines in factories during World War II. Lake demurred, and appeared in Life magazine demonstrating how long waves could get caught in equipment.
But there’s certainly no hazard in wearing this look to cocktail parties and on dates, unless you consider an extraordinary amount of attention dangerous. Here are three steps to the film noir look for hair, makeup and accessories.
Veronica Lake’s ‘peekaboo’ hairstyle was achieved with pin curls and a heavy side part. You could still get this look the traditional way – The Stylist Quo has a step-by-step tutorial that’ll spell out exactly how. But if a curling iron is more your speed, check out the instructions at The Beauty Department. It’s easier than you might think.
Smooth those waves with a little glossing product like Feed Your Shine by Yarok, and hold them in place with a natural hairspray that comes out in a fine mist rather than a spritz – try Giovanni’s L.A. Hold.
Natural brows, enhanced cheekbones and red lips are Veronica Lake’s trademark makeup looks. Use just a little bit of brow product like Josie Maran’s Magic Brows to add definition and swipe some mascara onto your lashes. Keep your eye makeup light to balance the bold red lip.
Ilia Beauty lipstick in Wild Child has a semi-matte finish in a fiery shade of red, or you could go with the darker Femme Fatale. Finally, use a little bit of bronzer just under your cheekbones to draw them out, making sure to blend well for a natural beauty effect.
Wearing an actual satin dress from the 1940s along with the hair and makeup might look a bit too much like a costume. Instead, choose elements from Lake’s classic look to integrate into your own. A halter-style dress or something in low-cut satin would be a subtle tribute, or you could rock a turban like Lake’s character Ellen Graham. You can find vintage ones on Etsy, or get a sleeker, more modernized version in organic cotton by REIF at Craft and Culture.
And of course, no look could epitomize film noir better than a slim-fitting trench coat. Check out the Jonano Organic Hemp Denim Mini Trench Coat for an updated option, or have some fun poring through vintage boutiques.
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