Safety Styles

USA 1942. Dir U.S. News Review.

A short instructional film produced by the American US News Review Safety Styles, identifies the classic Hollywood film star Veronica Lake as a trendsetter, capable of pulling the rest of the country onto her side. A male voice-over acknowledges that Lake’s hairdo “established the style that swept feminine face of the country” and proceeds to ask the actress, seated in a beauty parlour and adjusting her glamorous peekaboo hairstyle, to give up her long locks and “put glamour to its wartime place”. The film then cuts into a factory scene showing women at work on large industrial machines who periodically pause to adjust their hair. By eventually handing over a comb to her hair stylist to tame her “wild” hair into the Victory roll, Lake validates the idea that war and old style vampish glamour don’t go together. Working women must surrender the spectacle of femininity in favour of practicality for the sake safety or as an expression of solidarity.