Wednesday, November 21, 2012

School formal creative vision. 90s hair.

This time of year I am always transported back in time to those halcyon days at the end of your school life.  One of the girls across the road was out in the front yard on Friday night getting some pics taken before she headed off to her school formal, with an earnest looking young man at her elbow.  She was wearing a very elegant long navy number and I must say she looked pretty good.

My formal outfit was a little, um, unusual I suppose is the best word.  I wanted terribly badly to look different from everyone else.  I still think my dress was beautiful.  Mum found it in a local boutique, and it was made from this amazing hand painted orange silk.  I'm hoping that Mum has it somewhere because I don't.  My shoes were also totally amazing.  They were these sort of disco gold numbers with a stacked heel.  Mum and I bought them in Brisbane which was definitely the Big Smoke for me back in the day, and they cost a fortune (more than $100 I think which is pretty ridiculous).  I don't know where they are either, I hardly wore them.  So annoying.  I wish I had them now.

But it was the hair and makeup that crazied up the whole ensemble.  I had a creative vision that I found difficult to express.  The dress and shoes really were a sort of 1970s vibe and I think what I really wanted was for my hair to be a bit like Jerry Hall's in this picture, sort of crimpy/wavy.

But the problem was that it was 1997, the Spice Girl star was rising and Gwen Stefani was on the up and up too so I also had this kind of hairstyle stuck in my head...

Baby Spice and her look in this pic was one of my muses [Source]

Interestingly this photo was captioned "Gwen Stefani - Bad Hair Day". Obviously I didn't think so at the time.  I think this photo is from the early 2000s but you get the idea of the weird 1990s hair vibe that was swishing round inside my brain at the time.  [Source]

I tried to convey this to the middle aged suburban hairdresser and this is what the end result was. Really she did a good job because she was probably thinking "What the hell is she going on about, why doesn't she just want a nice updo with curls at the side like all the other girls".

You can't see the full effect obviously but the makeup job really was the worst element.  I think the work experience girl got her mitts on me, and layered foundation on with a trowel, topping it all off with garish lipstick that was slightly unevenly drawn.  All I wanted was a noice nat-chur-al dewey ingenue look a la Jerry in the first photo but that ain't what happened.  Very disappointing.  The experience scarred me so much that I was determined to do my own hair and makeup for my wedding years later. Which I did.  And it looked excellent if I do say so myself.

Anyway people on the night were a bit surprised at the whole ensemble I think and kept wanting to touch my hair, so I went with it as a talking point and told everyone my creative pitch to the hairdresser had been "Spice Girl on Acid" and I think they just thought "God she's weird" and left it at that.

For years I have been embarrassed of the photos, but more recently I have decided that even though I looked like a clown next to all the surfy cool girls with their long slinky dresses and dead straight Gwyneth Paltrow hair, at least I get points for trying to look interesting.  


  1. Your barnet looks way better than Jerry's frizzed up do! I think the only celebration my old school ever held was the day I left. I dread having my make-up done by these so called "artists" - I always feel (and look) like a drunk Liza Minelli.

    1. Yes! Drunk Liza in clown makeup, that was me. Although maybe the arteeeest was drunk which would explain the wonky lippy.

  2. Yes the hair and makeup did. Look great. At the wedding. KK xx

  3. I was given my formal dress and told to be thankful. Luckily it was nice and not a hand me down wedding dress. My aunty did my make up and she did a great job of it.

  4. My recollection of your teenage self is that you were a bit of a looker (but then again you weren't cut in half with a line obscuring your face.)

    Perhaps, in hindsight, you coulda shoulda accentuated your fiery look with long wavy Tori Amos red locks. That's what all the boys liked in the 90s, didn't they? [says gentlemen with former Raelee Hill fixation]

  5. Always cutting edge. Crimped hair is definitely cutting edge for the 90's when Gwynnie and Jen were all the rage. As you say, major kudos for being different and interesting. xo

  6. Who is this Ed person? He seems to know an awful lot about an awful lot. Sarah - I think you looked AWESOME, but agree with "Ed" - would have loved to have seen the whole photo. Kx

    1. I am but a humble Tunnel Editor who knew Slapdash Mama before she was a fabulous blogger. She hasn't changed a bit!

  7. Yes! Good on your for shaking things up! So agree with the comment about looking like a drunk Liza Minnelli! Almost spat my juice out!

  8. I had the "nice up do with curls on the side" and IT WAS HIDEOUS! I can't stress enough what a lucky escape you had. Also because my hair was even longer in highschool than it is now, it had to be held in place with a whole can of hair lacquer and 9 zillion bobby pins. So it was uncomfortable as well as unattractive!

    I love what I can see of your dress - I reckon you would have been stunning even if you can't see it yourself!


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