|Gamine Shirley Maclaine Source|
The word gamine comes from the French gamin and means 'waif' or 'urchin' - an ideal gamine is a little bit tomboy, yet paradoxically girlish too, with a vulnerability and unique appeal. You don't have to have short hair to a gamine (Audrey Hepburn was one) but the 'gamine cut' was designed to conjure up that particular look.
Not quite as radically short as the pixie cut, the 50s gamine left enough hair around the face and over the top of the ears to be flattering, allowing that sly femininity to sneak into an otherwise boyish look.
One famous gamine of the era was Shirley's MacClaine's fetching cut in the 1960 hit film, The Apartment (a good film by the way). The style suited her roundish face, bright eyes and eccentric, fun personality. Shirley wore the style in several films and it gave her distinction and an edge among the Hollywood starlets who, by comparison, looked as though they were trying to hard with their glammed up hairdos.
|Sultry but sweet. Shirley MacLaine with her co-star in The Apartment, Jack Lemmon.|
Another striking, earlier gamine but with extra-glamour was that worn by versatile dancer, singer and actress Mitzie Gaynor in the 1950s. That decade was really the first to see very short hair become popular. Although short bobs had been worn in the 1920s they weren't quite as short as this. Gaynor starred in a host of Hollywood musicals, which included There's no Business Like Show Business (1954) and Happy Anniversary (1959).
|Mitzi Gaynor - glam gamine|
|Leslie Caron - Lili|
The short hair gave her soft, feminine features a dramatic impact, helped along by a seductive French accent and a winning personality.
Trained as a ballerina, Caron often played the innocent and intriguing ingenue and did much to popularise the gamine style, proving beyond doubt that short hair was no barrier to being ultra-feminine. At right and below are four versions of Leslie's gamine cut.
|An American in Paris|
|Feminine gamine, Leslie Caron|
|Leslie Caron with 50s wisps|
Great Vintage Haircuts
Hot Hairstyles of the 1960s
Long Hairstyles of the 1950s
The Eton Crop