An Interview with Be My Jazz Baby’s Vintage Stylist, Liv Lethal

One of the many things we’re excited about for Jazz Baby , is having our own vintage stylist, Liv Lethal and her team, on hand to help gals get glamourized for Saturday night’s Jazz Baby Ball and the photobooth. We sat down with Liv this week to chat about what inspires her.

Welcome Liv. Please tell us about your background as a stylist. How did you become interested in vintage hair and makeup?

My love for all things vintage began when I was 6. My mother has always said that I’m an old soul trapped in the wrong time. While most little girls were playing with dolls, I was listening to my parents’ old ’45s and learning how to jitterbug and go-go dance in the living room. It was around that time when I also started experimenting with my grandmother’s Merle Norman Cosmetics hand-me-downs. From the first whiff of talc, I was hooked!

I come from a long line of women who won’t open the curtains until their make-up is applied and their hair is perfectly styled for fear that someone (god forbid a man!) might walk past the window and see them unkempt. So that concept of being perfectly put together was instilled in me at a young age. As I grew older, I began watching old movies and I became enamored with the women in those films. I started searching for any old photos I could find and began practicing re-creating those looks. And the rest is history!

Do you have a favorite time period or style to work in?

I love the 1920s through the 1940s. So many key elements of hair and make-up change about every 10 years, even now, so it’s incredibly challenging to pick one favorite decade. I love the smoky-eyed, rosy cheek look of the 1920s because it was both mysterious and angelic. I love the glamorous fingerwaved hairstyles of the 1930s. Just looking at photographs from the ’30s makes my heart flutter. But I also love the fresh face and the architectural hairstyles of the 1940s. Reverse rolls are as sexy as they are awe-inspiring.

Which actress had the best look?

When it comes to overall style, it’s definitely Marilyn. Of course, as a Marilyn Monroe impersonator, I’m more than a little biased! Marilyn was really in tune with her body and what cuts of clothing worked best for her shape, so she always looked sexy and still classy. She was also a make-up fanatic like myself and often did her own make-up for movies. Now, if we’re talking about best hair then I would say Betty Grable, hands down. She always had rolls and swoops that defied the law of physics.

Where do you get your inspirations for your designs?

Old photographs and books, mainly. Occasionally old films, but it’s harder to study a person when they’re moving on screen. The Internet has really opened the creative doors with the amount of images out there. But you’ll still find me digging through old boxes of photographs at the junk store looking for that one girl whose style really speaks to me.

How does the hair and makeup differ between, say, a 20’s flapper girl look and 40’s pin up?

History and the changing times greatly affected the styles of both periods. In the 1920s, the troops were just coming home from World War I. It was a time of celebration and prosperity and the fashion of the decade was greatly influenced by this. America was leaving behind the image of the conservative, fresh faced Gibson girl with her long curly tresses piled atop her head and starting to embrace international fashion culture. Young women started to wear heavier make-up and rebel against society. They darkened their eyes, rouged their cheeks and worked on perfecting the perfect Cupid’s Bow lip. Many cut off their locks in favor of a short bob style. Make-up was still in its early stages of development, so women often concocted their own beauty products such as mascara – which contributed to the more primitive, less polished look.

By 1941, America was at war again and women left the high glamor of the 1930s behind and began rolling up their sleeves to enter the factories and do their part. Because of this, women started to embrace a more natural make-up look, with red lips of course! Also, because of the dangers of working on heavy machinery, women began to style their long hair into pulled back rolls and thus the fad of reverse and victory rolls was born. It’s also because of the war that we have this emergence of the “pin-up girl” who truly embraces the style of this time.

You’ve also had some exposure to dance and lindy hop in your past. Does that give you some insight into helping someone select a style more suitable for dancing as opposed to still photography?

Yes. More bobby pins and more hairspray!

Do modern tools make it easier to capture vintage looks?

Modern tools definitely make the hair styling process much faster, but they never fully capture a true vintage look. They come pretty close, but a Marcel iron will never create the perfect finger wave. There are just some things you have to do the old fashioned way.

What services will you be offering at Be My Jazz Baby? How much time will a session take and what’s the best way for someone to make a reservation with you?

For Be My Jazz Baby we are offering three types of make-up and hair styles. For make-up, we’re offering looks from some of my favorite time periods. We have the 1920s vampy flapper, the fresh-faced 1940s pin-up and the glamorous 1950s starlet. For hair, we’ll be offering a modern twist on the 1930s finger waves. Since true vintage finger waves are done on wet hair and can take hours, this is a modified dry-set version. It will still take a little longer to achieve than our other style offerings.

We also are offering those famous 1940s reverse rolls as well as a classic curl set. We will be taking walk-ins only on a first come, first served basis. So stop by when you’re ready to transform into a classic beauty and we’ll transport you back in time!

Thanks Liv! We’re very excited to have you and your team down with us for the weekend!

PRICING AND STYLING SHEET

Appointment signups will start during classes on Saturday afternoon.

You can find out more about Liv on her website

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