Miss Betty is a one woman glamour machine. Able to unlock the elusive beauty secrets of decades long passed with a graceful flick of her comb and some ingenious curl-magic, this is one hairstylist who lives and breathes elegant vintage style.

Originally opening a beauty parlour in France, Miss Betty now co-owns the brilliant It’s Something Hell’s shop near London’s Carnaby Street, with fellow countryman Mister Ducktail.

Using their years of vintage expertise to create a phenomenal style explosion, Mister Ducktail specialises in Bad Boy styles with his signature Switchblade Hairkut, while the lovely Miss Betty does vintage coiffures iconic-style.

And it’s the delightful Miss Betty who puts down her rollers and setting lotions, to have a chat with Tara Gardner, and share a few style secrets…

QoV: Why vintage hair and beauty?

Miss Betty: When I was 17 I opened my eyes and saw the glamour of vintage style. I was already beginning to be interested in burlesque style, but suddenly I realised that the Fifties rock and roll scene had so much elegance and life to it – so much intrigue and beauty.

Having been training in hair and beauty since 16, I very quickly realised that it was so important for me to learn the retro and vintage hairstyles alongside the modern ones. And to keep these hairstyles alive!

I began by trying to recreate on myself and my friends the styles of the incredible iconic pin-ups of the vintage eras. Before long it was pretty clear to me that these were the only hairstyles I wanted to wear or create.

One of my favourite hairstyling memories was 12 years ago when I styled all my friends in a chalet at the famous Hemsby Rock ‘N’ Roll weekender.

And the reason I’ve never turned my back on vintage style since? Because for me women never celebrated their natural femininity or elegance as much as they did in the vintage eras.

QoV: Who are your style muses?

 Miss Betty: There are so many! So many incredible women with such individual personalities captured beautifully by their unique ‘looks’.

Tempest Storm and Bettie Page stand out for their strength of spirit. Mamie van Doren, Marilyn Monroe, Lili St Cyr, Rita Hayworth, and Mae West all are wonderful for their gorgeous styles, and inspiring characters – so individual and iconic.

QoV: Which is your favourite hairstyle of all time?

Miss Betty: Oh, it’s so hard to choose one in particular!… but I have to say Rita Hayworth in Gilda, 1946. This style has a lot of work in it, but once you’ve got it it’s pure perfection. And it looks so different on each person. You can wear with an evening dress and go really formal, or let it loosen up a bit and go really rock ‘n’ roll with it and give it some attitude. It really is such a flattering do and has a sensual, wild touch to it. I do this style a lot at my shop.

Can you tell us about Miss Betty’s Beauty Parlour?

Miss Betty: I opened my own beauty parlour in 2001 (in France), and believe me, vintage style was really not the fashion at the time or in the local area. At my parlour I offer all the services which a modern salon would – colouring, balayage, cutting, styling, and chignon – but in a totally different place. Like walking into a 1950s boudoir, we’ve created an intimate and elegant place where people can come and have a complete experience, not just a place to sit for a few hours.

My beauty parlour has been a big success in France, so I am embarking on a new adventure in London. The London shop – It’s Something Hell’s – with amazing hairstylist Mister Ducktail has only been open nine months but it’s doing really well!

QoV: Can you let us in on one of your style secrets?

Miss Betty: I have lots of secrets, but I’ll give you my most precious one, my big love… Elnett! With this all is possible.

For a vintage Christmas do visit Miss Betty and treat yourself at It’s Something Hell’s – Unit 2.16 Kingly Court just off Carnaby Street, London W1.Or have a browse through Miss Betty’s myspace page – myspace.com/beautyparlormissbetty

copyright of images E. Corlay

5 Responses

  1. Laura

    I am shooting a short film the first week of June in central Kansas. I need someone who can do hairstyles from the 30’s and 40’s. The film is historic fiction set in 1945. It’s low budget but I can certainly pay you for your time and supplies as well as offer lodging and meals and help with travel if you are coming from not too far away. It’s very hard to find a vintage hair stylist. I don’t trust beauty schools, they don’t seem to really know what I am talking about. Unless someone can send me some kind of portfolio of hair designs they have done, I have nothing to go on. Please let me know if this might interest you or someone you know. More info about the film can be found on my website: horseoutofthegate.webs.com

  2. Katty_macadam

    Bastille Day London Garden Party, the French free summer Festival 11 Juillet à Battersea !??

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    Le dimanche 11 juillet, London Macadam vous promet une très belle journée pour le french free summer festival, Bastille Day London garden Party à Battersea Park =>www.bastilledaylondon.com??

    Petanque enregistrement free sur place par team de 3, places limitées venez à 10h30 – lancement du film Gainbourg avec photo shooting des « Brigitte Bardot » amenez votre appareil photo – Guinguette et délicieuse french food raclettes, tartiflettes, vins français, bar à champagne, crêpes nutella – lâcher de ballons retrouvez votre âme d’enfants – jouez avec Serge Betsen le rugbyman international – les danseuses du Lido, plumes, strass, paillettes et glamour. ?

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  3. felicia cardenas

    I love to do 50’s hair i live in a small town so every one looks at me funny when im in town w/ the hair styles but my coworkers love it cuz thay do hair to. iv been doing hair for 5 years, i would like to do it more but people in my town just dont ask for hair styles like this. just wondering how u got stated.

    Felicia Cardenas
    Seguin TX

  4. A

    I’m a hairstylist and I love doing vintage hairstyles! I like to experiment with different pincurl sets… On myself of course because no one really asks for it, yet tons of people ask me how I do it haha!