Every month or two, I hand my hairdresser the same crumpled laser print-out of the fashion model, Patricia Schmid, just before her entrance onto the couture runway. This particular catwalk is themed after the screen siren, if you can imagine Hollywood goddesses in a parade, lining past and through the audience as Veronica Lake, Greta Garbo, and Jean Harlow in beaded shifts, fringe, and sexy trench coats covering what body can be glimpsed by the scarcity of fabric and strong silhouette. Occasionally there is a pair of sequined overalls, and the tendency is to go far with drop necklines and reflective metal.
Looks that have not aged, those dresses and jackets return to our store racks at INA every season.
And so the models wear their hair long and swept to the side. The runway is full-tilt curls, lips, and eyebrow. The models routinely wear acrylic red nails, here a decidedly feminine and not tawdry nail.
But Patricia Schmid is donning the masculine bob, known for its bangs cut barely above the eyebrow, hair trimmed closely to the nape of the neck, and single-length layer cut across the cheekbone. Her only adornment is a mirroring patent-leather collar, tilted up from her blazer. She is a reincarnation of the silent film actress Louise Brooks.
Get Patricia's Look: Patricia pairs black pants and heels with the blazer, and a more burgundy nail and lip than the other girls.
Louise Brooks was informally blacklisted in Hollywood after refusing to act in sound films. For all of her lack of talking, we know her as a style icon, “The Girl with the Black Helmet”. Her feminine 1930s frocks were an accessory to her stark hairstyle, as opposed to her hairstyle an accessory to her dresses. She popularized those bangs previously worn by schoolboys.
In real life, Louise could be seen wearing this and little else, except a heel fastened at the ankle.
I have never printed out a photograph of the silent actress Louise, herself, but only of the model Patricia, instead. Patricia bucks the trend, and finds it easy to do so with fast access to a sharp lapel, a close fit, or a tailored woman’s suit. As it goes, to be the silent actress you pick the most luxuriously masculine detail.