Grey matter: how Liz grew up
There comes a moment when a woman must stop dyeing and start to live an honest life. Elizabeth Taylor's time has come.
Wednesday 30 July 1997
Call it hair conditioning: grey hair makes men "mature" (John Major, Bill Clinton, Richard Gere) but renders women "old". It's the difference between distinguished and extinguished. No matter how much men are told "Let's all meet up in the Grecian 2000", they aren't actively threatened by total loss of allure. Women, however, are blithely expected to dye by their own hand at least once a month. Clock Nastassja Kinski's current Clairol campaign. Nastassja begins by confessing to disguising up the salt in her pepper, but insists that no one will ever be able to tell. Apart, presumably, from the millions of viewers already wondering why Nastassja keeps referring to her russet locks as "natural" - a tidy subversion of the truth. If she's so fixated on natural, what could be more natural than the wearing of the grey?
It might be well for Kinski and Clairol to consider not just ageing demographics - the grey area is expanding all the time - but also changing attitudes. Grey is this season's shade, the colour of relief - thank God, no more stained hands and smudged hairline - and the colour of tempered steel: of strength. Grey is fast becoming cultural, political and cutting edge.
Ask the clothes designer Betty Jackson, who carries off a silver mop without undue fuss. The same applies to Liz Tilberis, editor of Harper's Bazaar in the US, trim and precise and right at the thundering heart of fashion. And then there's Betty Boothroyd, Speaker of the House and the best sort of political pin-up. Her grey is one good reason why she's called "madam": an announcement that she has little time for trivia. We're talking of the wisdom that grey has traditionally bestowed on the male of the species, and of which Germaine Greer, an iron-head herself, has eloquently written. In that sense, grey might also be dubbed the implicit colour of threat. Hence, perhaps, Vivienne Westwood's shrewd abandonment of symbolically raging red for a bleach bob that mimics grey's cool authority. Maybe the lurking subtext also explains the snip-snip-sniping at lucky Liz, whom many would clearly prefer to struggle permanently with her figure instead of discovering a sense of proportion. Which is what grey signals most of all: I Am What I Am - if I have confidence, then I have no need to cover up. A lesson you don't need to be older to have learnt. Nastassja, take noten
Life & Style blogs
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'does not see a problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
- 3 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
- 4 A third of employers never check job applicants' qualifications, survey finds
- 5 James Foley beheading: Fox news presenter Megyn Kelly annoyed by Ferguson update during broadcast about murdered journalist
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst - C++, Boost...
£25000 - £35000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Service Desk Analyst- (Desktop Su...
£30000 - £50000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Quant Analyst (Machine Lea...
£45000 - £55000 per annum: Harrington Starr: UNIX Application Support Analyst-...