Amateur films and home movies are a rich part of the NFSA’s collection. I’ve recently curated three films from the collection for our YouTube channel on the theme of 'fashion’. While viewing and reflecting upon the subjects of these films it is fascinating to discover to what extent they are contemporary to today, despite being made in the 1950s or 60s.
The first two films are primarily about hair, though they also reveal a lot about the fashion, the hairdressing industry and social interaction at the time. In Futuristic Styles at Hairdressing Convention (c1950, 16mm, silent), a sophisticated film shot by Gordon Edwards (now deceased) in Newcastle, New South Wales, we see a popular hairstyle that looks like an atomic-age cone-head. The use of multi-coloured hair dyes, ranging from dusty green to bright pink, adds to the futuristic vision. The film also features 1950s fashion, make-up, products, and an amusing demonstration with a male client and male hairdresser who creates a cone-head piece for him by using a coconut as its base. He then adds flora to it to finish it off.