Shades of retro

Official partner of Paris Fashion Week, L'Oreal Professionnel observed how autumn 2012 catwalks paid tribute to the mid-century ages, as codes of the 1950s and 1960s were revisited at shows such at Jil Sander, Prada and Stella McCartney.

Short and cropped Ingenue Blonde.

Likewise, hairstyles also reflected this golden age, from incredibly voluminous bouffants and beehives at dSquared and Oscar de la Renta to boyish and almost androgynous at Lanvin and Balenciaga.

"We are coming out of a period where hair has been very natural, easy, almost DIY. Now I have the distinct impression that we are returning to a worked elegance that suddenly feels new," said Odile Gilbert, Hollywood hairstylist and L'Oreal Professionnel's artistic director for the autumn/winter 2012 collection called Retro Nouveau.

"So, while we see a lot of hairstyles coming back from the 1950s and 1960s, they are always fresher, lighter and more touchable. We don't want women to look like they are coming straight out of a vintage Hollywood film, but simply have that slight touch or influence."

Three golden age beauty icons, Twiggy, Liz Taylor and Brigitte Bardot inspired the Retro Nouveau looks Ingenue Blonde, Vixen Violet and Siren Copper.

"Recently, there have been a lot of models and actresses that have chopped off their locks, so we thought immediately of Twiggy," said Gilbert. "It can't just be one golden blonde or it looks like a helmet. So we played with various frosted shades to create a colour with dimension and depth for the Ingenue Blonde look."

For the mid-lengths and very voluminous Liz Taylor-inspired Vixen Violet, hair is layered, coming to life with waves and sweeping sections in a rich violet, almost aubergine shade.

Brigitte Bardot owed her sensual aura to her tousled, dishevelled locks with seductive volume. Siren Copper takes inspiration from her sexy look in the 1963 film, Le Mepris (Contempt).

"We wanted to revisit her slightly backcombed sexy hair, but looking at the more seductive and playful side," said Gilbert. "This type of hair is always influential. It's beautiful, sculptural, glamorous, but forever modern because Brigitte was a liberated woman."

Adding modern touches to the three autumn/winter 2012 looks, L'Oreal Professionnel's Shadow Illusion technique creates a shadow effect on the roots that enhances hair volume and texture.

"I think that 21st century women have a desire to revisit that retro sensuality, but with a modern touch. The Retro Nouveau collection brings both of these desires together," concluded Gilbert.