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Last updated: October 04, 2017

Beehive Creator Passes Away at Age 98

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Margaret is pictured in her apartment in 2011. On the table is the
black hat that inspired the look. Image: AP


The Beehive is a look that projects confidence (and the higher it goes, the more cojones the wearer must have). Perfectly coiffed, it’s elegant; mussed up and fuzzy, it’s urban. It’s a style that’s in every hairdresser’s back pocket, because it’s perfect for any situation. We’re revisiting the Beehive in honor of its creator, Margaret Vinci Heldt of Elmhurst, Ill., who passed away last week at age 98.


When Margaret created the Beehive in 1960, she didn’t know she’d set off a cultural phenomenon. As the owner of Margaret Vinci Coiffures in downtown Chicago, she just wanted to give a magazine something new and different for an upcoming issue. She used a favorite hat as the inspiration for the shape. As we know, the look she created made history, and resulted in a style that today’s hairdressers revisit time and time again. And, now as then, the same holds true: “I don’t know how we could have done it without hairspray,” Margaret told the Chicago Sun-Times in 2002.


Margaret graduated from Columbia Beauty School in 1938, and later won a 1954 National Hairdresser of the Year competition. Her salon at 30 N. Michigan Avenue in Chicago operated through the ’50s and ’60s. Margaret’s work is so iconic that the Chicago History Museum hosted an exhibit featuring her Beehives. “It was an instant hit,” she told the Toronto Star in 2011. “It made women feel taller and more elegant, refined and glamorous.”


The look was a smash success through the years. Everyone from Audrey Hepburn to Priscilla Presley, Dusty Springfield to Barbra Streisand (and of course, the gorgeous Amy Winehouse) wore their hair high. Those who rock the Beehive today demonstrate the confidence needed to pull it off—think Adele, the B-52s, Katy Perry and even the queen bee herself, Beyoncé. In honor of Margaret, we pulled some of our favorite Beehives.


Beautiful Beehives. Clockwise from top left: A bridal Beehive by Orlando Pita for Carolina Herrera’s Fall/Winter 2014 New York Fashion Week show; a classic Beehive from L’Oreal Professionnel; a street style Beehive from label.m; a bird’s nest Beehive by Jimmy Paul for Bumble and bumble. at Thom Browne’s Fall/Winter 2013 New York Fashion Week show.