Stories Photo essay
Sofia Coppola's World

Priscilla, 2023

By Helena Madonna

With a penchant for intimate storytelling usually through the eye of a girl as she navigates life, backed by the perfect soundtrack, Sofia Coppola's films are an entrancing world of atmospheric eye-candy and emotional sensibilities. Her films, like Lost in Translation and Marie Antoinette, invite viewers into richly textured worlds where lingering visuals speak louder than words.

In anticipation of the release of Sofia Coppola’s new biopic Priscilla, Helena Madonna looks back through her ethereal cinematic universe to select her favourite hair aesthetics and styles.

The Virgin Suicides, 1999

Like many of Coppola’s films, the female leads are the subject of fascination. The Virgin Suicides is a tale of tragedy buried in a hazy, angelic almost dreamlike world and at the centre of all that, the Lisbon girls. Always dressed modestly in dusty florals and lace, with many close-ups of their untouched, virgin hair as another symbol of their adolescence. Coppola explained that she enjoys making films for a young audience because she perceives them as smarter and more sophisticated than they are often given credit for.

Marie Antoinette, 2006

Everything about this sugar-coated period drama, Marie Antionette, looked good enough to eat and will satisfy your sweet tooth. An overindulgent feast for the eyes; the heavy use of pastels, the exaggerated gown silhouettes but the star of the show, the collection of pretty and perfected, powdered wigs.

Lost in Translation, 2003

Nestled within the year 2003, Lost In Translation is full of camera phones and Friendster, trucker hats and fedoras, there was a hair trend that had a chokehold on all of us. Thick and swooped to one side, slightly blocking our line of vision were the infamous side bangs. A bold trend that made its way into the melancholic atmosphere of Lost in Translation.

The Bling Ring, 2013

The true crime flick, The Bling Ring is based on a group of fame-obsessed teens who burglarized the homes of celebrities living in the Hollywood Hills in 2013. For hair trends, it was a year full of barely-there highlights and top knots, a year caught in between the end of daily hair straightening and the birth of a more tousled, just-rolled-out-of-bed look.

The Beguiled, 2017

The Beguiled is a claustrophobic, tension-filled period piece. It still carried the common themes of her usual aesthetic but had been redecorated with cold emotion and a bleaker colour palette. Her sharp eye for attention to detail didn’t go amiss, especially when it came to hair design. Each style was period-correct and reflective of the popular styles of the 1860’s.

The curls you see were created without curling irons or hairdryers. Nicole Kidman’s hair was left with her natural wavy texture and neatly pinned. Kirsten Dunst’s hairstyle was designed to reflect her more strict role as a teacher and was done so with tighter braids. The naughtiness of Elle Fanning’s character was symbolised through her looser, more free-flowing hairstyle. Colin Farrell (a wounded soldier the girls find in the woods) was told by the film's hairstylist, Odile Gilbert, to keep his hair dirty and unwashed to maintain authenticity.

More for you...