Fred the Hairstylist was a “famed hairdresser to glamorous New Yorkers” from the mid 1930s to at least the late 1950s, according to several little ads I’ve found. But my attempts to delve into the mysteries of Fred have not been as successful as I’d hoped. One of his ads had the catchy line: “If your hair is not becoming to you, you should be coming to Fred the Hairstylist.”
I think what intrigues me is his name. So bland. So boring. And yet he appeals to the glamorous ladies of New York high society! Or so he says. I want to know more, Fred. Tell us more!
Happily, Retro Belles can tell us a little bit more. They are selling a 1940 issue of a trade journal called Modern Beauty Shop. I love that name, and I also love the question that they pose:
In designing a new coiffure for a patron’s new Spring bonnet, have you been stumped by a stubborn cowlick? [Haven't we all.] Fred the Hairstylist has made a special study of this problem which is well worth your attention.
Thanks for that, Fred. My cowlick and I thank you. I wish I knew what it was you’ve done, but I think it has something to do with a Cold Permanent Wave treatment you devised.
There are two pages from the Modern Beauty Shop magazine that you can take a look at over there, and
the hairstyles are all very swirly and a lot like the Venida Hair-Do of the Month.
In the 1930s his address was 18 East 49th Street which is between Madison and Fifth and about a block from St. Patrick’s Cathedral – in other words, a very fancy area, then and now.
In 1958 this ad listed his address as (still) 18 East 49th, but said that some of his “expert stylists” were in town (Fayetteville, New York) at the Hotel Syracuse. They would “adapt current coiffures in Vogue to suit your individuality” with a cut, shampoo and set for $5. The lady in this ad has a short curled hairstyle with a rather puffy top bit that doesn’t look terribly 1950s-fashionable to me, but what do I know? She looks happy enough and if it’s good enough for her and Fred the Hairstylist, then that’s all right.