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A legendary stylist is with us no more: Margaret Vinci Heldt, confirmed creator of the beehive, has died at age 98.

Big up-dos and sculpted hair styles weren’t new, but Heldt is credited with the beehive proper. According to her obituary in the Chicago Sun-Times, she was already well-known when she created the famous look, having won the 1954 National Hairdresser of the Year Competition.

Modern Beauty Shop Magazine asked Mrs Heldt to develop a fresh and exciting style. Inspired by the shape of a favourite Fez hat, she developed the beehive. Mrs. Heldt revisited her creative process with in 2012:

“I thought, ‘What am I going to do that hasn’t been done before?!’ So I went home, took out my mannequin, and started playing. I remembered a little hat I owned, sort of a fez, which was really popular with Jackie O., and really loved it. I’d always thought, ‘Someday I’m going to invent a hair style that’s going to fit right under that little hat.’ Then, I realised, that’s exactly what I should do for the photo shoot!”

The style quickly became the defining look of its era and remains an influence on hair styling today. “I had no idea back then it would still be around” Heldt told the Chicago Sun Times in 1991. “This is so much fun.”

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