"It is very, very rarely, madame, that hair can be successfully dyed blond cendré."
Ash Blonde 1935
Public DomainAsh Blonde 1935
Jean Harlow
Public DomainJean Harlow
The 1930s was the first true era of the blonde. Previously cast as the Madonna to the brunette’s whore, the spectrum of what blondes represented expanded considerably with the rise of bad girls like Jean Harlow, with her solarised, ultra-platinumed locks, and the Rabelaisian Mae West, with her brassy golden froth of curls.




Blond cendré (ash blonde) was a colour frequently associated with wealthy society ladies, being at once youthful and suitably expensive looking (time and money were required for its care: hair dye was harsh and abrasive in the 1930s). It fails to lift Sasha’s spirits as she hopes, and along with her fur, causes the Gigolo to mistake her for a woman of means.