"I never have cared for that Joan of Arc business or whatever they call it."
Louise Brooks
Public DomainLouise Brooks - Credit: Bain News Service
Louise Brooks on the cover of 'Photoplay' (1927)
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike Depiction of Louise Brooks on the cover of 'Photoplay' (1927) - Credit: Luke McKernan

 Joan of Arc (known in French as Jeanne d'Arc) was a 15th century French peasant girl whose divine visions inspired her to take a leading role in the Hundred Years War. Following her capture by the Burgundians, she was burnt at the stake for heresy at the age of 19. She was canonized (declared a saint) by the Roman Catholic church in 1920.

In 1909, the French hairdresser Antoine devised a short haircut for women known as coupe à la Jeanne d'Arc (Joan of Arc cut), the inspiration for which may have been a painting by Alfred Lynch. It became known in English as the bob.

The bob style, which is often fringed, is created by cutting the hair uniformally at jaw level, or slightly higher. In the 1920s, it became particularly associated with an emancipated breed of young women who were given the name flappers in English and garçonnes in French. During the latter part of the decade, its popularity was given a further boost by films starring the American actress and dancer Louise Brooks, whose hair was cut in a very sleek bob style.

Click here to see a picture of the young Daphne du Maurier with bobbed hair.