Some celebrity hairstyles are so lusted after that their names - the “Rachel”, the “Farrah” or the “Pob” (or “Posh Bob”) - become shorthand familiar to hairdressers up and down the land.
But the “Maggie”? We may know the Iron Lady”s look - bouffant and definitely not for turning - but it’s hardly the sort of style that the average girl-about-town sets her heart on when she goes for a blow-dry.
Until now. For the “Maggie” is having a moment. Meryl Streep is bringing the lacquered bouffant to the big screen with great aplomb next month in the much anticipated film The Iron Lady.
The fashion set, too, seem smitten. The Maggie look graced the catwalk earlier this year; Chanel and Marc Jacobs were awash with models sporting “power set” thatches.
Could the Iron Lady be an unlikely new hair inspiration? Yes, the popularity of Mad Men has put curves, red lips and full hips back on the fashion menu, but I sense a power-set hairdo could be a step too far into the history books.
It’s difficult to disassociate the idea of a “set” from the salons of my youth, when I would get my fringe trimmed alongside women sitting in a line with their hair in rollers. Some of these ladies were in their 30s, some in their 60s, but they all seemed to look the same. Old, that is.
Not true, says Jamie Stevens, resident hairdresser on This Morning and celebrity hairdresser of the year. He maintains that a number of clients of all ages have been requesting the style, keen to showcase a more glamorous look.
“Sets are not just for the blue-rinse brigade, we’re now seeing this style on the streets of New York and London.” He cites the way the humble roller has made a comeback, fuelled by the vogue for “big hair”, as favoured by the likes of Cheryl Cole, Kylie Minogue and Beyonce.
So why not give it a go? Could sporting a “Maggie” hairdo transform me from a humble hack into a sexy-but-steely vamp? Intrigued, I agree to go under the dryer. Jamie points out that my hair - fine and bleached to within an inch of its sorry life - is the perfect type for this style. Within 15 minutes I’m washed, rollered up and placed under a bubble heater, something I haven’t experienced since having an ill-judged perm in 1987.
Twenty minutes later, I’m wheeled out again for the “comb out”.
The effect is astonishing. My hair is, quite simply, huge, and this is before Jamie sets about me with his brush, backcombing and back-lifting my mane into what initially looks like a gigantic blonde afro. After just two minutes, my barnet is so enormous that it looks like it would need a separate seat on an aeroplane, and even after Jamie has teased it back, it is still twice as big as my head.
The final effect is very Maggie. But it is also similar to my scary old headmistress, circa 1989. Jamie tells me to “go out and do something fab”. All I want to do is put a hat on and pray for rain.
Taking public transport home seems out of the question; imagine trying to squeeze this girth through a closing door. I get a taxi and can sense the driver checking his rearview mirror from time to time as if to say: “What’s she come as?”. I decide to tell him - it’s Maggie Thatcher.
“It makes you look older,” he says, which is (a) insulting and (b) disconcerting, since I haven’t told him my age.
My neighbour almost falls off her doorstep when she sees me clambering out, while my husband is stunned into silence and, when he finally speaks, has only this to say: “You just look a bit mad.” I am relieved, for while I sense that a certain kind of man might find this look thrillingly attractive, I suspect he would be the sort who still gets “mommy” to take the top off his boiled egg in the morning.
It strikes me that the problem with hair like this is that it requires context. It demands a world of beautifully-fitted frocks, sharp suits, opulent hotel bars, cigarette holders and dry martinis: my timetable for the remainder of the day involves a trip to the supermarket and a date with Coronation Street.
In fairness to Jamie, he has cranked this look up to maximum - turn down the volume a couple of notches and I could see it working, although only on a big, dressy night out. A good night’s sleep makes all the difference, as by morning my hair has settled into softer waves - an effect Jamie has said can last all week.
So if “the Maggie” does catch on you can be assured the style has the legendary stamina of its namesake. - Daily Mail