Besides entertainment, movies are precious time capsules. They allow us a glimpse into the past where we can view fashions and attitudes that seem distant yet achingly familiar.
When Veronica Lake (b. Constance Frances Marie Ockelman) and her peek-a-boo hair burst on the scene in I Wanted Wings, 1941—her distinctive look stole the movie—the public frenzy was nearly instantaneous. Women tried to emulate the Lake look while men smiled indulgently even as they dreamed of being on the receiving end of a sultry one-eyed glance.
The public had no idea that Veronica Lake was a deeply troubled and troublesome young woman—to her fellow actors she was known as “The Bitch”—an alcoholic in the grip of bipolar disorder which destroyed three marriages, Lake’s relationship with her children, her career, and eventually her liver.
The only danger of which the public was aware came after America’s entry into the war when women flooded into heavy industry and discovered that their long hair could get caught in machinery.
Like so many in Hollywood during World War II, Veronica Lake pitched in with this fashion pitch: