Margaret Vinci Heldt, hairdresser who took hair to new heights with beehive, dies at 98

Margaret Vinci Heldt, a Chicago hairdresser credited with teasing, sculpting and spraying the first beehive, the conical up do that heralded a towering new era in style when it debuted in 1960, died June 10 at a hospital in Elmhurst, Ill. She was 98.

The cause was heart ailments, said her daughter, Carlene Ziegler.


In the American beauty shops of the 20th century, styles came and went. There was the bob, the pageboy and the bouffant — and then there was the beehive, a hairstyle unrivaled by any other in the heights to which it soared, the volume of hair spray it required to stay in place and the nostalgia it inspired as the years wore on.

The beehive is widely recorded as the creation of Mrs. Heldt, a daughter of Sicilian immigrants who by 1950 had become the proprietress of Margaret Vinci Coiffures on Chicago’s Michigan Avenue. A regular contributor to Modern Beauty Shop magazine, she was invited in 1960 to submit to the publication a new do for the new decade.

“Nothing much had happened since the French twist, the page boy and the flip,” Mrs. Heldt recalled in an interview with the Chicago Tribune. “They told me, ‘We want you to come up with something really different.’ ”

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