Alfred Hitchcock was obsessed with women’s hair. It’s the ultimate symbol of women’s sexual power; a power that he found both irresistible and terrifying. Vertigo is essentially an examination of his own fascination with feminine appearance. The Hitchcock blondes almost always wore their hair in a compulsively arranged manner, suggesting his desire for perfection and control.

Hitchcock generally did not like loose hair on women. He seemed to find it vulgar rather than casually free. In his last real Hitchcock film, Marnie, the eponymous heroine, played by Tippi Hedren, lets her hair down in the opening scene when she in her slutty black-haired incarnation running away with the money, in the honeymoon cruise scene when is forced to perform her marital duties by Sean Connery, in the final scene with her ex-prostitute mother.
Loose morals? loose hair.

Hitchcock’s female stars —the blondes— are all about forehead. Usually coifed with styles swept back or up off the brow, the women’s faces, not their smartly dressed bodies, are the focus of attention. Most prominent, however, is the Tippi Hedren forehead, with a hairline so high as to be directly above the hinge of the jaw, her teased bangs curving up high before billowing back. Clearly, Hedren is meant to encourage a cerebral response, not animal lust; appreciation of her is best rarefied and spiritualised—her grand forehead should deflect any baser drive. Her hairdo reaches for the clouds, invites an airiness and clarity of manner. She is diminutive, with a very slender neck and a piquant tilt to her head; in The Birds, her chartreuse suit amongst the mellow colour scheme of grays, blues and homey yellows marks her as exotic, elegant but strange bird of paradise amongst the seagulls and swallows of Bodega Bay.

Yet she doesn’t strut or preen. Hedren has a sensible carriage; she wears her well-tailored suits as if she had been paid nicely to model them, and she’s pragmatic about the expectations she must fulfill while working in this capacity. She makes her way through the world with an economy of movement. Her bearing suggests that she knows just what’s appropriate, and can be relied upon not to give more or less. As the black-haired mystery woman in the opening of marnie, Hedren clutches her vivid yellow purse to her side; the purse is puckered suggestively and bulging with lubricious promise, yet, as the camera pulls out, Hedren’s backside isn’t seen to comply with such possibilities. It barely wiggles: this lady is no-nonsense: she travels with measured and determined steps down the platform.