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Being Beautiful: Real magnolias for steel magnolias


David Creel



I adore magnolias. There's just something magical about the purity of those delicate blooms peeking from the backyard tree through the library windows at me while I write. Majestic glossy green leaves provide a safe haven and a contrast for the imposing presence of the flowers above. One of my favorite things is to bring them inside to keep me company for a day or two, their intoxicating fragrance filling the chosen corner of a room. 


Of course, they'll be gone as quickly as they came since May and June seem to be their main season. The magnolia is so much more than just the state flower; it's the gateway to so many cherished memories for me. When I was growing up, my mama had a porcelain magnolia in full bloom, and although it moved around our home with the changing of the seasons, I remember it as a staple, perhaps on Mama's dresser near a box of Estee Lauder dusting powder or behind the glass of her china cabinet, sharing space with crystal goblets.  


As much as that figurine embellished my childhood, flowers are the quintessential adornment for the most magical of summer hairstyles. The South is painted with colorful blooms in gardens from the Delta to the Pine Belt, and if you love them as much as I do, it's time to find stylish ways to express that adoration.  


Vases might overflow with roses, hydrangeas, even magnolias, but perhaps the most daring use of God's little blessings from the garden is to add some flair to the hair. Pulling the hair into an uncontrived updo, flip, or loose braid punctuated with a gardenia makes my heart skip a beat. Jackson's own Syd Curry, a friend who has coifed many a movie star, made that look famous using Ashley Judd as his Southern muse. Oh, the simple elegance of a bob tucked behind one ear and fastened with nothing more than a Stargazer lily and a bobby pin defines summer for me. 


The love of flowers can be carried over to many things, from a chic headband flanked with lifelike faux blooms of roses, hibiscus and sunflowers to vintage-inspired hair pins, barrettes and combs artistically done up in a floral motif. So, whether your summer is decorated with a fresh version from your own garden or a replica from your grandmother's jewelry box, seize the season for a flower moment.  


Is it old-fashioned? Yes. Do we care? No. Perhaps we could all stand a few more lessons from our grandmothers. 


A few years ago, I draped a room in magnolia wallpaper. After one visit, Mama presented me with a gift I will cherish for a lifetime. That porcelain magnolia bloom from my childhood now sits in my adult home beside a portrait of Mama, near my heart.


Former Columbus resident David Creel owns Beautiful With David salon in Jackson and has 20 years experience in the beauty industry. Contact him at [email protected]


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