Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Hair Mags

Oh which hairstyle to choose, which to choose. Perhaps a coiffure a l'inoculation today? On no that was so last season. Trouvais' post on coiffures reminded me about the hair guides of the eighteenth century which helped those fashionably-conscious ladies pick out a new doo. These were especially popular in fashion-conscious France. As the post goes on to say, cook turn hairdresser, Legros de Rumigny produced a very popular coiffure brochure in 1768-70 with the modest title of L’Art de la Coeffure des Dames Francoises avec des estampes, ou sont representees les tetes coeffee. You can see some of the illustrations from it here. Unfortunately for Legros, he was never able to continue producing his hair guides for he was stampeded to death during one of the celebrations for Louis and Marie Antoinette's wedding. She totally missed out on his hair expertise!

But of course there were many other hair almanacs. You can find some of them on this great french website. The Almanach de Modes, for example, was a very thorough hair guide, complete with beautiful illustrations. The book names the hairstyle, gives a little song about it, and then of course there is the illustration and commentary. That's a lot more extravagant than our modern hair mags. Much more elegant as well!

8 comments:

Trouvais said...

Hi Heather. Thanks for the additional info. What triggered my curiosity was that c. 1790 "powdering" jacket...must have been a very lengthy and messy process...

Polonaise said...

So interesting and elegant! There were even powdering closets, too, to contain the mess. There's one I know of in Bath, in the corner house on Gay St., just before the Jane Austen Centre. You can even peek in the window. And who can forget the fabulous opening to Dangerous Liaisons with John M having his hair powdered. (Gee, I wonder why they didn't show it being "dampened" first. Guess lard doesn't do well under movie lights, huh?)

I'll stop rambling now. Powdered hair just does something to me!

Trampled is a horrid way to go. I can't even imagine, poor man.

Heather Carroll said...

The opening scene of Ridicule also has a fantastic opening scene where a woman is being powdered from head to foot by her handmaids blowing powder off paper.

Ms. Lucy said...

Hi:) Thanks for the incredible links..you're a jewel finder! That Trouvais site is incredibly awesome. Thanks:)

Anonymous said...

Does anyone know how long these hairstyles would last? I've heard stories of women sleeping sitting up, and being so time consuming I would assume it wouldn't be a one day thing. But any idea on a definite length, a week say? Wonder when it got old.

Eliza Ward said...

I wished hairstyles like that were still in fashion, til I read Queen of Fashion. Reading the descriptions of them (like the ones with baskets of fruit and vegetables), I now feel that they must have been a huge pain. Literally! Their necks must have ached constantly. And imagine the clouds of bees and wasps that would follow poufs with flowers and fruit.

Lauren said...

@Eliza HAHAHA

Heather Carroll said...

@Anon- You guessed it. It could last for as long as the wearer desired! Weeks or hours.

Eliza presents a very good point!