I would like to ask women: “How long does it take your hairdo routine?” I assume, in casual morning it takes about 10 minutes and not more than 2 minutes for a man who has short hair. Can you imagine if this process will last all day from dusk till down, and only to get to the fancy club? Well, hard to believe, but there were times when it was pretty common. Moreover in XVIII century in was rather bad manners to have similar hairdo, hair length or even color.
History of hair do in XVIII is very amazing and novel, as historians say 18 century was “women century”. That was a time of contradiction; equally difficult and simple, extravagant and unbelievable difficult hairdos. Hair and hairdos were always peculiar reflection of common haute couture tendencies, and as all know Rococo was the ruling style in XVIII century.
History of women hairdos and haircut could be divided onto several relative periods. Till 1713 year, ladies from the high society still wear fontange (cap consisting of rows of starched lace), its from varied a lot.
New fashion trend on hats started in 1713, after ceremonial dinner at Versailles, when Duchess Shrewsbury appeared in front of Louis XIV without fontange, with slightly curly hair adorned with bow and flowers. Occasionally Lois liked it, considering fact that he was European trendsetter, this event was a prediction of a Rococo style in European hairdos fashion. This so called “simplicity” was a main trend in hairdos in 18 century.
All ladies on the paintings of that time have simple and modes coiffures, yet sophisticated, despite if this lady is a glamorous Marquise de Pompadour, chest Maria Theresa, or young Catherine form Zerbst. Just follow the names of these hairdos- “butterfly”, “sentimental”, “mystery”, “sissy”.
However, from the middle of 70th of XVIII century new trend appeared: hairdos started to “grow up” again. And one more time, women coiffures became sort of difficult constructions like in the age of fontange. They used not only own hairs, and fake ones, but also use of horse mane were very common, because hairdos were so complex and high, they needed huge amounts of hairs.
Particularly exquisite ladies used everything they could find- bows, jewelry, flowers, berries.
Some say, new young favorite of Lous XV- Madame du Barry- modest lady, that suddenly become kings favorites. Besides her, there was one more trendsetter young dauphin Marie Antoinette. When she became queen, most of her time she spent creating new outfits and hairdos. Her private stylist Leonard, had to simply control crazy fantasies of hi client. Mutual work of hair stylist and queen gave the world such highlights as “sensibility explosion”, “voluptuous”, “secret passion”… compare with pale “sissy” or modest “butterfly” from previous period.
The most elegant women create on their heads whole compositions from birds, statues and even mini gardens, with small artificial trees. The well known A-la Belle Poule hairdo with frigate belongs to this period too. Creation if such hairdo could take all day, and was worn for several days, sometimes even week.
Naturally, it was impossible to sleep with these coiffures, furthermore such huge and complex construction on the heads were a shelter for a lots of lice. The only way to relief itch was to use special sticks.
Eventually, by the beginning 80th of 18 century, rococo style hairdos become simpler and modest. “Planter” and “sails” started to disappear. Only the bows and muslin cloth stayed at fashionistas arsenal. Women with full blown but simply adorned hairdos are watching at us from the Goya, Vigée Le Brun, and Gainsborough paintings. French revolution changed it all, high hairdos fell into oblivion, and later ladies worn pretty simple and elegant hairdos.
Honestly, don’t think these old traditions could survive in modern fast days. Spending whole day to get your hair done, it’s totally beyond any sanity. Meanwhile, for those who wants to look elegant, not spending a lot of time, there are simple tools- hair bushes.