Thursday, September 12, 2013

Creating Fashionable Coiffures in 1828

Thursday, September 12, 2013
Loretta reports:

Regular readers will be aware of my delight in Romantic Era dress, especially the extravagant sleeves and nutty hairstyles.  Isabella/Susan very recently sent me a link to a site where historical hairstyles are recreated.  This inspired me to investigate how it was done and what hair products they used.  So I turned to my trusty The Lady’s Stratagem.

One style we see again and again involves two or more big loops sprouting from the top of the head.  In fashion plates, these present an interesting hairstyling puzzle, which the recreations (Photo 2, top row.  Photos 1 & 2, second row) help solve.  According to The Lady’s Stratagem, the hair can be tied first or:

“Just as commonly, the hair is not tied:  you gather it and hold it very firmly In your left hand, twist it with this same hand, and immediately place the comb on it to hold it.  Then you make nœuds d’Apollon or Apollo knots; so are called the large loops of hair on the summit of the head.  This style has been in fashion for a long time; every one says that it will last.”

And it did, well into the 1830s, until about 1836-7, when fashion went droopy.
View online here

Since the instructions quoted in The Lady’s Stratagem are lengthy, I can only refer you to that book for the details on creating this style—or, if your French is better than mine, you can follow the directions in Arte de se coiffer soi-même, enseigné aux dames (1828) (here or here).

From what I can determine, one of the hair oils we’ve seen advertised or similar product or a pomade was used to keep hair smoothly in place.


Isobel Carr said...

A lot of those top knots were hair pieces. You see them occasionally in museum collections.

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