Tuesday, 19 April 2016

"I am terrified of being bored": Marie Antoinette’s Style Influence

Despite she wasn't considered a great beauty in her time, she was a charismatic woman and definitely a trendsetter of 18th century. 
The last and most famous Queen of France, Marie Antoinette, knew how to compensate for her shortcomings and draw attention to herself, impressing her subjects with diversity and uniqueness of her looks.

Of course, one of the most remarkable style traits of Marie Antoinette was her hair. Voluminous hair.

"The bigger the hair, the closer you are to god" 

Big hair was already a trend when Marie Antoinette arrived at the french court, but she took it to even greater heights. Literally. The hairstyles could stand up to 6 feet tall!!!

To have one's hair curled, powdered, and then made huge and grand by the help of expensive wigs was all the rage, and having big hair became a symbol of status and ultimately style.  

That was the finest hour for Leonard Autie - a cheerful Gascon and country barber in the south of France who became the minister of fashion, the inventor of the pouf and premier hairdresser to Queen Marie Antoinette. 

"Léonard came, he came and he was a king"

His ingenuity, daring and desire for experimentation gave the birth to the famous pouf, that was first debuted in the summer of 1775 at Louis XVI’s coronation. Perched upon the queen's head was a heavily teased, heavily powdered tower of hair adorned with white feathers to mark the occasion.

Despite the public reaction that Marie Antoinette's big hair was kind of silly, the style immediately took hold among her friends and the wider public. 

Since then the pouf grew in height and grandeur. It often involved a wire mesh packed with wool, wire framing for support, decorative objects like fruit, feathers, flowers and even a replica of a war ship.


Hairstyles were so big that ladies found themselves kneeling in their carriages, having difficulty walking, sleeping with boxes on their heads, and finding all sorts of vermin building nests in their hair. There also were cases when the doorways were enlarged because of the hairstyles.

But you have to agree, that despite all the inconveniences, those hairstyles looked really impressive. So impressive that even through centuries famous designers and photographers draw inspiration from Marie Antoinette's style.

Nowadays, to achieve Marie Antoinette's hairstyle, you don't have to be fanatical and use lots of devices, glue and powder. All you need is knitted beanie or scarf, placed on your head and secured with bobby pins. Then tease your hair along the full length and arrange it around the beanie.

The basic principle, of course, the bigger, the better :)



Thanks for reading!

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