Sunday, February 19, 2012

V50: 18th Century Hair of Tall Ships


One of the iconic images we first associate with fashion of the 18th century is the Hair Ship, the tiny galleon perched atop a massive coif of curls.

Where did this come from?

In the 1770s, women went berzerk for the creations of Rose Bertin and Leonard - the stylist and hair dresser to Marie Antoinette.  The most outlandish of Leonard's intricate hairstylings featured little vignettes happening throughout the hair - you may be familiar with bird cages in the hair, little villages perhaps.  The bigger, more narrative, more complex the headdress, the better.


Leonard's poufs were also a way for ladies to celebrate or commemorate current events.  In the case of Marie Antoinette's ship, she was celebrating the victory of the French frigate Belle Poule over the British, in 1778.


No doubt more hair ships followed, as Marie Antoinette's styles were copied religiously, but the Queen never wore her pouf a la Belle Poule again ... that was so 1778.

Source: Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution
This book is fabulous.  I highly recommend it!

13 comments:

  1. When my hair gets long enough to pile on my head I reeeealy want to perch a ship in somehow! I did make a hat with a ship on it for an 18th century costume party a few years ago. Really need to find a way to display it...http://vixenvintage.blogspot.com/2009/06/let-them-eat-cake.html

    xoxo
    Solanah

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    1. Love it! Is the ship lightweight? I haven't tried a ship-in-the-hair yet either, but I'm thinking a couple big, strong alligator clips should keep it secure, if it's lightweight enough.

      To the craft store!

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    2. A woman in my 18th century society had a ship in her hair a couple of years ago. Very impressive, but I have no idea how she did it.

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  2. I read what was available on Amazon of the teaser for the book describing Marie Antoinette's engagement and eventual marriage and their relation to fashion and poltics. Fascinating stuff! I have never fancied myself a follower of 18th century couturie, but now I'm tempted to take a detour and do some more research...

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    1. I had my doubts about the book, too, but it's really engrossing. I think you will like it, even if 18th c. costuming isn't your main focus.

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  3. Now for a tutorial on how to stick a boat on your head...

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    1. Yes, this will have to happen in the future!

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  4. I really want to wear a ship on the top of my hair one day... :D

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  5. I'm planning on putting a stable of horses on top of my wig--ships are *so* overdone! ;)

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    1. YES! Oh that is so awesome. The craft store totally has little horses to add into the hair, as well as tiny ships :-)

      And how great would it be to put a model car in your hair? I think that would be HILARIOUS

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  6. Weeeeelllllll, in my circle I couldn't get away with it, but it would be pretty cool!

    I collect (well, used to collect) model horses, so I already have a variety of them in my possession--I just need to find a stable and some astro turf and I'll be all set!

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    1. yes! oh please take photos when you've got it all concocted! :-)

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  7. I was wandering if there is a painting of a woman with a bird cage in her hair? I just read 'Queen of fashion' but I didn't find something about bird cages in the hair. Where have you read it?
    Thank you for a lovely blog!

    Sofie
    Denmark

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