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Coiffure Legendaire: Léonard, the First Hairdresser of the Celebrities

Sunday, 24 November 2013 14:52

Léonard Autié, the famous hairdresser of Queen Marie Antoinette, was the first great famous hairdresser of modern history.

To get to know him, we have dived in the archives of the Museum of History of Hairdressing of Raffel Pages, where interesting images of time and historical documents and texts like 'Léonard Souvenirs' or 'Personal Journal of Leonard', allows us to explore into his world, and the hair he dealt with that made him famous in the courts of Europe.

Curiosities of life, Léonard began working in a salon of which would end up being a great competitor of theirs, the illustrious Legros of Rumigny – first hairdresser to publish hairstyles in paper form-, he felt a lot of antipathy but that would soon surpass when he reached fame. Next in the world of the theater, Léonard began to style some actresses of the era, to which the press and public opinion was pleased to be baptized at the time as the 'Leonardees' in reference to the eye-catching hairstyles he gave them. And that was how he began to acquire name and popularity and be considered one of the greatest hairdressers in Paris.

In 1779, Léonard was required to form part of the service of the Queen, in the Palace of Versailles, where Marie Antoinette was already the most famous Queen in Europe. In this sense, the Queen found Leonard the perfect accomplice to build what would be a ground-breaking, sensual and superlative image,'Marie-Antoinette, the teen Queen'… something that was reflected in the film (2006) by Sofia Coppola. In this way, Léonard was right to create sophisticated and extravagant looks for the enthusiast Marie-Antoinette, who helped spread the fame of her hairdresser affecting other dames of French nobility and the Court to adopt his ornate and extravagant style.

From the hand of his extraordinary position at the Palace, Léonard came to mark in the fashion world prior to the French Revolution! It definitely helped that he was the Royal dressmaker and great friend of his, madame Rose Bertin. His creations were based on very high hairstyles –that made women have to crouching in the carriages– with surprising embellishments such as gauze, jewels, feathers, flowers, fruits including scale models of ships and castles! Thus was created the famous 'Pouf au sentiment' or simply 'Pouf' which is the name with which went in hair history because of Léonard's hairstyles.

More information:

  • Léonard, Coiffeur de Marie Antoinette

  • Marie Antoinette by Gautier Dagoty

  • Journal Intime de Léonard

  • Rose Bertin

  • Marie Antoinette by Joseph Boze

  • Léonard

  • Souvenirs de Léonard

  • Marie Antoinette by Adolf Ulrich Wertmuller


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