18 May 2024

Coiffure Legendaire: Croisat, the Napoleon of Hairdressing

Nicknamed the Napoleon of Hairdressing, Croisat triumphed in the world of hairdressing in the first half of the nineteenth century, laying the foundations for modern training and professional hairdressing magazines.

Fashion and hairdressing are “ephemeral Arts dying almost in the moment in which are born”, the master Croisat expressed in one of his articles published in the 1830s. The French stylist, known as the Napoleon of Hairdressing, was so advanced for his time. He aimed to dignify the profession, provide it with a systematized method of training and created a magazine to disseminate and publish trends of the time.

In this way, Croisat laid the foundations so that this ‘ephemeral art’ that he considered as the hairdresser, developed tools not only to promote themselves and open up to the world, but also to make it clear of its evolution throughout the time through printed paper. Its legendary volume ‘Méthode de Coiffure’ (1832) – preserved at the Museum of Hairdressing of Raffel Pages – was a unique and indispensable work in their time; they developed their own method of work and how to decipher the art of hairdressing referring to all aspects of the profession: history and descriptions of hairstyles, hair, study of the shape of the face and head, hairpiece manufacturing, preparation, diseases of the scalp, etc. A true compendium of everything a good hairdresser should learn and put into practice, which laid the foundations of modern vocational training.

In the pages of the ‘Méthode’, Croisat claimed that “the variety of hairstyles is almost as great as the variety of faces; therefore we need to know do the scientific sources agree on wearing the hairstyle fashion and adapt it to the character of each person“. “A good knowledge of art gives a hairdresser the base to know how to change the appearance of a little expressive woman or unattractive appearance and giving them a better appearance”, right Croisat.

A logical further step to the edition of his method of hairdressing was, in 1833, the creation and promotion of L’Académie de la Coiffure, demonstrating an example the work of the ‘académies royales’ of France, based on the research and reflection. L’Académie aimed to implement a methodology of work with standards applicable to all trends, allowing hairdressers to learn, create and innovate. In this sense, Croisat was looking for hairdressers that had good social positions and that all the artists related to; the world of fashion and hair were in constant contact and needed to be able to move forward together.

All this is materialized in which is probably his most significant legacy: the first professional magazine in the world of hairdressing, ‘Les Cent-un-coiffeurs de tous les Pays’ (the 101 hairdressers in all countries) which was founded in 1837. A publication that alluded to the 101 most representative era hairdressers in France and which included profusion of illustrations with drawings of professionals works… leading the way for future modern magazines and their publishes of trends! A true pioneer, not only as a hairdresser, but also as a trainer and as editor, Croisat surprised his contemporaries with a rich magazine which was published each month and which was distributed through subscriptions. An adventure that lasted only 4 years but kept his name forever in the history of our profession.


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