27 March 2023

Coiffure Legendaire: the Birth of the Haute Coiffure

With the wars of religions, during the monarchical Europe, towards the 17th century, the center of hairdressing moved from Italy to France.

It was actually in Paris, where they were soon developing monumental hairstyles, which encouraged the emergence of the tradition of the Haute Coiffure, from the hand of great characters such as Champagne, the first celebrity hairstylist to switch up the established roles of men styling men and women styling women.

Champagne agreed to style female nobility and opened one of the first luxury salons in Paris. Or the famous confidante and hairdresser of Queen Marie Antoinette – Léonard, who would show the limitless extremes of hairpieces and wigs and his invention of ‘poufs au sentiments’, decadent hairstyles of high altitude and extravagance, dusted with white flour. Léonard managed to extend this fashion beyond the borders of his reign and spread it throughout the monarchic Europe, establishing the birth of the Haute Coiffure Française global prestige.

But the old regime would fall at the height of the poufs and wigs, which were banned during the French Revolution! They were considered a unequivocal sign of affluence and pomp that were in contradiction with the ‘Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité, ou the mort!’, typical of the new Government. Customs and political turmoil led to the birth of a radically different haircut for women: the Titus cut, the first haircut for woman that was very short! This groundbreaking cut, then resumed in fashion in the garçon in the 1920s – this cut was sometimes hid under a hat called ‘folie cache’, when social conventions required it.

Then, throughout the 18th century, celebrity hairstyles evolved with a tendency to be long and spontaneous: hair falling in curls naturally along people’s backs, ornaments with some lacing discrete, coiled and wavy with braids, seashells… which will also cause furor in the emerging 19th century.

By Raffel Pages Museum


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