13 April 2024

Steampunk Hairstyling: Tarts and Pies!

Steampunk styling sends a vintage postcard of heat under pressure as days grow shorter and nights grow colder.

Although the look of the era was structured, starched and stiff, what went on in the shadows and alleyways was anything but proper. In olden days, a glimpse of stocking was looked on as something shocking, but in Victorian times, which inspired the current Showtime® series “Penny Dreadful”, women weren’t all straight-laced tea and crumpets.

“Penny Dreadfuls” were the London equivalent of dime-novels. These cheaply produced serial stories, published weekly and hawked on the streets for one penny, were trashy tales of forbidden sex and lurid violence—this was the grisly era of Jack the Ripper, after all perhaps the most infamous penny dreadful: the story of the demon-barber of Fleet Street who slashed his customers into stinky meat-pies, the infamous “Sweeney Todd.”

Period looks with a Steampunk edge find their way into our favorite styles this Fall, including men’s grooming. Jason Atkins, a hairdresser at Salon 359 in Newport Beach, CA, sports a handlebar mustache with neatly twirled ends, a look which would have turned heads a century ago. Atkins recommends that aficionados of the look invest in a moustache comb and blowdryer—use the dryer to warm up a styling wax, such as all-natural Dubs Stache Wax, then wrap the ends of the stache around a pencil for defined, all-day hold.

Atkins also belongs to the Gentlemen’s Beard and Mustache Coalition, and like many of GBMC members, joined in support of Movember, an international organization that combats prostate and testicular cancers with annual fundraising events every November. Like the perfect mustache, ladies’ styles of the era also require precision. Hair, like skin and exposed limbs, was viewed by Victorians and later by Edwardians as evidence of the sinful lustfulness of human nature. With this in mind, a woman who wore her hair loose was regarded as equally loose in terms of her morals.

Corset-tight containment of dark, dangerous energies is the central motif for Joico’s collection, called “Anachronaut.” Joico Global Guest Artist and Educator Liza Espinoza, Partner, who is also Creative and Education Director for Salon Fluxx in Naperville, IL, was inspired by wardrobe designers Rachel Frank for RFD and Rachel Sarah Goldberg of Thanatos Couture. She incorporated various crimped, coiled, and braided hair-pieces into her melancholy yet subversive styles, suggesting the snipped tresses which were treasured as Memento Mori, or Victorian mourning jewelry.

By Victoria Thomas



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