Exploring historical hirsute trends is France’s hairiest exhibition.

I never expected to hear a royal wig made of pubic hair and Tom Selleck’s mustache mentioned in the same sentence, but the Museum of Decorative Arts in Paris is full of unexpected discoveries.

Both are a part of the museum’s current exploration of the connection between the human body and fashion, “Des Cheveux et des Poils,” which translates to “Hair and Body Hair” (or fur). Previous exhibitions have questioned footwear, dress code, and underwear.According to the museum, the exhibition, which includes 600 pieces from the 15th century to the present, “demonstrates how hairstyles and how to groom of human hair have added to the construction of appearances for centuries.”
A good amount of the bizarre is on exhibit, including many animal-themed wigs and a full body suit that looks like a blonde Wookie. The Selleck facial hair exhibit features clips from “Magnum, P.I.” even though his mustache is still affixed to his top lip. The aforementioned royal wig, which was allegedly made of hair from his mistresses’ nether regions and was worn by Britain’s Charles II, is depicted elsewhere as an empty stand; it is thought that the original was destroyed.

The show makes use of these objects to demonstrate how hair has long been taken advantage of by fashion and used to express identity, while bordering on the weird. Wherever it may be, hair has served as a tool for protest and societal advancement, as well as for self-expression and oppression.
“Fashion museums may be found all throughout the world, and universities teach courses on the history of the industry. But frequently, the topic of beauty is overlooked, she said CNN. On a global and historical scale, “there are so many strange and wonderful things that occurred within hair and beauty that tell us so much about what was going on in the world (at the time).”

Several dozen individuals had lined up before the exhibition’s 11 a.m. start time on the day I visited.

Trop noire by Laetitia Ky in 2020.

We entered a dimly lighted space with chronologically arranged photographs of ladies on the walls. The progression revealed the development of hairdos in medieval Europe, when most people followed Christian traditions and covered their heads with a cowl or veil.
Women’s hair began to be more prominent in the 16th and 17th centuries, with French women’s previously hidden locks reaching new heights in the 1770s as depicted in Jean-Baptiste-André Gautier-Dagoty’s 1777 painting “Portrait of a Woman.” Although the subject’s hazel eyes and thick eyebrows catch the eye, it is impossible to ignore the tall hairstyle she is rocking: a “high roll,” created over a crinoline pillow.

The high roll, which required a lot of planning, was popular among the French nobility and later spread to England and the United States.
Long hair was still fashionable throughout the 18th century, although not everywhere, as seen by the ghastly party theme that first appeared in 1795, just after the French Revolution’s Reign of Terror. At so-called “bals des victimes” (victims balls), relatives of individuals who had been murdered by guillotine attended. One eyewitness from the time recalled that they “cut their hair short round the neck, just as the executioner cuts the hair of victims.”

A sign of the times: hair
Other fearless ladies of the time adopted the cropped cut as a look. Around 1810, French artist Louis-Leopold Boilly painted Madame Fouler, one of the era’s most famous fashion figures, with one of the short hairstyles that came to be known as the “Titus.” Non-profit French research institution The intended chaos of the style, according to a hairdresser from the era quoted by the Napoleon Foundation, “gives an air of youth and replaces all ornaments, jewels, and feathers.”

Of course, fashion trends in clothing and hair are cyclical. In the 1920s, women’s short hair made a resurgence with the bob, first for practical reasons (women and nurses serving in World War I found it easier), and later for fashion reasons.

Men’s hair cycles are also noticeable. I observed a young woman at the exhibit examining the subject of a 16th-century portrait by Flemish Renaissance artist Pieter Pourbus. She commented, “That seems like a hipster.
Men’s body hair is a topic that is also looked at in terms of art and media. The exhibition questions why so many of history’s most well-known representations of males — like Michelangelo’s “David” — show them with no body hair at all. Even Joseph-Desire Court’s picture of Samson and Delilah from 1821 depicts the biblical character without hair on his body. Samson is renowned for getting his power from his thick hair. I was particularly intrigued in the study because my friends frequently make fun of the fact that I wear a sweater to the beach.

In a museum exhibit, it was stated that hairless male bodies in art represented the idealized figure, whereas hairy bodies were connected to “virility, or even triviality.” Men’s body hair has traditionally only been depicted in athletic depictions, sensual images, and medical engravings, according to the exhibition. While art students in 19th-century schools were taught to depict what they saw, including hair, they were also trained that “in paintings and sculptures intended for public exhibition, body hair, considered repulsive, must not appear,” according to the museum text.Maison Margiela's ready-to-wear Spring 2009.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *