Newsletter No. 5-08 (Aug. 2008)   Page 2 of 5 / Sidan 2 av 5. [back to page 1]
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This newsletter is written in order to spread experiences within the topic of historic textiles and reconstructions. Our ambition is to amuse you and stimulate interest in the 18th Century. Durán Textiles, who is mainly working with museum collections and Royal Castles, was founded in 2002 by CEO and production manager Laila Durán, with co-worker artist Torkel Henriksson who is doing the artworks and preparing the designs for production. Our production is done mostly in India supervised by Duran Textiles inspectors. 
- The articles are mainly written by Laila Durán but we also have help from colleagues and specialists from several museums and universities.  In the future this newsletter will be distributed four times a year and is free of charge. We hope you will enjoy our stories and offers and help us to spread the letter to friends and colleagues. Contact:

Detta nyhetsbrev skrivs för att sprida erfarenheter inom ämnet rekonstruktioner av historiska textiler och 1700-talet. Ambitionen är att roa och stimulera intresset. Durán Textiles har varit verksamt sedan 2002 och arbetar med projekt för Kungliga Slott och museisamlingar i hela Skandinavien. Laila Durán är VD och projektledare, Torkel Henriksson arbetar med originalen och alla förlagor för tryck och väv. På plats i Indien, där de flesta av tygerna produceras, finns Durán Textiles egna inspektörer.
- Artiklarna skrivs huvudsakligen av Laila Durán men vi får även hjälp av kollegor och specialister från olika muséer och universitet.  Nyhetsbrevet kommer i fortsättningen att komma ut fyra gånger per år och är helt kostnadsfritt. Vi hoppas ni ska uppskatta våra artiklar och erbjudanden och även sprida informationen vidare till Era vänner. Kontakt:



Le Pouf – High Fashion in Hairstyles.
Text Martin Ciszuk.

Enormously high coiffures are often associated with the 18th century fashion and are frequently copied in costume for film, theatre and masquerade. This style was actually only fashionable in the 1770-ies and beginning of the 1780-ies. It is claimed that the fashion was invented in 1774 by Marie Antoinette’s Marchande de modes, Rose Bertin (who had the function as a stylist with several textile suppliers working under her) and her hairdresser Léonard. The hairstyle could, however, also be seen as the extreme development of the fashion of the 1760-ies with its rising coiffures. Marie Antoinette might be called a fashion queen, but she was never a fashion designer. She became the focus of the growing French fashion industry through her extravagant court life and consumption of luxury. It was during this period that fashion plates started to be distributed in wider circles, and Paris fashion became a concept that was followed in all Europe. Caroline Weber shows in her book how the queen used fashion as a tool for reaching both political and personal aims.

The towering hairstyle was named pouf, and was an advanced construction that needed professional help to set up. The ladies hair was combed over wigs and frames made of metal wire and false hair. The hair was frizzled and shaped with iron curlers, hair pins and pomade, and covered with powder. The coiffure was then decorated with ribbons, laces, plumes, artificial flowers, beads and jewellery. It was commonly crowned with a cap of silk and lace, but sometimes it was adorned with miniature figures of fabric and papier maché arranged in complete sceneries or landscapes. The coiffure could not be undone in the evening, so the ladies were obliged to sleep half sitting, with their hairdo wrapped in protecting fabric, resting on piles of cushions. Commonly the hairdresser remade the hair once a week. Because the hair was seldom washed the coiffures easily were inhabited by vermin. Specialised tools with long shafts, grattoirs, were used to scratch the head inside the hairdo. When going outside a hood with bows of cane, a calash, was worn to protect the coiffure.

New styles of poufs were constantly promoted with new names referring to the personality or situation of the wearer, pouf au sentiment, or to actual events, pouf à la circonstance. Most famous of the latter is le pouf à la belle Poule , decorated with a full sailing ship, and named after the French frigate who played an important part in the defeat of the British fleet in a naval battle in June 1778. Other, like the coiffure à l’Iphigénie, could reflect a passion for the latest opera by Glück.

The fantastic hairstyles were not a uniquely French feature. The fashion spread rapidly all over Europe and also to Sweden. At a ball held at Count Wrangel´s in Stockholm 1780. The wife of chamberlain Stiernkrona, Elisabeth Stegelman, aroused great attention with a coiffure three times higher as the other ladies. ”On each side of the head the hair was combed into three curls of which the lowest fell down on the shoulders. The other two curls were three times thicker than common before and were placed a good hand span from each other. At the top the hair ended in a large toupee, pointed in the front, and over all this a wide bonnet was resting under two enormous plumes. The latter were so high that their wearer could not reach them with her hands”.

The oversized coiffures became a target for caricatures and moralities over an exaggerated fashion. Prints were distributed showing the hairdresser climbing on ladders to reach the hair; ladies who do not have room for the coiffure in their chariot, leaning out of the window or couching on the floor of the carriage; birds nesting in the hair or fruit trees growing from the hairdo. There are stories about what could be hidden and found inside the coiffures; or how the high hairdos got entangled in the chandeliers causing fire in the ballroom. On the opera, ladies with poufs were restricted to sit in the boxes, because they obscured the view of the audience in the stalls. The enormous powdered coiffures also became a symbol of how the French aristocracy wasted the resources of the country. The white powder consisted mainly of wheat flour. In times of famine there where flour riots when the lowest classes were lacking flour for their bread at the same time as the highest class used it for their vanity. At the French revolution it happened that the disembodied heads of aristocrats where coiffures and powdered before being spiked on stakes by the revolting masses.

The high coiffures in Duran Textiles costume photos are wigs where the models hair is combed over the front of the hairdo to show a natural hairline. Inside the wig pieces of Styrofoam gives the hair volume without being too heavy. Finally the hair is fixed with a lot of strong hairspray – a completely modern innovation of the 1960-ies that again made voluminous hairdos fashionable.

Ann-Sofi Topelius: in Klädd och oklädd. Nationalmusei utställningskatalog nr 589, Stockholm
Caroline Weber: Queen of Fashion, what Marie Antoinette wore to the revolution.
Stella Blum ed.: Eighteenth-Century French Fashions in Full Colour.
Linda Baumgarten: 18th century clothing at colonial Williamsburg.

High coiffure decorated with plumes.
The dress made from Durán Textiles’ embroidered silk ROCOCO.
The wig is made by Julia Mengarelli, Stockholm. Photo: Laila Durán.



A lady gets her hair done, Gallerie des modes 1778; note the opening in the top of the coiffure that would be covered by the decoration.

Le Pouf à la belle Poule, French engraving 1778.

Le Pouf à la Victoire - decorated with a laurel wreath, Gallerie des modes 1778.

A lady wearing a calash hat. Note the tape hanging in the front that would be held in the hand to prevent the calash from collapsing backwards. Hand coloured print, Carington Bowles, London 1780.

Caricature of hairdressers, the original is in Kulturen i Lund, Sweden.

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