Sunday, November 27, 2011

Marie Antoinette's Poufs

I have started to prepare for a trip to France this summer by reading a book about Marie Antoinette. The book, To the Scaffold: The Life of Marie Antoinette by Carolly Erickson, is quite fascinating.

Yesterday, I read about Marie's incredible poufs. In 1774, the women of the court were wearing elaborate hats. But, they started styling their hair in elaborate ways instead. The pouf a la circonstance featured "a cypress and black marigolds, a wheat sheaf, and a cornucopia filled with every sort of fruit and white feathers. The allegorical meaning of the Circumstance Pouf was that while mourning Louis XV, France welcomed the bounty certain to be enjoyed under the new King. A medical coiffure came next, the pouf a l'inoculation. Louis had submitted to being inoculated against smallpox about a month after becoming King, and the new hairstyle commermorated this with a rising sun, an olive tree and a serpent entwined around the trunk, a flower club near him." (quote from the above book)

Another amazing pouf was coiffure a 'Independance ou le Triomphe de la Liberte (shown above) which celebrated a naval victory in the American War for independence.

I particularly enjoyed a post I found on the subject at a blog entitled "Dressed in Time: Historical costuming with a special love for the 18th century." The post is called "Wiggery and poufs!"  The author tells all about the poufs: how they were powdered, how they scratched their itchy heads (with a tool called a grattoir), how they slept (with their hair wrapped in a triple bandage), how they protected their hair from the elements, and much, much more! I found it absolutely fascinating!

1 comment:

Marjorie said...

Where are you all going in France? How long do you have? There is so much to see if you get out of Paris! Big cities are nice but too similar. Yawn! I hope you all can visit several of the regions.

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