Much planning has already gone into The Barn Owl gown, from the undergown to the robe, to the underpinnings, and hair is not to be left out! I am mainly starting down this road because I have been looking almost entirely in vain for a good, definitive “How To” for making late 18th century wigs. It seems like everyone wants to keep this a secret (or my Google skills are fail).
Truth be told, I am completely petrified by the idea of creating this wig. I have almost none of my own hair to speak of, so I can’t use extensions, falls/partials, since it will look funny. I may even have trouble blending the wig with my existing hair, and then there’s always the problem of the haircolors not matching, since mine is always in a state of change.
So my intention here is to relieve the fearful and educate the curious by flopping my way through the construction of what will hopefully be Hair of Great Enormity.
The 1790s Hair of Great Enormity is essential to the costume and should be regarded as having as much importance as any piece of the dress. Without the hair, the whole ensemble just doesn’t come off right. WITH the hair, you’ve catapulted yourself into costume awesomeness, hopefully appearing as if you’ve just stepped out of a painting.
Step 3 – Wig is dry/cool, so unroll the curlers (if you’ve dipped or hot-rolled), and run your fingers through the curls to separate them. Then pull out your trusty rat-tail comb and start teasing the bejeezes out of the hair. In my experience, this turns out bad, but let’s trust it this one time. I reckon it will take quite a lot of playing with, sculpting, twisting, resculpting, finger-curling, and all manner of fiddling to get the shape and height you want. All through this, of course, there will be a cloud of hairspray slowly suffocating you.
By all accounts, wig should be successful and you’re ready to wear it. Blending the wig with your real hair involves hairspray, pins, fiddlage, and do make sure the wig is attached securely to your head. I intend to dance in mine, so I will have to take pains to avoid the monstrosity flying off my head, hitting people in the face, or causing a nasty headache.
Photos/Pics are from “The Duchess,” “Marie Antoinette,” and “The Affair of the Necklace.” There are lots more great photos at The Costumer’s Guide To Movie Costumes.
Now, you may be mad at me because I didn’t post any pictures of me actually making this wig. This is because I haven’t made it yet. Rest assured I will post an extensive, in-depth, edifying tutorial when the wig actually happens!