One of the iconic images we first associate with fashion of the 18th century is the Hair Ship, the tiny galleon perched atop a massive coif of curls.
Where did this come from?
In the 1770s, women went berzerk for the creations of Rose Bertin and Leonard – the stylist and hair dresser to Marie Antoinette. The most outlandish of Leonard’s intricate hairstylings featured little vignettes happening throughout the hair – you may be familiar with bird cages in the hair, little villages perhaps. The bigger, more narrative, more complex the headdress, the better.
Leonard’s poufs were also a way for ladies to celebrate or commemorate current events. In the case of Marie Antoinette’s ship, she was celebrating the victory of the French frigate Belle Poule over the British, in 1778.
No doubt more hair ships followed, as Marie Antoinette’s styles were copied religiously, but the Queen never wore her pouf a la Belle Poule again … that was so 1778.
Source: Queen of Fashion: What Marie Antoinette Wore to the Revolution
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