When it comes to big hair, nobody did it quite like the High Baroque period—big hairdos were in the paintings of 17th century artist, Jacob Ferdinand Voet (pictured above). It was basically, the bigger, the better.
Now, a new exhibition opening at The Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris celebrates the relationship between art, fashion and hair opening on April 5.
Des Cheveux et des poils (Hair & Hairs) features the art of the hairstyle, and how it has played a role in society for centuries. Over 600 artworks will be on view from the 15th century to present day, showing how hair has always been a vehicle of self-expression in fashion. From Andy Warhol’s wigs to old combs, it’s a walk through the long history of hair.
Expect to learn about Léonard Autier, a hairdresser of Marie-Antoinette, as well as works by award-winning Spanish hairdresser, Alexis Ferrer, who developed a hair printing technique for his collection, La Favorite, which is inspired by the 18th century gardens of French palaces (below).
There will also be extravagant hair pieces as fashion from contemporary designers like Alexander McQueen, Martin Margiela, and Josephus Thimister, as well as a highlight on studio hairdressers like the Carita sisters, Monsieur Antoine, and Alexandre de Paris.
According to the museum’s press release, a few key hairstyles will be featured, like the 1770 hairstyle of the moment called the Poufs, the 19th century looks inspired by ancient Greece, and the Pompadour hairstyle.
It also covers the development of facial hair in fashion, and what it meant in society. From 16th century beards symbolizing courage, to 18th century wigs worn by courtiers, it also covers the rise of the mustache in the 19th century, as well as sideburns. Old combs, brushes, and curling irons will be on view, as well.
The press release mentions pop culture moments that defined hair, like the 1972 Cosmopolitan magazine photo shoot with Burt Reynolds posing naked (abundant in body hair), as well as one of Andy Warhol’s blonde wigs, which he wore in photo shoots. These very wigs have been the subject of museum exhibitions and have been called works of art.
This exhibition will be a tribute to the barbers, hairstylists and wigmakers that have tirelessly built the hair industry over the decades and centuries. It is not to be missed.
Des Cheveux et des poils (Hair & Hairs) runs until September 17, 2023 at The Musée des Arts Décoratifs in Paris.