Many times in the past I have attempted to achieve the gravity defying hairstyles seen on Venetian women without much success. I normally make do with my hair in braids and the customary mass of pearls through my hair. I was determined that this time I was going to make it happen. My apprentice, Lady Agnita Loredan de Rovigo and I had been discussing for some time how to achieve these styles.
The Anticipation Style.
Images of braided hair seem to correspond with a ladies toilet, or, a more casual around the villa hairstyle. This is the preliminary stage of the high hair look. Just as now hot rollers or curling wands are used, these braids provide the body needed for the hair to become more architectural.
Let it not be said however that this was not an adorned styling. Images oftern portray braided hair having strands of pearls wound and looped through the braided foundations.
Bathing Susanna detail,
Dance, Detail" (Fresco)
Giovanni Antonio Fasolo, c1565, Villa Caldogno, Vicenza
pleading with Massinissa, detail, Fresco Giovanni Antonio
Villa Da Porto Colleona, Thiene, Vicenza
The Everyday Style.
While braids are still employed in this style, they are less conspicuous. Hair has a central part and a braided bun worn on the back of the head. This leaves the ears and face exposed. This style was far less work than the masses of braids, and very much less work than the towering hair styles to follow. Functional in nature, this style is most often depicted on women in their homes but not in as casual a setting as the braids.
Woman in White, detail, Titian 1555
Oil on Canvas
|Venetian Lady, detail,1570 Paolo Veronese, oil on canvas, Munich, Alte Pinakothek||Sopohonisba,
pleading with Massinissa,
detail, Fresco Giovanni Antonio Fasolo, c1560
Villa Da Porto Colleona, Thiene, Vicenza
The Festive Style.
The styling of the hair to give an architectural aspect in that anything from a slightly elevated roll at the beginning of the hair line, to the towering horned style, would appear to be reserved for festive occasions. The ground work of the braided hair would seem to be essential to help give structure to the hair so that this style could be created.
of a Woman Revealing her Breasts detail,
|Portrait of a Venetian Noblewoman at the age of 18, detail, Giovanni Antonio Fasolo, before 1572 Mänttä (Finland), The Gösta Serlachius Museum of Fine Arts||Visitazione con dama Veneziana, detail, Hans Rottenhammer, 1596|
Some things never change. Mirrors, combs, brushes, scissors, hair pins, these things have been around in one form or another for a very very long time. Likewise hair colours, and cleansing agents. It is easy to find modern substitutes for all of these things.
At the time these styles were originally created it is reasonable to think that there would have been a need for some type of holding agent, just as we use hairspray today. There most probably was in the form of egg whites. When stiffly beaten egg whites are left to sit, a clear liquid settles off them. This was used by artists as varnish. The same could have been applied to hair styles. In our recent past, punks have used egg whites to achieve their spiked hair styles.
Thankfully now mainstream hair dressing has caught up with adventurous coiffeurs and we can buy product that will give us the desired results, with out any concerns of unfavourable odours.
This is the products I used.
Step 1. Wash and braid hair. This is done the day before. Apply product to damp hair and braid. I have very think hair so I let it dry off to a damp stage. If I left it wet my hair would still be damp in 48 hours if left in braids.
Step 2. Let out all the braids and comb hair.
Step 3. Part hair into the front and back sections. The front section is the most time consuming as this is the towering element of the style.
Step 4. Teasing hair has been a long established practice for adding body to hair when a puffier style is desired. I did in addition to the heavy use of product, I tease my hair.
Step 5. Wind hair from tip to scalp * to form the rolls or points on the front of the head. Don't wind to tightly or you will loose all the volume you have tried so hard to put into your hair. This is the tedious and time consuming part of this style. Because of the length of my hair my arms became very sore. It would be easier if you had a friend to help, especially from this point on.
Step 6. Once you are happy with the shape of your rolls pin in place. use more gel to help secure the position and stop fly away hair.
Step 7. Wit the remaining hair at the back of the head, braid, then arrange into a bun. Pin well so that it wont move.
Step 8. Apply liberal amounts of hairspray to the entire hairstyle.
Step 9. With pearls on hair pins, decorate your hair style as liberally as you wish.
* Special Note. Hair pad can
be bought from some hair dressers that you can roll your hair around to give
extra fullness. Or, you can save the hair that builds up in your hair
brush, then you can do the same thing. There by getting a perfect colour match
too. I have a few I have been saving and forgot to use them. D'oh!
I think in the Victorian era they were called rats.
|Side view||Hair pins with pearls attached||Back view|
Washing out this hair style can be painful. It took me over half an hour to get my hair detangled. Then I needed to wash it. My hair was frizzy and sticky, and desperately needed to be cleaned. This will not stop me doing it again thou.
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