With a Twist
The glorious 18th century hairstyle called the ‘pouf‘ and the radical, sleek bob of the 1920s are both covered Encyclopedia of the Exquisite, but not the simple, chic chignon. Since the 5th century, when noble women of Greece adopted the style, it’s been the standard of demure propriety. It was the hairstyle of choice in 17th England, when modesty demanded a woman keep her hair pinned up, and when unloosening her tresses in public was interpreted as either a risque misstep at best, and, at worst, evidence that she was a witch casting a spell.
In the 19th century, chignons were worn large and high, boosted with padding and artificial hair, or low on the neck, with curls hanging down, and decorated with netting, lace, or flowers. In the next century, the famous French hairdresser Jacques Dessange sparked a sexy revival with Brigitte Bardot‘s signature mussed chignon, called the coucroute.