It’s hard to think of Marie Antoinette without also imagining her amazing, lofty, elaborate, and gravity-defying hairstyles. Hair was a huge part of Marie Antoinette’s life. Even in the midst of her downfall during the French Revolution in 1789, Marie Antoinette continued to put much attention to detail into her coiffure.
As she prepared for the Mass celebrating the return of the Estates General, the Queen of France quipped to her hairdresser: “Come, Léonard, dress my hair, I must go like an actress, exhibit myself to a public that may hiss me.”
For most of her life, Marie Antoinette’s main hairdresser was a Parisian named Léonard. Leonard was such a big deal that he could only afford to leave his salon in Paris and dress the Queen’s hair once a week- on Sundays. Leonard didn’t get famous for sitting around and doing nothing. This impressive hairdresser is responsible for Marie Antoinette’s most famous hairstyle- the pouf. The pouf was first flaunted in 1774, at the coronation of Louis XVI, and boy, did it ever make waves.
The pouf was not the only hairstyle Leonard came up with for the Queen. Marie fashioned a wide variety of hairstyles such as; the ques-a-co, the pouf sentimental, the mania, the hedgehog, the caricatures, and the coiffure a la belle-poule.
Noble ladies of the court of Versailles felt obliged to imitate the queen’s new and daring hairstyles. However without the help of Antoinette’s hairdresser, Leonard, the young ladies of Paris would use wigs to keep up with the variety of different hairstyles worn by the illustrious Queen.
These wigs came at a high cost though, mothers and husbands grumbled, family fights ensued, and many relationships were irreparably damaged. The queen was bankrupting all the women of France but nothing seemed to stand in there way for the price of fashion.