Little History of the Wig.

Little History of the Wig.

The wig has been used in many societies and cultures. As a fashion accessory, for hygiene reasons or as a social marker. From antiquity to today, here is a brief overview of the use of hair prostheses, the roles and different functions they may have had through the ages.

The Egyptian wig, a sign of social distinction.

The wig was commonly worn among the Egyptians in antiquity. They shaved their heads as a sign of purity and for the sake of hygiene, it provided protection against the sun. It also had an aesthetic function and provided information on social status. The wigs could be made of wool or vegetable fibers.stalls for the poorest and composed of natural hair for the richest.

Among the Romans to hide a shameful baldness.

The Greeks and then the Romans also carried it. Baldness being considered a sign of wasting away in Rome, the wig was used, at that time, to conceal hair loss. The Romans also wore wigs made with real hair and often dyed red, blond, gray or even blue.

Return of the wig in the 16th century in the West.

The use of the wig in the West was then made more discreet for nearly 1000 years, the Church disapproving of its wearing. It was through the English court, which was rather Protestant, that the wig made its comeback in the 16th century. And yes, France has not always been at the forefront of fashion… It will takend THE 17th century in France, for Louis XIII to bring it up to date. He adopts it following a loss of hairx. It then becomes an accessory in its own right, a sign of prestige. At the court of Louis XIV, all courtiers wore wigs, long for both women and men, made of natural hair. It was the heyday of French wig makers who exported throughout Europe. Under Louis XV, the fashion was for wigs powdered with white, which were shorter and lighter. Some less expensive and more accessible models are them composed of horsehair, goat hair, wool yarn or even of wire !

In England in the 17th century, the representatives of the court of justice (judges, lawyers, Lords) adopted the wearing of the wig to represent the institution. It is a sign of belonging and is still worn today during sessions. In France, it is the Revolution which will stop its use, the wig being a distinctive sign of the aristocracy.

The wig in modern times.

She will be back in the 60s (shortly after Andy Warhol and his platinum and silver wigs) in particular thanks to new techniques for the production of synthetic fibres.

Today, it is associated with disguise or illness in French culture, with however some differences according to ethnic origin (the use of the wig is thus very common in the population of sub-Saharan origin). However, mentalities have changed lately and we see that wearing substitute hair is more and more common.


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