Thursday, January 9, 2014

Madame de Pompadour: From Rococo to Rihanna

Born in 1721, Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson became maîtresse en titre to Louis XV of France in 1745 and thus was re-born as (the Marquise) Madame de Pompadour. Not just a pretty face, for almost 20 years she ruled as royal mistress, a title that in 18th century France not only held a great deal of affluence, but also influence. De Pompadour was a lover, a confidante and at times even a political advisor to King Louis.

A devout patron of the arts, she commissioned from Boucher, La Tour and many other artists now remembered as the cream of the crop in the Rococo style. She used art to further bolster her image, and quite frankly, it worked. The world now remembers De Pompadour for her elegant and charming portraits and commissioned pieces.

The world also remembers her for something else: a borderline chic and sometimes outrageous hairstyle known as-you guessed it-the Pompadour!

The Pompadour do' features a very accentuated 'pouf' at the front. To be honest, I have seen many portraits of the Marquise and have never really noticed her wearing this hairstyle.

Curious, right?

If anything, the Pompadour is very reminiscent of Marie Antoinette. It would be a few years after Pompadour's reign as maîtresse until Marie Antoinette stepped into the scene. It would be even longer until the ill-fated queen started wearing the extreme hairstyles that would rock the 18th century fashion scene.

Fast forward to the 21st century now: Rihanna sports a modern version of the Pompadour. And, as fashion goes these days, if Rihanna is sporting it, everyone else soon follows suit.

Miley Cyrus, Janelle Monae, Kim Kardashian...many women of Hollywood have been seen rocking their own takes on the Pompadour.

Here is where things get pretty interesting. From the 1950's onwards we see a surge of popularity of the Pompadour (a toned down version of it) on MEN!

From The King himself (of Rock N Roll, not of France), Elvis Presley, to Justin Bieber, to David Beckham (drool) the Pompadour reigns supreme as a sophisticated yet edgy and modern style for men.

So, I suppose if you're not remembered for your patronage of the arts and political position, an over the top hairstyle is the next best thing. Right?

fefe x

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