Get your flu shot, and other 18th-century tips for looking fabulous

Get your flu shot, and other 18th-century tips for looking fabulous

Maybe you’re like me, and you get the flu shot every year because you (1) have a weird sense of public duty about it and (2) can’t afford to get sick. Maybe you’re just particularly freaked out about diseases and public health these days. (Or maybe you’re wary and want to read about some flu shot myths.)

Regardless, let Marie-Antoinette’s vaccine-themed hairstyle persuade you to get your flu shot this year. Gio from History And Other Thoughts explains (excerpted from the book Rose Bertin, the Creator of Fashion at the Court of Marie-Antoinette by Emile Langlade):

The King had been vaccinated on June 18, 1774. The custom of inoculation in use for centuries among the peoples in the vicinity of the Caspian Sea had been imported into England from Constantinople in 1738, and into France in 1755. The operation on the King gave [celebrated royal dressmaker] Mlle. Bertin a new idea; the pouf a l’inoculation celebrated the occasion.

It represented a rising sun, and an olive-tree laden with fruit, round which a serpent was twisted, holding a flower-wreathed club. The classical serpent of Esculapius represented medicine, and the club was the force which could overcome disease. The rising sun was the young King himself, great-grandson of the Roi-Soleil, to whom all eyes were turned. The olive-tree was the symbol of peace, and also of the tender affection with which all were penetrated at the news of the happy success of the operation which the King and the Royal Family had undergone.

Sadly, I can’t find any pictures of this no-doubt-fabulous coiffure. However, Carlyn at The Raucous Royals has more info about these enormous hairdos, including this image of Marie-Antoinette in her coiffure a l’Independence (supporting the American Revolution):

pouf_bellepoule-746756
Daaaamn, girl!

And finally, Dressed in Time points us toward some fascinating (and often gross!) tidbits about 18th century wigs. If you haven’t been eating as healthy as you should (and really, who does?), why not turn your head into an enormous salad bowl?

Marie also wore the poufalajardiniere, which included artichokes, carrots, radishes and even the head of a cabbage. This pouf may have been a poufausentiment. A hairstyle to express a feeling. One lady at court is quoted saying, “I shall never again wear anything but vegetables! It looks so simple, and is so much more natural than even flowers.”

You can laugh, but that would go GREAT with my kale sweater and potato peel jeggings.

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