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PARIS — The times have always been defined by hairstyles. That is a major lesson to be learned from the “Des cheveux et des points,” or “Hair and Hair,” exhibition that is currently on display at the Les Arts Décoratifs Museum in Paris.

Curator Denis Bruna studied hair — on the head, face, and body — and perceptions of it in the Western world, especially between the 15th century and the present for the exhibition, which runs from April 5 to September 17.

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‘Tame the animal that is in you,’ I would have made the subtitle if I could have,’ added Bruna.
“Hair and Hair” is the fourth exhibition in a decade-long cycle Bruna has staged at MAD. It comes after “Walk and Gait” in 2019 and “Appropriate Attire, Please!” in 2016, as well as “The Mechanics of Pants” in 2013.

The goal, according to Bruna, is to demonstrate the versatility of human hair as a material.

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The first two sculptures in the exhibition are made of wood and date to the late 14th century. They each show a guy with long hair.

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He resembles an animal more than a person, according to Bruna. This is in contrast to a wooden sculpture of Mary Magdalen who is depicted as a woman from the late 15th century with flawlessly coiffed hair and attired similarly.

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The exhibit’s opening section is titled “Fashion and Extravagances.”

Women in the West covered their hair with headdresses and veils almost exclusively until the Middle Ages.

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According to Bruna, hairstyles have evolved over time every five years starting in the 16th century and are just as significant as clothing or jewellery.

A woman wearing a long lock of hair, a “love lock,” hanging from her earring and dangling down the left side, close to her heart, is depicted in a U.K. painting.

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Bruna stated that “Thanks to literature, we can trace the entire history of hairdressing in the 17th century,” using Madame de Sévigné’s correspondence as an example.

The mistress of Louis XIV started the “fontanges” hairdo, which became popular in France towards the end of the 17th century, while they were out on a hunt.

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Bruna explained that court attire lasted 30 years, saying, “The chronicles of the time said the next day all the ladies wore a small knot in their hair [like her],”

Over the years, hairstyles changed exactly like hemlines, both literally and symbolically.

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The creation of an intricate hairstyle from 1775 is demonstrated in a film.

Bruna said, “I didn’t want it to be a gallery of portraits,” so he used items like fashion magazines, pictures, and antique hair combs.

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The second segment of the programme, “With or Without Hair?” explores issues including facial hair. The Middle Ages saw no such thing, and in the 16th century, beards emerged as a symbol of virility, strength, and bravery, worn by leaders like Francis I, Henry VIII, and Charles V.

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According to Bruna, it is difficult to say whether people’s bodies were truly as hairless as those idealised and shown in the majority of sculptures, paintings, and other historical representations.

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The exhibit’s 12,915 square feet on two floors are divided into five sections. It displays 677 items, including artwork, sculptures, photos, wigs, merchandise, advertisements, and salon supplies.
Venus, the goddess of beauty, has never been shown with body hair, which is why waxing creams and a Gillette razor bear her name.

On the other hand, historical pornographic images, medical book drawings, and sketches from the École des Beaux-Arts depicted naked figures with body hair.

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Body hair was associated with sexuality and was considered to be unclean in our society, according to Bruna. That held true up to the 18th century’s conclusion.

When you go back to the 1970s, especially in the United States, body hair on men was fashionable.

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Baldness gained popularity in the 1950s thanks to Yul Brynner’s portrayal of the King and I as an actor.

The final segment of the exhibit is titled “Intimacy, Hairpieces and Colours.”

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Twelve wigs are on exhibit in one place, including one from Louis XIV’s reign (who lost his hair at a young age) and one that belonged to Andy Warhol.

In ancient Egypt, wearing a wig was a sign of royalty. A sculpture from that era depicts a woman with her natural hair poking out from beneath a wig.

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The scent of a powder discovered in a wig case was recreated by a Givaudan perfumer and is available to sample during the exhibition.

The significance of many hair colours is highlighted, particularly how the Virgin Mary has long been connected with blonde hair.

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Digital printed hairpieces are produced by Alexis Ferrer, a global creative artist for Wella Professionals.

The “Trades and Know-How” area comes to life with old papers and tiny things like signs and tools.

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There are 11 wax mannequin heads with various haircuts and colours that once lined Parisian hair salons, as well as the dressing table from Jeanne Lanvin’s residence.

Hairdryers powered by fire, gas and electricity are displayed.

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Bruna pointed to a silver device with trailing cords and explained, “That is a machine that revolutionised hair salons; it’s for permanents.”

Additional items like brilliantine, the first shampoo from Schwarzkopf and DOP mono dose sachets are available here.

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The concluding portion, “A Look Back at a Century,” recalls well-known hairdressers from the 20th and 21st centuries. Consider chignons, the garçonne cut, voluminous cuts like the pixie and long hair in gradations of colour.
There are fashion looks including hair by designers like Jeanne Vicéral, Josephus Thimister, and Martin Margiela on exhibit. There are also images of well-known hairdressers like the Carita sisters and Alexandre de Paris, who belonged to the Syndicat de la Haute Coiffure Française, a group that was founded in 1945.

To replicate their most iconic hairstyles, certain modern hairstylists were chosen by Bruna, including Marisol, Shinji Konishi, Sam McKnight, Olivier Schawalder, Jean-Baptiste Santens, and Charlie Le Mindu.

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Also examined is the connection between political protests and hair. “Hair is more than just a fashion statement,” stated Bruna.

Wella Professionals as principal sponsor

The “Hair and Hair” exhibition’s primary sponsor, Wella Professionals, debuted a new line of goods on Monday named Ultimate Repair to honour their collaboration.

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According to Annie Young-Scrivner, chief executive officer of Wella, “Hair has such an amazing history, and this exhibit captures 700 years of it,” noting the company has a 143-year heritage. “We’ve always believed that the success of the industry in which we work is the success of our own.”

The first piece of beauty technology developed by Wella was a perm machine.

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“We feel like hair is such a piece of culture, society, and fashion, and we wanted to elevate it,” Young-Scrivner said.

As a result, Wella is inviting visitors from all around the world to the display to help promote it.

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The executive stated, “We’re using this platform to talk about the past, but we’re also talking about the future.”

The shampoo, conditioner, “miracle hair rescue” serum, and protective leave-in conditioner spray in the Ultimate Repair line all contain proprietary technology.

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Young-Scrivner claimed that it is practically possible to cure hair damage in 90 seconds.

In two weeks, the Ultimate Repair line will be available in France.

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Young-Scrivner declined to comment on sales forecasts for the prestige brand, but industry sources predict that in its first year, Ultimate Repair may earn more than $100 million in wholesale sales.
The scale of Wella’s care business is 25% larger than its colour business.

Young-Scrivner predicts that “we’re going to take a much bigger piece of the care side,” adding that it might even easily double.

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In conjunction with the event, Wella also debuted the 399 euro GHD Duet Style Professional 2-in-1 Hot Air Styler.

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