Hairstyles and Fashion: A Hairdresser's History of Paris, 1910-1920

By Steven Zdatny | Go to book overview

3
1912

January 1912: The Wearing of Plume

In the face of the universal increase in cost of all camndities and the excessive degree to which the grandes modistes have raised the charges for their millinery, many ladies have reduced the quantity of their purchases; instead of four hats per season they order only four per year, and entrust the trirtming of their out-of-date headgear to the smaller firms, who ‘rejuvenate’ them at a small fee. Business could proceed perfectly well like this if the leading milliners had not to pay a hundred thousand francs in rent every year and general expenses of proportionate extent. But their suppliers, who are at the same time their sleeping partners, cannot acquiesce in the loss of income which this economising process involves. Therefore, like the hairdressers, the grandes nodistes have met together in conference, in order if possible, to arrive at the best means of creating business and saving their industry. The attendance was a numerous one, for all the modistes want to be ‘grandes’ modistes. Amongst the most noteworthy propositions submitted was one which consisted of taking from the hairdresser ornaments and accessories for the coiffure, perfecting them and selling them at a high profit. For the verb ‘to perfect’ the modistes no doubt read ‘to amplify,’ for in a few days after this memorable meeting one could see at the theatres, in the leading boulevards, a multitude of fashionable Parisiennes, their heads covered with a sort of feathered hood, which would turn the last of the Redskins green with jealousy!

This struggle [between modistes and coiffeurs] had its denousnsnt in the famous Revue des X …, a play written by several good dramatists for a fashionable theatre. The hairdressers approached the actresses who were engaged in this sensational Revue and not only asked to be permitted to dress their hair, but requested them to accept only ornaments for the head which would not conceal their coiffures. On their side the modistes also approached the actresses, pleading eloquently in favour of their industry, and offering to supply gratuitously the finest feathers ever found on the rarest birds. The embarrassed actresses, who wished to displease neither the coiffeurs

-67-

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Hairstyles and Fashion: A Hairdresser's History of Paris, 1910-1920
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents *
  • Acknowledgements vii
  • Introduction 1
  • 1 - 1910 35
  • 2 - 1911 54
  • 3 - 1912 67
  • 4 - 1913 81
  • 5 - 1914 95
  • 6 - 1915 109
  • 7 - 1916 118
  • 8 - 1917 133
  • 9 - 1918 148
  • 10 - 1919 163
  • 11 - 1920 180
  • Index 197
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