Sunday, February 12, 2012

Practicing for the Titanic

This April marks the 100th anniversary of both the Titanic's maiden voyage and tragic destruction.  I think this particular disaster in our social memory is especially interesting because it marked the "beginning of the end", so to speak: after what had been an upward slope of industry, wealth (for some), and engineering during the close of the last century, the sinking of the Titanic was followed by WWI and a complete change in the cultural mindset.  No longer did we doubt our immortality after brutal trench warfare, the way we had when building an 'unsinkable' ship.
Anyways, the point of that diversion is that I think the Titanic centennial is worth remembering, and that honoring both what the ship meant in our culture's recent history as well as the lives lost in the crash is a good thing to do this April.  To that end, if I can possibly swing it I plan to pop over to Titanic Weekend in Salem, MA with the Commonwealth Vintage Dancers.  I've also been re-watching season one of Downton Abbey recently with a friend who missed it the first time 'round, and lusting after Lady Mary's hair.  Both of these things inspired me last night to give some early twentieth century hair a go.
Here was the result:
from the back: the overall shape is right but the poof above all the curls needs to be more even

side view: needs poofier sides and I need to be careful to hide the pins!

I don't think it turned out too badly.  I have one small rat pinned in (a rat is a pad under/inside the hairstyle to make it more full-looking.  They're traditionally made from shed hair caught in your hairbrush, but you can buy plenty of modern, synthetic alternatives) at the middle/back of my head, and the hair above is brought down over it and pinned below.  Everything else is just experimenting with different ways to style the bottom/sides.  My hair is naturally curly, so at the point where I couldn't do anything else interesting I just reverted to the 'shove curls to head and pin' method I usually take when doing my hair in the morning.
I looked at several video tutorials as well as this instructional article from American Duchess (which is aimed at people with shorter hair and uses a fake hair piece) and attempted several of the techniques with this...although I'm not sure all of them succeeded.  One thing I definitely need is more rats!  I think a bigger one at the back will help a lot, as well as setting it in a little higher on my head.  I would also like to include a rat above each ear, so that it looks a little fuller above my ears...a bit like Mary's.
Dressed for dinner, during the 1912 half of series 1
I probably won't go as extreme as a lot of these ladies, but I've been drawing inspiration from a variety of awesome hair c.1912.  Here are some period examples!
"Young Ladies circa 1912" --the giant hair bow on the one to the far right is may favorite
built more to the side than back, but I love the swirls/rolled look
Inscribed "Christmas 1912"--Is there a bit of braid at the back?
WHOOM. That's the sound this hair makes, I think.  If my hair gets long again I might give this a try!
I have a LOT of practicing to do before April.  Looks like I'll just have to keep taking regular trips to least as far as my hair is concerned.  I don't think the idea of swimming in icy water actually sounds at all appealing.

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