Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Hairstyle archaeology

Thanks to my sister, we learn that Baltimore hairdresser Janet Stephens has made a name for herself by replicating the hairstyles of ancient Rome. She has gained renown in scholarly circles for her persistent experimental archaeology, which has proven some long-held beliefs incorrect, despite her lack of traditional credentials. She has shown by working on mannequins and live models that the Romans used needle and thread, rather than just pins, to hold the hair in place. She was originally inspired by a bust of the Roman empress Julia Domna, who wore what looked like a loaf of bread on her head. She was able to recreate it, but there is a hairstyle that Stephens hasn't replicated, only because she can't find a live model willing to have her hair cut to achieve it. Seen on an ancient Roman sculpture known as the Fonseca Bust (image above), the coiffe is a tall, horseshoe-shaped pile of curls in the front. Says Stephens, "It's like a mullet from hell."


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