Get This Look: Hairdressers
by Rebecca Jane Stokes
Before Cher, Beyonce, RuPaul, or Rihanna, there was Leonard. Though conflicting accounts report his last name as being Autier, Antier, or Antiers, Marie Antoinette’s coiffer was known back in the day as simply Leonard — “Monsieur Leonard” if you are, you know, nasty. The Ken Paves of the 18th century subscribed to the more-is-more school of hair-care. The ‘more’ in this case being his infamous ‘pouf’ hairstyle, which required excessive amounts of false hair, all manner of lotions and potions, metal wires to frame it, horsehair padding to act as a far, far grosser precursor to the ‘Bumpit,’ and you know, the odd birdcage. Popularized by the doomed Queen, Leonard’s hairstyles were expensive, extravagant, and borderline insane. Modern historians* often speculate as to whether or not Leonard was, in fact, inebriated when he worked on his clients’ hair. Surely “I’m going to put a small ship on her head” only seems logical should the hairdresser in question be stoking a killer champagne buzz.
*Me and a guy I cornered once at a party.
British Royalty has long had a “thing” for the Scots. Edward I had William Wallace, Queen Victoria had her trusty manservant John Brown, and Queen Elizabeth II (the personage, not the boat) has Denise McAdam, her long-time personal hairdresser. She’s not just the Queen’s go-to tress-setter (I am so sorry that I just wrote tress-setter, but I mean, it’s out there now), she’s also the reason Prince William has embraced his bald patch rather than going down the path of the Donald, from which there is no return. Find the familia Windsor slightly too stodgy to be impressed? She also was responsible for Grace Kelly’s brand of Hollywood meets Royal glamour. Not to mention that she’s Sade’s favorite hairdresser, which is a delight and begs the question: when working with her, do you think she requests that her own smooth jams play to best create an environment supportive of follicle splendor? Denise McAdam may seem buttoned up, but this Scottish wench is so good at a cream rinse and a set that she got a goddamn medal for it.
Known by his friends as the ‘Demon Barber of Fleet Street,’ this diabolical barber has enjoyed a storied life on page, stage, and screen since 1864. While you might best know Todd as played by Len Cariou on Broadway or by Johnny Depp in my pants the popular feature film, Todd’s story — that of a murderous barber who’d slaughter his patrons and use their corpses to fill meat pies — hit the presses as a popular penny dreadful in the mid-19th century. The dreadful was in turn based on a popular English urban legend. The French have their version as well, only it features a wigmaker instead of a men’s barber, because of course it does. Though a cold-blood killer, it was widely asserted that when not going for the jugular, Todd was known to provide a clean, close shave sure to sweep even your under-age ward off her feet.
Next Week: Ghosts!