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How Classical Art Inspires Your Hair Game This Fall
We’ve pulled together some slightly more unconventional hair inspo...
Entertainment 26 Sep 2018

Fall is finally upon us, which means it’s time to up your hair game, replacing the classic and ever chic “whatever the f*&# gets it off my neck so I don’t have a river of sweat running down my back” with something a little more, ah, inspired. You can always turn to your favorite beauty bloggers and fashion week slideshows to see what’s trending now, but since the typical gallerina wouldn’t be caught dead flaunting a bob the month that everyone gets a bob (in that case, she’ll probably have a mullet), we’ve pulled together some slightly more unconventional hair inspo—from classical art, naturally.

Don’t worry, we won’t try convince you to go out and buy a three-foot-tall wig à la Marie Antoinette; we’ve added some crucial notes to update each style for the influencer age, making them selfie-ready and oh so fabulouso. So thank your trusty scrunchie for getting you through the sweaty season, but it’s high time for you to go your separate ways. Toss that thing in the bin and get ready to stun your friends, your dates, your coworkers, and maybe even street style photographers with your luscious locks.

1) Alphonse Mucha, Zodiac (1896)

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One of the leading names of the Art Nouveau movement that swept through Europe at the turn of the century, this Czech painter, designer and illustrator is easy to recognize by the sweeping, romantic lines running through all of his work.

It doesn’t hurt that his women are basically ethereal goddesses—think that girl in your yoga class that always floats in with perfectly moisturized hair and a healthy green juice glow, even (especially) in the dead of winter when everyone else has been mainlining greasy comfort food and walking around with a bird’s nest on their heads.

The secret, sadly, is probably good genes—but good conditioner doesn’t help. Channel the Mucha muse this fall by embracing your inner woodland fairy and letting your locks flow free, maybe throwing in a small flower clip or two for an extra oomph. Just don’t go overboard and show up to drinks with an entire garland on your head—unless you want everyone to think you’re a little confused about when Coachella is.

2) Louise Elisabeth Vigee Le Brun, Princess Louise of Prussia (1801)

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I know I promised no three-foot-tall wigs, but after years of painting all of Europe’s most illustrious nobility, Marie Antoinette’s court artist did pick up a thing or two about good hair. Here’s one style that could easily work just as well in 2018 as during the French Revolution—even better, maybe, because I can’t imagine you would put that much effort into your hairstyle knowing your head might be cut off before dinner. Jokes aside, we love Princess Louise’s sweeping locks, brushed up into an effortless, half-undone topknot and secured with a feather single. But don’t go running off around the city looking for a pigeon to pluck—we recommend subbing in a tasteful hairpin or a clip for the same chic look, minus the rabies.

3) Frida Kahlo, Self Portrait With Braid (1941)

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No style-meets-art list could ever be complete without the presence of the O.G. art world style muse, Frida Kahlo. A devoted cult of Frida worshipers is still going strong around the Mexican artist, based as much on her very particular personal style as on her artistic prowess (of course, painting so many outrageous self-portraits might have had something to do with it). We’re not suggesting you copy this look to the T—but if you do, pls post and tag @the_art_gorgeous because I’d love to see). Instead, tone it down a couple notches by nixing the freestanding sculpture of a pretzel-shaped braid (and maybe pass on the Garden of Eden-esque nude covered with leaves look, unless you’re stranded on a utopian tropical island or dropping acid at Burning Man).

Take a subtler cue from Frida by incorporating braids into your fall-going-into-winter hair persona as a chic and practical way to tame frizz and flyaways. The single braid down the back is always a classic if you have the long locks for it, but if not, try double braids for a little cowgirl reference, French braids for the sophisticated lady, or, for full-on boho vibes, sprinkle thin braids all around your head for a look that says, “Oh, these? I just absentmindedly did them while I was sitting in a field picking wildflowers and meditating.”

4) Zinaida Serebriakova, Self portrait wearing a scarf (1911)

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While this Russian artist’s most famous work, Self-portrait at the Dressing Table, might be the more obvious hair-related reference, but for those of us whose daily routine is less “one hundred brushstrokes at the vanity” and more “I just need something to get this tangled mess out of my hair and oh no did I forget to brush my hair before I fell asleep again?”, this one might be a little more applicable.

Serebriakova makes a strong case for incorporating some swishy, silky scarves into your life (that’s level one; for level two, go full-on turban mode… if you dare!). We love the sunny primary colors decorating the white background of this headscarf, the deep blues and warm reds and yellows transporting us back to lazy summer days at the beach or by the pool. Channel your inner Russian muse (headscarves are a staple in the Russian Orthodox faith; to this day, women cover their hair when they enter a church) or just evoke some Riviera vibes by swapping out your aforementioned scrunchie (RIP) for a silk scarf. When the temperatures start dropping, circle back to an even more literal interpretation of this look: wrap your whole head in an oversized scarf for that cozy woolen hug you so desperately need in the dead of winter. Who says beauty has to be pain?

Torii Kiyonaga, Three Geishas of Tachibana Street in their Room (1784)

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I don’t know about you, but these geisha’s layered, flowing kimonos have me very close to throwing out my entire wardrobe and replacing it with robes and kaftans (something I’ve been on the fence about for a while, if only it wouldn’t make riding the metro a little too dangerous).

But since we’re here to talk hair, let’s take a moment to appreciate these perfectly coiled, gravity-defying ‘do held together with nothing but a single hairclip and copious chopsticks. I might be a novice in the hair-in-chopsticks department, not that I haven’t tried (as many annoyed Japanese restaurant waiters will attest), but I can never get my hair to keep it together for more than a minute or two—and that’s only if I don’t move or breathe. Maybe the secret is in quantity? I see at least four sticks poking out of each head… in any case, this look might be better suited to special occasions than slogging through your everyday routine, especially if it takes you on public transportation—makes sense, since geishas were often hidden away in special quarters or districts.

Whatever your level of expertise with the art of chopstick hairstyling, the takeaway here is that there is still a time and a place for the perfectly arranged updo. Even if your everyday styling routine involves more dry shampoo and tousling in hopes that it gives you that “messy French girl look” when you haven’t washed your hair in a week than careful arrangement and bamboo combs—and maybe especially if this is the case—you’re sure to stun if you show up to a formal function, or even a date, with done-up strands. Even if the secret ingredients holding it all together are copious hairspray, bobby pins and well-placed hair ties, not chopsticks.

Text by Katya Lopatko
Photos via WikiArt, Pinterest, Trivium Art History, MET Museum

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