Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Grandma Hat

In the time of hair towers when bigger was better, the threat of grazing one's "head" with a lit candle was a very real danger.  Not only could a budding flame at the top of a coiffure be unnoticed for some time, it could pose a real threat to not only to the wearer but to anyone in the same proximity of the flaming hair.  The science of putting out house fires was still developing at the time, after all.

There was also perhaps the more dangerous of issues with having a towering coiffure: offending the old matriarchs who found offense in the fad of extreme hair.   Luckily, an inventor by the name of Beaulard came to the rescue with a new contraption which he called a bonnet de la bonne maman (Grandma bonnet or Granny hat).  The milliner/inventor had invented a pouf which had a hidden switch which could lower the hair tower in cases of fire hazards, offended matrons (hence the the name), and low doorways.  I am sure it also made travel much easier as well.

Beaulard enjoyed much success from his invention and had the honor of serving clients such as the Princesse de Lambelle and Marie Antoinette.  However when his success surpassed that of Rose Bertin, the Queen of France's personal dressmaker, the fashionista flew into a rage and spread rumors to bring about his downfall.  Bertin's designs may have lost some popularity but her influence was still strong.  Beaulard and his mechanical coiffure disappeared into obscurity.


  1. *Turns switch in hair*

    (btw, perfect pic)

  2. The original meaning to "The higher the hair the closer to God". Gracious!

  3. I would LOVE to see how that works. Note to self; book tickets to Court of Louis 1769. Dress appropriately.

  4. Interesting and really funny.

  5. How interesting! I would love to see how that works too. And I love the picture you used too.

  6. That was fascinating! I never heard of that before.