Easily one of my favorite eras for long hair inspiration is the Edwardian era, spanning the late 1800’s to approximately 1914 where, like their Victorian counterparts, [for me at least] the original new romantics first appeared.
Following the Victorian era’s silhouette, there is a constant evolution in ladies fashion. We can see a gradually less puffy skirt, the bustle disappears by the end of the Edwardian period and those infamous “leg ‘o mutton” sleeves swelled to enormous proportions, to be replaced later by a more tailored “suit”, popular with traveling ladies. We also see many variations in corsetry, ladies footwear was concealed then revealed during this era and large extravagant hats played a part in a society ladies wardrobe.
Hairstyles were equally varied. There is a softening of the severe up-swept hair styles found in the Victorian era. The fashionable Edwardian lady often wore her hair sculpted and coiffured into decadent creations for special occasions and using hair pieces that were curled – and ornamental combs were essential.
To recreate an Edwardian inspired hairstyle I have chosen these images as inspiration:
I wanted to create a look that was elaborate, had the period-authentic shape at the sides and top and took full advantage of our model Sylvie’s glorious purple mane. This is quite an elaborate style, so I will break it down into several steps. This is a defiantly intermediate level style so practice makes perfect – or come into Wildilocks at the Lockworks and we can do it for you!
First, I divided the hair into five distinct sections.
1: Section one starts about a finger length back from the front/centre hairline, curves around into an oval shape and ends about 2” above the occipital bone (that little button like bone at the lower back of your head)
2: Sections two and three start from the “corner” of the oval, measured with the temple, and goes in a straight line down to the nape/hairline on either side.
3: Section four is the remaining hair under the oval section and in between the second and third sections
4: Section five is the remaining hair left out at the front, or fringe section.
Sections #1 and #3 are pony-tailed for control, the rest are left loose. Sections #1, #2, #3 and #4 are all curled with a curling iron and a soft hairspray, hot rollers will do well also. Be sure to make the curls various directions in sections #1 and #4, however sections #2 and #3 (on either side of the head) are curled back on a soft diagonal angle away from the face.
Please refer the the video and images for a clear view and description of part of this preparation [click on thumbnails for larger images]:
This make take a while, however good clean preparation means the hairstyle will be a lot easier to create and your end result will show any sloppy workmanship, so don’t skimp too much in these formative stages!
Once all this is done, I start back at Section #1. Using a back combing technique I create a cushioning on pieces taken from the pony tail. I then rolled the first 3-5” these into barrels or tubes leaving the ends out, and then placed each of these into a vertical line over the pony tail. This is done to create the height and shape for the interior of this period hairstyle. I then repeated this process in section #4. The ends that you have left out are for decoration and filling in space, wrap them into little curls and pin them to the bases you have created – you will use them later. Check out the video to see this clearly:
The next step is to address the sides, sections #2 and #3. We will back comb these and roll them into rolls, reminiscent of the 1940’s style victory rolls. Start by back combing the base at the roots only, and split the sections into two (top and bottom). Using hairspray and fingers, roll these into larger versions of the barrels you created in sections #1 and #4. These will angle back to follow the hairline and roll away from the face. Start with the bottom half and then to the top half, as this will be easier to blend and connect. Be sure to back comb well enough at the base for the bobby pins to be secure or they will just slide out. Try the hide your pins wherever possible too. Check out the video to see this clearly:
Now you should have a very good base shape for an Edwardian look hairstyle. Take a little happy dance-break, ’cause you’re almost there. Release the ends you left out from sections #1 and #4. You can now use these to decorate the space in between the sides (sections #2 and #3) and decorate the vertical rolls. I like to use a light wax to smooth and define these ends, it gives great shine and helps control fly-aways, however use wax sparingly as you can also make the ends look heavy and greasy by mistake. I also prefer using ripple pins in place of bobby pins for this stage as they are easier to hide and don’t squash the hair. I also chose to leave the ends loose at the nape to exaggerate the “V” shape that is distinctive for this era. You may not choose this, but I prefer it personally.
The final stage is to create a fringe design. This can be either left out for a modern version, or rolled back to blend into the side, either left or right, ala sections #2 or #3 or a bit of both. I would however avoid a dead-center part for this style. Here is a short video of our finished look so you can see it from all angles, as well as many more photos. Feel free to decorate your hair with pretty flowers, jewels, feathers or anything that takes your fancy, and enjoy!
Want more? Is there are decade or period look or star that you would like to see? Then drop me an email at email@example.com!