By Garland Rieman
The Jane Austen Summer Program is partnering with Chapel Hill’s Citrine Salon for a JASP first: a Regency hair workshop. Voted Chapel Hill Magazine’s Best of Chapel Hill salon four years in a row, Citrine aims to provide excellent service and sophisticated style no matter what look you’re going for — even if it’s one from the 1800s.
During our workshop, registered participants can have their hair styled in Regency Era fashion to wear to the ball later that evening. So what defines a hairstyle as from the Regency era? What even is that period, anyway?
The Regency era of England is a unique cultural timeframe between 1811 and 1820, when King George III was deemed unfit to rule due to illness and his son, the Prince Regent, was allowed to rule by proxy through several parliamentary acts until he eventually succeeded to the crown as King George IV.
The era was a fascinating albeit brief period in British history, and it can be seen even in the way women dressed and wore their hair. Taking place after the French Revolution and during the defeat of Napoleon at Waterloo (1815), the era saw a distinct desire to avoid excessive ornamentation that could be reminiscent of the French aristocracy. As a result, thick powdered wigs, teased heights and a host of complex curls were deliberately left in the past. Instead, fashion houses looked to the simple sophistication of the Greek, Roman and Egyptian time periods for their inspiration.
Hair was often worn in a full bun, which could be placed anywhere on the head as desired by the model, and could incorporate delicate braids, a bit of ribbon, or a small flower depending on the occasion. Longer hair could also be worn swept off the neck in a chic chignon, or even loosely curled over the shoulder, and kept in place with a modest silver hair comb for even more variety. A few tight ringlets placed on either side of the face were an almost guaranteed feature of any look, as they provided was an extra framing effect and a stronger association with the sought-after Greek goddess image.
Curling hair during this time period could be somewhat of a misadventure — “curling tongs”, the antique equivalent to the modern curling iron, were in heavy use — although there was always the risk of a slight burn here and there. Curling papers were also used as an alternative, by which wet hair was coated in a gel or pomade, wrapped around paper strips, tied and secured close to the scalp until dry.
Fortunately, our stylists, while staying true to period styles, will be using modern methods throughout to achieve the perfect Regency hair.
Speaking of Citrine’s stylists, JASP is pleased to introduce Christy Combs, one of the Citrine stylists appearing during the workshop.
Christy is one of two junior stylists who just recently graduated from Citrine’s apprenticeship program. A huge fan of the dynamic energy that surrounds the hair industry, Christy is always looking for new ways to improve her style and technique. “I really like that the industry is constantly changing,” she notes, “and it’s nearly impossible to stay uninspired and stagnant as a stylist!” Christy is also a huge fan of literature and always has the best book recommendations, especially for summer. “I love to read,” she says, “and try to make time to relax with a book every day.”