The Borgias ran on Showtime from 2011-13, and while it wasn’t always perfect, DAMN if they didn’t do an amazing job with the visuals. Set in the 1490s, the show centers around Pope Alexander VI, his three adult children (Cesare, Lucrezia, and Juan), and his mistresses (Vanozza and Giulia). We podcasted about the first three episodes way back when, and compared it to its competition later in the series. And while I sometimes laughed at Juan’s mullets, thought Cesare was un-hot (sorry! Something about his rabbit upper lip), and felt that the plot was a little heavy-handed, I ALWAYS adored the costume design and, in particular, the women’s hair.
I’ve come back to images from the show repeatedly for ideas for 15th/16th century hairstyles, and thus was inspired to share my Borgias hair lust with y’all. Now, I can get a little OCD about this kind of thing, so I thought I’d better split things up into the three seasons.
It’s taken me a LONG time to find screencaps of season 3, but Kiss Them Goodbye finally posted some! If you’d like more background on the series and the hair design, check out our post on season 1, where you’ll also find more historical research. To see how the hairstyles compare with the real historical figures, see our post on season 2. The hair designs seem very similar to season 2, so there’s not much to say except enjoy the pretty.
Long waves, braids, netted caul with pearls … this is the platonic ideal of Lucrezia hair as this show goes.
A more casual look, but still styled.
Burgundy caul, pearls, those big honkin’ gold hairpins the show loves.
Twists with a burgundy caul and matching beads.
Blue? caul with pearls.
Can’t see the back, but I love that thick braid!
Simple hair (bottom right) for wearing under a balzo headdress.
Now, the balzo headdress was a very typical Italian Renaissance headdress style, but it was mostly popular in the 1520s-30s, and this show is set in the 1490s-1503:
Parmigianino, La schiava turca [note the title comes from the fact that people mistakenly thought her balzo was a turban; the headdress IS Ottoman turban-inspired, but it’s definitely Italian], 1530s, Galleria nazionale di Parma
More braids, smaller blue caul.
Braids wrapped with trim.
Similar yet different.
Same as above?
All up in a pearled caul with a flat cap for riding.
God actress Holliday Grainger is beautiful! She pulls off even the (comparatively) simpler styles. Enjoy that chin while it lasts, girl! ;)
Ditto, now with pearls.
I LOVE the veil!
Back to simple.
Braids looped around in a new style in back.
Another variation, this time with twists.
Back to the blue caul.
Back to a balzo!
Those sticky-uppy pearls are very bridal…
Comparatively simple but with that pop of red beads in back.
Yet another complicated back.
Back to braids and beads.
Blue or green caul with pearls, lots of braids.
A loose caul.
Similar silhouette but with braids.
I love all the texture in the hair.
Now she starts rocking these hair-wrapped sausages…
Similar yet different!
Closing it out with wrapped sausages.
Twists, blue caul with pearls, long waves…
Twists with pearled trim.
This is so complicated and weird! Love it!
Looser style for hawking.
Dialing it back, comparatively.
Simpler, looser hair for the shit getting real.
I think this is the same hair, but more disheveled.
Closing things out in regal style.
Loose caul, hair worn straight and close to the head, ferronière (aka historically accurate head necklace!).
I love these twists!
It’s a head necklace, but it works!
Braids in back.
Twists with a caul.
Twists with a thick braided bun and pearls.
A lovely variation.
I think they’re going for a double hennin kind of thing?
She’s into Vannozza’s wrapped sausages (hey, she likes the sausage, amiright? ;)
Sausages with a braid in back and a veil.
Similar yet different!
Complicated braid, I guess that’s a jeweled caul under the crown?
Queenie likes her sausages thick (plus veil)!
Randos at the French Court
Top right reminds me of that young portrait of Catherine of Aragon; I love the look on the bottom.
Small sausage for shagging the pope.
Lots of gold cauls.
Twists and a little disheveled for shenanigans.
A server in “Roman”-esque costume at a fancy dinner.
What do you think of the different hairstyles in season 3 of The Borgias?