Sarah and I have each listed the top 5 dresses from frock flicks we’d wear the shit out of. Now I’m gonna hone in on something that more specifically influences costumes I make: wigs and hairstyles! I’m more likely to look at historical movies and TV shows for hair inspiration than period sources simply because I can often get a 360 view and watching how people wear historical hairstyles, how they move, and how the wig works with different costumes is so much more informative than a period painting or fashion plate. Granted, a lot of costume hairstyling I do these days is for fantasy-historical mashup events like Carnevale, so historical accuracy isn’t priority number one.
Anyway, here’s some movie/TV wigs I adore! And while some of these may be intended to be the character’s real hair within the context of the movie/TV show and the historical period, I also know they’re all created with wigs and hairpieces because that’s how filming works. So I’m calling them generically “wigs” here.
1. Richard Cosway in Jefferson in Paris (1995)
This deceptively simple look is perhaps my very favorite, and I’ve tried to recreate it for my drag king character Leonard. I love the loose curls, the little “heart” the curls make above his forehead, and of course the makeup sets off the look perfectly.
2. Lord Fellamar in The History of Tom Jones, a Foundling (1997)
I honestly don’t remember much about this miniseries; I guess it was fine? It didn’t bowl me over compared with a lot ’90s frock flicks. But Peter Capaldi as the baddie does have magnificent hair! I’ve also done a wig like this for myself, and it’s a great look.
3. All the Men in The Draughtsman’s Contract (1982)
This super stylized version of the late 17th century is gorgeous to look at, and I adore all the fops with their pointy-topped full-bottomed wigs!
3. Princess Catherine of Braganza in The Last King (2003)
Yes, I like women’s historical hair too! At least when it’s wacky. Not sure she really wore 1650s Spanish styles when she came to England to marry Charles II in 1662. But good hair is good hair.
4. Estella in Great Expectations (2012)
I rather hate this Dickens novel (hmm, do I like any of them?) — but I love the hairstyles on Holliday Grainger. They’re really more 1830s when her gowns are more 1820s, but whatever. Fabulous hair!
5. Most of the Women in The Borgias, Seasons 2-3 (2012-13)
Season one was pretty, but I adore the elaborate hair of the second two seasons, and especially on the older women (sorry, Holliday Grainger as Lucrezia, you got your hair goodness already!). Specifically I love these:
Do you notice wigs/hairstyles in frock flicks? Any faves you’d wear the shit out of?
Thank you so much for the Leonard link. Am now following.
“The Borgias,” definitely, although the fops’ wigs in “TDC” were pretty fine. (Did fops ever have their wigs styled like garden topiary?)
What a delicious selection!
I do, because I want someone to come braid my hair. There’s no way I can do this.
You know, I really love these posts because we get to see more of your personalities and sense of fun. I mean, those qualities come through in all of your other posts, too, but in these posts they come across in a special way. Of the ones you listed here, I also LOVED the hair in The Borgias, but I must admit that I loved EVERYTHING in The Borgias. Not listed, and probably weird becuase it’s just a plain look (quite possibly not a wig), I always loved Olivia Hussey’s hair in Romeo and Juliet (maybe only because she was so beautiful in it)? I also loved Glen Close’s hair in Hamlet!!!!
I was wondering if you were going to include Orlando in this list. Oh well, c’est la vie. :)
I went for Draughtsman’s Contract bec. it’s more OTT ;)
“The Draughtsman’s Contract” is so deliciously wonderful, I may have to pull out the Blueray and watch it again tonight. The language is thick, like a Restoration comedy, but it’s really just a period who-done-it… and if you don’t know who did it by the end you weren’t paying attention. The draughtsman Mr. Neville is awful, but the aristocracy are just the most dreadful people ever! I love it. Lots a witty sparring and outrageous lines (“You must forgive my curiosity, Madam, and open your knees.”). There are a few references to, like, William of Orange and the Jacobites, but, y’know, it’s still so worth it.
Most often the men’s wigs stay with me✌🏻.
And it all started for me with: 😍Ioan Gruffudd as 🏻 Horatio Hornblower in the 90s.
But later I really got a thing for those beautiful “full bottom wigs” like 😍 Rufus Sewell wears in (2003) Charles II – the Power & the Passion, or Rupert Everett in (2004) Stage Beauty. Or indeed Peter Greenaway’s (1982) male cast in The Draughtsman’s Contract, which I saw many years later on TV. I think the whole male cast in ‘The Favorite’ (2018) was the best thing about that particular movie. Just like the whole cast in The Madness of King George (1994) and (1999) tv series The Aristocrats that’s set in almost the same time period.
And who can forget Cumberbatch? In his prim/slick wig as politician William Pitt in (2006) Amazing Grace. Later Ralph Fiennes and Dominic Cooper wear those wig styles so well in The Duchess (2008). Oh I could go on…😁😅
Yes to all the gorgeous Borgias hair! That show was literally renaissance hair porn
Renaissance porn in every way. I love Neil Jordan’s imagination; remember what I think was the final episode of the first season, when the entire Borgia clan, including girlfriends, etc., is massed together like some sort of profane Adoration of the Magi to welcome Lucrezia’s kid by that beautiful stable lad? Gorgeous in every way.