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Fantasy hair styling: Wikis


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Fantasy Hair Styling, sometimes referred to as "avant-garde hair styling," is a sub-genre of traditional hair styling that is characterized by its overstated constructions and themes. Fantasy hair styling may also incorporate the use of clothing, make-up, and props to achieve an overall theme. Some examples of fantasy hair styling might be considered to border on Costume design depending on the extent to which the stylist completes the total look. Examples of this might include costuming for theater or film such as the Mystique character in the X Men movies or Queen Amidala of the Star Wars films where it is difficult to distinguish between hair and costume (see example below).

Fantasy hair styling is similar to Updo Hair Styling in that the hair is usually arranged by pulling the hair up to the top of the head. Fantasy hair styling differs in that it takes this basic idea and exaggerates some elements of the style beyond what would be considered "normal" limits. i.e. an updo might pull curls up into a knot, twist, or curls; a fantasy hair style might use hair ornaments or hair pieces to augment or exaggerate the style. Below we see a normal updo and an updo that has fruit added to the style to create a more exotic look.


Early Examples

Hair styling has played an important role in defining a person's status in society and in some cultures the more elaborate the style worn, the greater the person's status within the group. Fantasy hair styling can be traced back to the earliest periods of recorded history when Egyptian, Babylonian, and Persians adorned their hair with elaborate headpieces and wigs. Later, in Greece and Rome, hair was adorned with flowers, jewelery, and ornaments.[1]

16th through 18th Centuries

This era saw the emergence of some of the most elaborate fantasy hair styles in history. In the 16th century Queen Elizabeth used make-up and dye to achieve a particular look that was widely copied. In the 17th and 18th century French court elaborate hair styles that incorporated props such as birdcages that were attached to the head and hair as signs of affluence.[2] Frames and "rats" (cotton wrapped into pads or coils) were used to help mold the hair into unusual shapes.[3]

Modern Era

Between the end of the 18th century and mid-20th century hairstyles were generally subdued and fantasy styles were not widely produced. Starting in the mid seventies fantasy hair styling began a re-emergence partly due to science fiction films and television shows such as Star Trek that portrayed women from other planets with exotic hair styles. Science fiction movies such as Star Wars helped to popularize fantasy hair styles beginning with Princess Leia's "muffin roll" hair style[4] and culminating with the elaborate styles worn by Queen Amidala.[5]


Fantasy hair styling has been a part of hair styling competitions for many years but only caught on in popularity since the mid 1980s. In hair styling competitions of this nature the object is to create a total look. Stylists are given a specific period of time in which to complete the hair and make-up, and to clothe the model in a matching outfit to create the total look desired. In some instances, such as the North American Hairdressing Awards, only photos are entered for judging.[6]

Competitions of this nature were satirized in the 1999 movie The Big Tease staring Craig Ferguson.


  • North American Hairdressing Awards [7]
  • UK - History of Hair [8]
  • Scoop Independent News - Image [9]
  • Photographers Direct - Image [10]
  • Halloween - Image [11]
  • - Image [12]


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