The Morals of Pink and Blue Hair, or The Craze for Colored Wigs

Edwardian coiffure
from NYPL Digital Gallery

The coiffures of Katy Perry, Agyness Deyn, and Rihanna may spark some of today’s celeb and fashion-watchers to dye their hair various shades of blue, pink, and even gray, but the Edwardians were doing it long before them!

For a brief period during 1914, the most daring leaders of Society and Fashion shocked the columnists of the day by adopting a trend created by Parisian hairdressers at the end of 1913 for the 1914 social season.

According to a journalist for the New York Times: “Four hundred mannequins selected from those employed by the leading couturiers are to be provided with color wigs in which to appear at balls and music hall resorts of Montmartre and other rendezvous of gay Paris.”

These wigs were, of course, very expensive, as they were made of human hair–Chinese–and the tastemakers considered a wig to match each evening gown de rigueur.

The trend hopped from Paris to London by February, and at a dinner party given by Mrs. George Keppel for her daughter Violet’s coming out, “about twenty-five women guests wore colored ‘transformations.’…the wigs were chiefly of purple, blue, green, green-blue, and many varieties of the new rose tint called ‘vasco rose,’ with light, medium, and dark shades.”

So outrageous was the trend considered, the more conservative members of London and Parisian society were loathe to admit any guests who showed up in a wig matching their gown. Oddly enough, by May, London socialites discarded their colored wigs for a new trend–their own gray hair! Now it was of the utmost mode to have a head full of gray hair dressed in the latest styles…perhaps a push back against the prominence of youth after Edward’s death?

In any case, one can never discuss Edwardian style and fashion without mentioning Lady Duff Gordon of “Lucile,” and here is her article discussing the morals of pink and blue hair in the Omaha Daily Bee.


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5 replies on “The Morals of Pink and Blue Hair, or The Craze for Colored Wigs”
  1. says: NJGill

    “Mrs. George Keppel” was, of course, Alice Keppel, last ‘official’ mistress of Edward VII and great-grandmother of Camilla Shand, Duschess of Cornwall.

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