In Brief

Design Your Own Marie Antoinette–Style Wig with the V&A’s Addictive New Game

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 4.28
The V&A Museum’s new Design a Wig tool (all screen shots by the author)

More so than the mulleted glam rockers of the 1980s or the beehive-wearing divas of the ’60s, 18th-century Europeans were the queens of Big Hair. It’s rare that a contemporary hairdresser gets to create something as elaborate as the sky-high sculptural wigs worn by Marie Antoinette and friends.

But now, with the Victoria & Albert Museum’s fantastic new “Design a Wig” game, we can all create masterpieces of 18th-century hair art. Instead of playing post-holiday email catchup, we recommend spending hours virtually creating Marie Antoinette–style hairdos.

The virtual wig design tool, inspired by the V&A’s extensive decorative arts collection, starts with an illustrated model with a short blond hairdo that resembles Donald Trump’s combover on a windy day. When you drag your mouse-comb over her head, clouds of poofy blond curls appear. After powdering and decorating your wig with bows, blossoms, feathers, sailboats, sail, flags, etc., you can show off your creation on social media, as Marie Antoinette surely would have were she alive today.

Screen Shot 2016-01-04 at 4.34
Powdering the wig

Obviously, it’s a lot easier making these wigs online than it was in real life 250 years ago. As the V&A’s site explains, hair was built up into wild confections with padding and hairpieces made from both human and horse manes, all stuck together with gooey paste made from pig fat. These unsightly parts were concealed by variously colored scented powders made from flour, which were blown on with bellows or applied with big puffs. As protection from powder clouds, the woman wore a big cone over her face. Women often spent all day with their hairdressers creating these ridiculous styles.

As evidenced below, I’ve had an extremely productive day designing extremely beautiful wigs.

20160104210100_o_1a8794n7pht92l7kbp6ncbuim
Our Rorschach test–inspired wig design
20160104210101_o_1a879a7fc1r331v9s1fptpif1h4e14
Princess Leia’s cinnamon bun hairdo, Marie Antoinette-style

Go design a wig here.

comments (0)