By Emily Austin
Named for Marie Angelique, Duchess de Fontange, a teenaged mistress of Louis XIV, the Fontange hairstyle was a distinct marker of French culture, and illustrated the role of fashion and adornment in court politics. Fashion, used to identify and dictate social status, could also be used to impress, to shock, and, as is the case with the flammable Fontange, to accidentally kill. Through a format of newspaper obituaries of two influential French fashionistas, the turbid history of tall French hair is
examined in historical context.