Modern Living: Bag Wigs and Birds' Nests

On that festive day in 1770 when the Dauphin Louis Auguste, now King Louis XVI, married Archduchess Marie Antoinette, all ladies of fashion gained a new bellwether—but they also lost one. During the wedding celebrations, Monsieur Legros de Rumigny, the Parisian cook turned coiffeur nonpareil, was accidentally smothered to death in a brawling crowd. The famed 38 styles described in Legros's L'Art de la Coëffure des Dames Françoises had become de rigueur for all the best heads in Europe. But with the tastemaker gone, faddism has flourished—so much so that European ladies of...

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