Duchess in Court Dress

In the 1770’s, huge wigs and hairstyles were fashionable, certainly influenced by Marie Antoinette’s penchant for ever-larger hairdos. Hairstyles were so large in fact, that the ‘calash’ bonnet was worn to protect the high hairstyles from the weather. Collapsible bonnets, they were made of strips of wood or whalebone sewn into channels of a silk hood. A front ribbon allowed the wearer to hold the calash securely over her face while walking in the wind.

Duchess in Court Dress, Fashion Plate from Galerie des Modes et Costumes Français, Dessinés D'Après Nature, 1778-1787