Thursday, October 15, 2015

Sisi and Beauty

Empress Elisabeth and her obsessive determination to maintain her beauty. From Mimi Matthews:
Sisi looked on her daily sessions of hairdressing as a “sacred ritual.”  She used the morning hours that Fanny was combing and styling her hair for reading, writing letters, and for studying Greek and Hungarian with her tutors.  But daily hairstyling was only one component of Sisi’s haircare regime.  Every three weeks, her hair had to be washed and dried.  This was a time consuming process in itself.  In Ludwig Merkle’s biography of Sisi, he writes:
Every three weeks it was washed with raw eggs and brandy, a procedure which took an entire day, including drying.  After washing her hair, the Empress would don a long, waterproof silk dressing gown and walk up and down until her hair dried.”
The sheer weight of Sisi’s hair was sometimes too much for her.  She occasionally suffered from headaches and, at their onset, would remain in her apartments with her hair held up with ribbons to take the weight from her head and allow the “air to circulate” through her tresses until the headache passed.  This was not the only hair-related trial to endure.  Sisi was also subject to the whims of Fanny who knew very well that she was indispensable to her mistress and, if annoyed for any reason, did not hesitate to plead illness and send a substitute in her place.  Sisi did not bear up well under such treatment.  She is quoted as saying:
After several such days of hairdressing, I am quite worn down.  She knows that and waits for capitulation.  I am a slave to my hair.”
(Read more.)

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