Updated: Sep 16
With the death of Queen Elizabeth ll, there is much reflection upon the life of this incredibly strong, elegant monarch. A woman who was thrust upon the world scene at such a young age to become a constant in the lives of her people and whose reign is a measure of many lives on earth. Her brilliance was not only in the jewels she adorned but in her steadfastness in the role she did not choose. For most people on earth, her reign is the only royal memory we have of a sovereign.
Being in the hair industry, I have always found it fascinating how someone, especially a woman, wears their hair, what it says about them, and their role in life. Unfortunately, we now live in a world where people in the limelight are expected to update and change their look constantly, a world where social media coverage of every aspect of personal life is shown and craved by those that seek out what’s hot and what’s not.
Queen Elizabeth ll, undeterred, never fell victim to trends. Her locks remained a constant since the 1950s with little change other than the graceful emergence of sparkles as time wore on. If the depiction of the creation of her lifelong “do” in The Crown wasn’t allowed too much liberty…what Queen Elizabeth ll felt was “a la mode” swiftly became a symbol of quiet strength and stability. This quiet strength of a hairdo…a symbol of the rock upon which rests a nation, the crown, in both good times and tumultuous times. This regal hairstyle, so out of style, even for the few remaining women of her age, stands as a tower of strength. As the world is in constant flux, there remains a monarch whose commitment to a realm never deviates. That royal “do” symbolized so much more than just a hairstyle. That iconic coiffure shouted Defender Of The Faith, the utmost important part of her role as head of the Church Of England.
My collision with this coif was the first “hair set” I learned in beauty school. It was what our teachers called the Italian top. Three rollers, one going back, another rolled forward, and the third going back, created the burst of volume and the timeless look of The Queen. In 1985, when I was in school learning my craft, this look was already outdated by 30 years, but it was the state board set we needed to perfect to allow us to understand setting patterns. The purpose was to show we had the finger dexterity required to do our art. The setting, the hooded dryer, the “spray net,” the teasing, and the ultimate “comb-out” all seem so antiquated and genuinely created a sculpture. I took these skills with me for life. The patterns we use with our brushes and irons all had their foundational start with learning that “hair set.”
The formation of a strong base is the lesson learned that we now use on every formal styling, every bridal styling, and ultimately in our own Capozzi & Co.Salon Shear Runway Project. Our SRP events, a Capozzi fundraising hair fashion tradition since 2008 has relied on these very early, in my career, skills that benefit us in the hair architecture we first conceive and then construct.
Queen Elizabeth ll knew the importance of establishment. She understood her role. Knowing that she was a symbol of something far greater than herself put (what may have been) her desire to be “a la mode” ultimately on the back burner. There was extreme value to her people with that “do,” that “hair-set,” that “coif,” and they are thankful to her for the emblem signifying the continuance of the monarchy.
Capozzi & Co. Salon
Sayville, New York