Let me introduce you to a new chapter of scarves’s history : Today we are going to tell you more about the past and the evolution of the scarf during the centuries, their ways to tie scarves… Follow the guide, you will know everything there is to know.
The origin of the French word “foulard” (scarf) is uncertain, but it seems that the word finds its origins from the French verb “fouler” which refers to the technique of crushing – before the advent of textile machines, people stepped on the textiles under feet like grapes to soften the fabric and strengthen the fibres.
In the Middle Ages, the history of the scarf is intertwined with that of the veil. Ladies from the nobility wore the Hennin, which was a pointed hat, often with two horns of variable height adorned with a veil on its end. The height determined the nobility and the extent of the lady’s wealth. It was women’s key fashion accessory in 1440.
Indeed, French women have long worn caps, while the scarf remained an economic and practical choice. In the 18th century it was common to include scarves, ribbons, feathers and even plants or fruits in the headdress.
Eighteenth century hand painted print of a lady with a contemporary up-do
Today scarves in France can of course be worn in many different ways: tied on the forehead or neck it highlights the beauty of the face, worn on the waist it enhances the finesse of the silhouette. There are also different ways to tie the scarf on the head:
The rustic way to tie a scarf is very simple. Fold the scarf into a triangle, attach the widest part on the forehead, and tie the ends underneath the hair.
Gypsy way to tie a scarf. The knot is on the side. The tips are usually hidden under the scarf.
Pirate way to tie a scarf – ideal for the sea and the beach, it protects the hair against the sun, wind and sand. This method is similar to the rustic way, but the knot does not go under the hair but to the side, like with a bandana.
And now about shawls. This word comes from the Persian word “schal”.
The fashion of shawls came to Europe after the Egyptian campaign of Napoleon Bonaparte. Thus Napoleon had brought to his beloved Josephine de Beauharnais many gifts, among which large quantities of cashmere and of course cashmere shawls.
Josephine de Beauharnais had 400 shawls, she attached them to her dresses, she used them as bedspreads, she made pillows from them and even used them for her dog’s bed.
Very soon in France shawls production of different cloths started. The shawl quickly gave birth to a narrow scarf, which was a winter accessory essential to protect oneself from the cold, and in summer it was turned into a light shawl, which served only as ornament.
Thereafter, the shawls became luxury items and they cost a small fortune. It was humiliating and devastating for ladies not to have it in their wardrobe. And if their budgets were not sufficient to allow them to buy at least one shawl, some could get it as a gift from a wealthy admirer.
Today shawls can complete costumes or can be used as a light blanket, for instance.