From Head to Toe–A Beautiful History of Hair, Makeup, and Shoes: A Six-Part Course with Estela Mendes - Context Travel

From Head to Toe–A Beautiful History of Hair, Makeup, and Shoes: A Six-Part Course with Estela Mendes


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For centuries, hairstyle, make-up, and shoes have been key expressions of society and civilization. Through these elements of personal fashion, people distinguished social class, gender freedom, wealth, and even political opinions. The concept of beauty, for women, and the concept of masculinity for men, has changed through the centuries as both concepts sought to enhance their natural features in the pursuit of idealized, and often artificial beauty.

In this six-part course, we will look at how these three elements of the fashion world played such an important role in history. From ancient Egypt through the twenty-first century, we will explore the use of diverse materials, the development of technology, and the new professions that supported the industry of looking different.

Lecture 1: Egypt, Greece, and Rome

In our first lecture, we will learn how ancient civilizations sought to alter their appearances, standards of hygiene habits, and the similarities and differences between the concept of beauty for men and women. We’ll look at the contrasts and similarities between both sexes, as we trace the ancient beauty rituals and histories.

Lecture 2: Middle Ages and the Renaissance

In our second lecture, we’ll explore the Middle Ages and the role of the Church in dictating fashions, particularly for men. We’ll also delve into the Renaissance period, which brought freedom and the pursuit of beauty. We will learn about new trade routes that delivered new materials and the influence of other societies outside of Europe.

Lecture 3: Seventeenth and Eighteenth Centuries

In our third lecture, we’ll explore the seventeenth-century and the great change in men's appearances. We’ll discuss the return of the wig, shoes achieving new heights, and Louis XIV setting the standard in fashion. We’ll also delve into the eighteenth-century as a period of great development for women's fashion, particularly with hair and makeup.

Lecture 4: Nineteenth Century

The nineteenth/century was a period of dramatic historical changes, that reflected in fashion. For the first time, women cut their hair short and men no longer wore long hair. Cosmetics developed and shoes changed as quickly as clothes. More diverse activities led to different kinds of footwear. We will look at all these changes through the lens of the revolutions of this period.

Lecture 5: Early Twentieth-Century (the 1900s-1940s)

Two World Wars brought dramatic changes and as society transformed so did fashion, particularly for women. We’ll learn about everything from the Gibson Girl to the flapper, and on to victory rolls: women's hair reflected the most important developments of the first half of the century. Makeup was no longer a taboo contributing to the great development of the cosmetic industry. As skirts become shorter, shoes received more attention.

Lecture 6: Late Twentieth-Century (the 1950s -2000s)

From the great age of couture to the rebellion of the sixties, our final lecture will follow hair trends for both men and women. In fifty years, as men grew their hair long and women teased theirs, we will also trace the cosmetic industry to become one of the most profitable industries in fashion. Sportswear brings comfort to shoes, as designer brands play an important role in social distinction.

Estela Mendes is an art historian with a MA in Museum Studies. Her research background is in Costume Design. Born and raised in Lisbon, she has been teaching about the beauty of the world for the past 15 years. After working in national palaces in Portugal, Estela moved to London where she spent 5 years working at museums like Buckingham Palace, the Victoria & Albert Museum, the British Museum, and the National Portrait Gallery, where she has delivered gallery talks focusing on Fashion. In Portugal she created a company of Costume Hiring and Historical Re-enactments working with Museums, Opera Companies, Theatre, and Film.

How does it work?

This is a six-part series held weekly and hosted on Zoom. Please check the schedule for the specific dates and times for each lecture.

Is there a reading list in advance?

Though the course is open to participants with no background on the topic, there are suggested readings for further investigation. You will receive this soon after course registration.

How long are the lectures?

Each lecture is 90 minutes long with time for Q&A.

How much is the course?

The course is $210 for six lectures.

Is a recording available?

In general, our courses are not recorded. However, if you need to miss a lecture please let us know in advance and we can arrange for a recording for that session on an individual basis.

This course is suitable for all ages

90 minutes, including a 30 minute Q&A.

Customer Reviews

Based on 21 reviews
86%
(18)
14%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
D
D.
Escape

I used the title Escape because that is exactly what I did for the six week course given by Estela. The subject matter is fascinating and the amount of research that Estela puts into any of her courses is amazing.

C
C.T.
Wonderful Coverage of the Centuries of Hair, Makeup and Shoes

Estela Mendes did a fabulous job on this six part Master Class on Hair, Makeup and Shoes! I loved all the slides, and the way that Estela presented how these changes in styles reflected what was going on in the culture, as well. All of it was fascinating.

A
A.
Amazing lecture series

Estela you are the best, so knowledgeable and so pleasant in your presentation. I love al the research you do. I will sign up for any class you offer.
j

S
S.

Guest did not leave comment

S
S.-.B.
Brought up to Date with Trends to the 1980s

This last session of the 6 week series had listeners revisit more recent times: 1950-1980s. Having lived through these times (born in '50s), I found it delightful and I learned so much. It was fun seeing old ads, photos, movie stars as the hair, shoes, make-up changes evolved in later 20th century. Estela did a remarkable job in researching this entire series and provided a wonderful jaunt through the times!

Customer Reviews

Based on 21 reviews
86%
(18)
14%
(3)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
0%
(0)
D
D.
Escape

I used the title Escape because that is exactly what I did for the six week course given by Estela. The subject matter is fascinating and the amount of research that Estela puts into any of her courses is amazing.

C
C.T.
Wonderful Coverage of the Centuries of Hair, Makeup and Shoes

Estela Mendes did a fabulous job on this six part Master Class on Hair, Makeup and Shoes! I loved all the slides, and the way that Estela presented how these changes in styles reflected what was going on in the culture, as well. All of it was fascinating.

A
A.
Amazing lecture series

Estela you are the best, so knowledgeable and so pleasant in your presentation. I love al the research you do. I will sign up for any class you offer.
j

S
S.

Guest did not leave comment

S
S.-.B.
Brought up to Date with Trends to the 1980s

This last session of the 6 week series had listeners revisit more recent times: 1950-1980s. Having lived through these times (born in '50s), I found it delightful and I learned so much. It was fun seeing old ads, photos, movie stars as the hair, shoes, make-up changes evolved in later 20th century. Estela did a remarkable job in researching this entire series and provided a wonderful jaunt through the times!