Hello! Could I ask a question about fashion? In “Dawn,” Hugo says that Cosette dressed her hair herself because it was simple in those days, but in all of the fashion plates from the era, women’s hair looks really complicated — they have it looped up on the top and curled on the sides. Were hairstyles simpler in the daytime and only more complicated in the evening? Or is it because Cosette is unmarried? Thanks :)
That is a really good question! There were of course simpler hairstyles available, but Hugo is very clear that Cosette IS a fashion plate, which means pretty elaborate hairdos. And there’s a few possible answers I can think of– take your pick, suggest others, or combine any of them:
-Cosette really does do her own hair, in all the complications then in fashion. It takes a lot of time, but practice makes it faster and as a proper bourgeois girl she’s not really allowed to do much else, so that’s one of her hobbies.
-Cosette does her own hair, but simplifies it. Everything under the bonnets that she’s definitely wearing when she heads out is pretty smooth, and she focuses on getting the visible ringlets and curls or swooping braids right. It takes less time.
– Cosette actually gets Toussaint to help, and it’s adorable.
– Cosette actually gets Valjean to help, and it’s SUPER adorable.
– Hugo does not know one single thing about how women in his era handled their fashion regiment, and he’s imagining Cosette with basically magic Style Powers. We all should accept that Cosette is Actually Magic and picture bluebirds and butterflies doing her hair like she was a Disney People’s Elected Representative.