The Ancient Egyptians had a compulsion with personal hygiene andbelieved that body hair was unhygienic. All men, woman and children shavedtheir heads bald. This was also considered a requirement due to Egypt’sclimate.
They wore detailed wigs which were made out of natural human hair thatwas then fixed onto a net and these wigs were designed specially to keep theirheads cool. Although a shaved head was a sign of goodness, the majority of theEgyptians kept their heads sheltered. Both men and woman wore distinguished eyemakeup and bright rouge.
The rouge was used to stain their lips and cheeks. InAncient Egypt, eye makeup had a long history and both men and women were usingeye makeup from as early as 4000BC. They would use a kohl black on theireyelids, eyelashes and eyebrows. They would also use difference colours ofgreens and blues on their eyelids. The eye makeup was made up from Kohl whichwas obtained from galena. Galena is a blue/grey mineral that is formed ofsulphide. Galena deposits were found in the Eastern Dessert.
The greencolouring of the eye makeup was secured by the use green pigment calledmalachite. Malachite is a carbonate mineral. The powders used tocreate the eye makeup were mixed with water to form a paste. The rouge make-upswhere sourced from a variety of pigments, Red ochre which was made fromnaturally coloured clay- hydrated iron oxide. Beads on the ends of their wigswere an accessory used by the Egyptians during those times. The base of theEgyptian wig was a fibre-netting skullcap, with strands of human hair, wool,flax palm fibres attached.
They used a styling gel on both the long and shorthair. They tried to curl their hair with tongs and even plaited it to lengthenthe hair. The wigs that the Egyptians wore were made up of human hair whichoften supplemented by plant fibre or from the wool from a sheep. For 3000years, all the clothes worn by Egyptians were linen made flax gowns. The fabricsuited the hot climate because it was cooling. Clothes were simple in shapewith minimal cutting of cloth. Men wore schenti cloth wrapped around the hipswhich hung with folds in the front. Woman wore a kalasiris, a sheath likedress, often with detachable sleeves.
The silhouette was influenced by two keyfactors: the fineness and the finish of the linen and by wearing decorativecollars and belts. These accessories were rich in colour and texture. ManyEgyptians would go barefoot and some would wear leather sandals on their feetand coordinating anklets. The most popular material used was linen. This waseasily sourced and could be altered in many procedures. Footwear was made fromvegetable materials also papyrus was also occasionally used.
Egyptians used asmuch of the natural resources from their area as they could. Early on theydiscovered the strength of flax plant for making linen cloth. Cotton was alsoused and was imported from India. Footwear was sourced from the surroundingareas and the materials came from things like palm leaf, flax plant and grass.
Egyptions and their trade partners sailed the Nile River to trade their goodswith Africa, Afghanistan, Punt and Nubia. They traded gold, papyrus, linen andgrain and received ivory, copper, iron, oils and ebony. The Egyptian QueenNefertiti, whose name translates “a beautiful woman has come”, is known for herpopular influence and great beauty. Nefertiti’s clothing trademarks includedistinctive tall, straight-sided and dark topped crown worn exclusively by her.
More than 3,500 years have passed and Queen Nefertiti and ancient Egyptcontinues to inspire today’s designers. “Egyptomania” gripped fashion design ofthe Art Deco era, from scarab jewellery to flowing, draped dresses, exoticembroidery, pyramid and lotus-flower motifs, There was even a mummy wrap dressin the 1920s, an idea expound afresh in the skin tight bandage dresses of the2000s. Jewellery was worn head to toe by wealthy men and woman. Even their petswore vibrant pieces. They featured pieces from the natural world includinggreen palm leaves, white lotus flowers and yellow mandrake fruits.
Thesemi-precious stones included green and red jasper, amethyst, turquoise andquartz. Glass and glazed composite were used to imitate the precious stones.Upper-class men and women considered wigs as an essential part of theirwardrobe. The quality of linen this would show a persons wealth. Wearing a wigsignalled a person’s rank in society, this was to also differentiate the richfrom the poor.