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Tuesday, December 27, 2016

The Secret To Carrie Fisher's Famous Hair Buns

As we say goodbye to beloved icon Carrie Fisher, the one image which we have been seeing the most is that of her as Princess Leia in Star Wars, her most famous role. 
Not only will her image live forever in film history, I don't know if I can think of a single more iconic hairstyle in film than Princess Leia's hair buns. 

When asked about the inspiration for Leia's look, George Lucas stated; "In the 1977 film, I was working very hard to create something different that wasn't fashion, so I went with a kind of Southwestern Pancho Villa woman revolutionary look, which is what that is. The buns are basically from turn-of-the-century Mexico." 
"A Hopiland Beauty" 1906
You've probably never heard of the woman who turned George Lucas's hair vision into reality, but her name is Patricia McDermott. Sadly, she isn't even credited in the first film, but she continued as the chief hairstylist for Return Of The Jedi. 

Upon first glance, the famous Princess Leia hairdo is something many people think they can recreate by splitting the hair into two pigtails, twisting it and securing with bobby pins, but that is anything but the case. 
Typically when done with real hair the result looks more like a mini donut than the voluptuous hair we see in Star Wars. It is practically impossible. In order to accurately replicate this hairdo, a woman wouldn't just need thick hair down to her knees. She would need a lot of fake hair. This is because every Princess Leia look was created with human hair hairpieces. These were two of many hairpieces seen throughout the film. 

Let's take a closer look at Carrie's famous hairdo. 


And a snapshot of Carrie's actual hair on set: 
Carrie Fisher and Mark Hamill in Star Wars
Carrie Fisher's short hair during filming
As someone who styles wigs, my complete theory on the creation of the buns is this:
The buns are made of perfectly matched human hairpieces to Carrie's natural color. Her hair was parted and secured, with the long pony tail piece attached at the base of the elastic, possibly even clipped in for extra support. Each bun piece was probably close to three feet long to account for the width, and extremely thick for volume. As the hair roll continues to build clockwise, many, many pins would be used to secure the buns into her natural hair giving them a sturdy support network. These woulds then be sprayed with wig net for extra hold and shine spray to help blend the texture of her natural hair. And there you have the secret to Princess Leia's famous hair buns. 




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