A Twist On A Classic : The Pompadour Fade


The Pompadour is a hairstyle that is about 300 years old. It was a famous hair trend in the 1700’s, the 1950’s and is again the rage among men in the new millennium. However, the origin of the trend of the Pompadour hairstyle is interestingly a feminine one. The very first pioneering of the hairstyle is credited to Jeanne-Antoinette Poisson who was later titled as the Madame de Pompadour. She was the chief mistress of King Louis XV and she evidently had a larger impact on the fashion and aesthetics of the day rather than on the politics.

Beginning from a humble background, Madame de Pompadour had spent her time learning to paint and in the arts. She later became an accomplished actress and was therefore, a known patroness of arts and aesthetics. Her creativity of weaving her hair into her signature hairstyle –voluminous coifs around wire frames, was copied by various women who probably spotted her on the public stage after she was officiated as the mistress. They would sweep their hair over their heads and stuff straw and fabric to raise it and give an effect of having more volume. The hair would then be put in place using the wire frame. Eventually, the hairstyle went through some changes and it became more dramatic as the pompadour grew in height and began to be embellished with various ornaments. As the hairstyle and decoration became a sign of wealth and status, people began to get their hair done by professional hairdressers and decorations became more creative.


Over time things changed and additions were made to the hairstyle such as the doing away of the wire frame, addition of false hair to it, the hairstyle was worn with an “Alexandra Fringe” and its’ spread to other places such as North America. In North America, the pompadour was fashioned by the people of the middle classes as well. The pomade which was usually used to put the hairstyle in place also found an alternative in ‘brilliantine’, which was a product used predominantly by men. The use of this product is usually credited to the ushering in of the hairstyle among men.

It was around the 1920’s and 1950’s that the pompadour is believed to have gained popularity among American men although the reasons are not clear. However, after Elvis Presley shot to fame in 1956 and rock n’ roll became the dominant genre of dance and music, his signature hairstyle- a less smaller than the original aristocratic pompadour- started becoming popularized among the masses.


The pompadour with the bald fade is, unsurprisingly, a modern take on this ever evolving hairstyle. Originally, there was no hair part either. Today, the pompadour exhibited by many male celebrities and non-celebrities alike involves parting the hair to one side and shaving up to the part on the other side. The hair around the part may be tapered to blend the short hair and the overlapping hair. However, the fade of the pompadour depends on the liking of the wearer/barber. For a cut and classic look, you can opt for a fade that is not so bald. This can be achieved by clipping the back and sides only to the extent that not so much scalp should be exposed. One may research the various types of fades such as shadow fade, hightop fade, skin fade, bald fade, razor fade, south side fade, etc before making the decision.