Pompadour refers to a hairstyle which is named for Madame de Pompadour (1721–1764), mistress of King Louis XV. Although there are numerous variations of the style for both women and men, the basic concept is hair swept upwards from the face and worn high over the forehead, and sometimes upswept around the sides and back as well.
After its initial popularity among fashionable women in the 18th century, the style was revived as part of the Gibson Girl look in the 1890s and continued to be in vogue until World War I. The style was in vogue for women once again in the 1940s. The men's version, as worn by early country and rock and roll stars such as Elvis Presley, was popular in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Variations of the pompadour style continue to be worn by men and women in the 21st century.
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Among women, the hairstyle has become marginally popular again in the first few years of the 21st century. It can be created by ratting at the roots of the hair on the sides of the pompadour towards the top of the head. Then the hair is combed up and over the ratted hair, off the forehead, the front up in a curl straight back, and the sides pulled back towards the center.
In Japan, the punch perm combines elements of the afro hairstyle and the traditional pompadour. This hairstyle is stereotypically worn by less reputable members of society, including the yakuza, bōsōzoku, and chinpira (street thugs).
In the Psychobilly subculture, the pompadour is slightly modified to form the Quiff. The Quiff is a hairstyle worn by Psychobilly fans and musicians (Kim Nekroman frontman of Nekromantix for example). A quiff is a sort of mix between a mohawk hairstyle and the pompadour, where the hair along the side of the head is shaved and the middle is not spiked but slicked back and stood up like a pompadour.
Actress and World War II pin-up girl Betty Grable wearing another variant of the pompadour style, 1943.
In recent years the pompadour hair style has been adopted by those enamoured with vintage culture of the late 1950s and early 1960s, which includes antique cars, hot rods, American folk music, rockabilly bands, and Elvis Presley, as well as actors such as James Dean and Desi Arnaz.
There are Latin variants of the hair style more associated with European and Argentine tango fashion trends and occasionally with late 20th century musical genres such as rockabilly and country.
This style has become popular among Italian Americans and the "goombah" or "Guido" subculture. The style is often parodied in shows like The Sopranos, which portray stereotyped characters—especially Silvio Dante.
In modern Japanese popular culture, the pompadour is a stereotypical hairstyle often worn by gang members, thugs, members of the yakuza and its junior counterpart bōsōzoku, and other similar groups such as the yankii (high-school hoodlums). In Japan the style is known as the "Regent" hairstyle, and is often caricatured in various forms of entertainment media such as anime, manga, television, and music videos.
Today, the pompadour hairstyle is worn on celebrities which include Conan O'Brien, Bruno Mars, Morrissey, Macklemore, David Beckham, Logan Fife, Zac Efron, Zayn Malik of One Direction, Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys, Drake Bell, Justin Timberlake and Geert Wilders.
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Examples of non-rockabilly male musicians with pompadours
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Tango and Latin connection
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