The Accessory of Many Centuries
It’s music festival season, and the main accessory adorned in the heat of Coachella are flower crowns. A popular fashion choice that has ancient origins, and has managed to sneak its way into popular culture over many centuries. Here’s a brief history on the flower crown and its evolution through women’s fashion.
Head Wreaths: Ancient Greece
Julius Caesar, Clara Grosh 1892
Flower crowns first became a popular attire in Ancient Greece, often worn to celebrations and as an honor to the gods. However, a different kind of crown was adorned in this time—the laurel leaf wreath. These halos, made out of leaves, were bestowed upon war heroes as a sign of respect and honor to their people. They most commonly took shape of a horseshoe, but the heavier wreaths were tied in a full circle for easier wear. Wealthier members of society wore gilded imitations of the flower crowns, similar to the diadem—another popular accessory. Women certainly took over this trend, having adopted the leaf headband style and taking it a step further, adding gilded flowers and colorful beading.
Pagan Ceremony Crowns: Medieval Europe
Witchy women unite!
Women had taken the natural accessory and gave it whole new purpose in Medieval Europe. During this era, the flower crown fell out of everyday fashion because it had been adopted by the Pagan religion and now included the use of big flowers. The flower crown was worn and used to decorate statues of the gods during many Pagan ceremonies, thus making it a symbol of unorthodox practices. Other renditions of the crown came about in this era, as beading and gemstones were also featured in these ceremonial headpieces. Metals were also common in these crowns, allowing for longer lasting wear. Though the flower crown fell out of common fashion during this time, it didn’t take long to venture back as the use of flower crowns in wedding ceremonies began not long after their initial banishment.
Wedding Crowns: Victorian Era
Queen Victoria and Prince Albert, 1840
Who else to take over a fashion and turn it into a statement than a Queen?After falling under the fashion radar for several years, Queen Victoria brought flower crowns into popularity when she wore a white and orange blossom tiara in her wedding in 1840. The orange was a symbolic color in traditional Chinese weddings. The blossoms were thought to bring luck and fertility to the bride. Queen Victoria’s version became all the rage for weddings thereafter, making the flower crown an everlasting staple for brides throughout Europe. The flowers were an elegant addition to veils, which tied together the bridal style as lace and floral details were very popular at the time.
Photo by Roksolana Zasiadko on Unsplash
Vinoks are the jump into modern flower crowns, as they are a part of the traditional folk dress in Ukraine and have evolved into modern times. Young women who are approaching the time for marriage would wear these large headdresses comprised of flowers, myrtle, feathers, and ribbon. The headdress would be worn by the bride in the ceremony, symbolizing the beginning of the rest of her life’s journey as a wife. Today, the same tradition is upheld with different designs, and different symbolism. Traditionally, Vinoks would symbolize a young ladies’ virginity and her search to “lose her vinok.” Now, these flower crowns are seen all over the world in weddings and cultural festivals. Their meaning has been rewritten by women. It’s a symbol of revolution and a woman’s right to expressing herself.
Flower Crowns: 1960 America
Synonymous with the Hippie Movement, flower crowns were worn to resemble peace, love, and spirit. Without a doubt, the flower crown became mainstream well into the 70s with the anti-war movement. The freedom with decoration and use of any type of flower began, turning the flowery headpieces into a symbol of free spirit. What also came into style during this time was wearing flowers throughout the hair, tucked into braids, or fastened into loose waves.
Flower Crowns Today: All Over the World
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash
Though mostly seen in the crowds of Coachella, flower crowns can be found in the possession of women all over the world. Whether they are a part of a fashion trend, cultural ceremony, weddings, or social movements, made from flowers, leaves, beads, gemstones, metals, feathers, ribbons, and much more. Having heavy symbolic meaning, or just being on trend, flower crowns are a timeless accessory that will continue to weave in and out of society as women’s fashion.