Elegant braiding presentation at the Fairfield University Bookstore



Image: Caryatid hairstylesEver wanted to look like a Greek goddess? You're in luck: Katherine Schwab, Ph.D., a world-renown expert on all things Hellenic, will be at the Fairfield University Bookstore, 1499 Post Road, Fairfield, on February 15 to present "The Caryatid Hairstyles: How to Braid Your Hair Like a Greek Goddess." This 5:30 p.m. presentation, which focuses on the maiden statues on the Athenian Acropolis, is free and open to the public.

Dr. Schwab, a professor of art history at Fairfield University, has long been an active and respected researcher on aspects of the ancient Parthenon sculptural program. Her 2009 Caryatid Hairstyling Project gave her a chance to test whether or not it was possible to recreate the elaborately braided hairstyles worn by the Caryatids, or maidens, forming the columns of the Erechtheion temple on the Acropolis. Working with Connecticut stylist Milexy Torres and six patient, longhaired students, she researched the braiding and Torres was able to recreate the styles, most of which took the trained professional at least one hour to complete.

"Ancient Greek hairstyles were often deeply connected to the identity of the wearer to indicate a stage of life - child, adolescent, married, etcetera - particularly for females," said Dr. Schwab. "The Caryatids seem to represent maidens who will soon be married."

Dr. Schwab will offer a slide presentation and screen the short documentary about her Caryatid Hairstyling Project, which was recently selected to be screened at the AGON 2012 9th International Meeting of Archaeological Film of the Mediterranean area ... and beyond in Athens this May. Time permitting, she will use yarn braids to demonstrate the fishtail braid technique, which has been seen on fashion runways this year.

"Some New York City stylists have announced that the fishtail braid is the elegant braid this year," said Dr. Schwab. "From my art historical and archaeological perspective this is fascinating because the history of the fishtail braid reaches back into ancient Greek art and culture."

Dr. Schwab will also participate in activities, including hair braiding, at the next Family Day at the Bellarmine Museum of Art on the Fairfield University campus. From 1 to 4 p.m. on Saturday, February 11, the museum will host children's crafts, story time, and other free activities focused on daily life in ancient Greece.

Dr. Schwab's unusual research has gained attention and acclaim around the world. She has presented her work at Columbia University, the Greek Embassy in Washington, D.C., Doshisha University in Kyoto, Japan, the Acropolis Museum in Athens, and many other venues. In light of her work she was awarded "Hellene of the Year" for 2011 by District 7 (Connecticut and Rhode Island) of AHEPA (American Hellenic Educational Progressive Association). She has taught at Fairfield since 1988, after completing her Ph.D. at the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University.

"Kathy's scholarly contributions have reached an extraordinary height of visibility in the past few years," said Robbin Crabtree, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. "She has made substantial - and quite unique - contributions to the study of Greek art and culture. Over the years, the University has helped support her work, which has culminated in this permanent display of her research drawings."

Bookmark and Share

Media Contact: Meredith Guinness, (203) 254-4000, ext. 2950, mguinness@fairfield.edu

Posted on January 26, 2012

Vol. 44, No. 174