The six Caryatids in the south porch of the Erechtheion on the Acropolis wear long hair arranged in a variety of braids and patterns. Is it artistic invention or inspired by real hairstyles? In 2009 Dr. Katherine Schwab of Fairfield, Connecticut USA, teamed up with the professional stylist Mixely Torres to see if these beautiful hairstyles could be replicated. Six student models with long thick hair in varying textures participated in the experiment.
Not only was it possible to replicate the hairstyles of the renowned Caryatids, but the process itself yielded insights into hairstyling techniques both ancient and modern. The Athenian Caryatid hairstyles provide a window into an ancient time and place when young women became part of their society through the manner in which their hair was worn. Equally, today these complex hairstyles form a connection between contemporary and ancient society while demonstrating how braids continue to fascinate and inspire contemporary trends in hair fashion.