Tag Archives: javert

Javert’s haircut

kainosite:

pilferingapples:

a-french-guardsman:

People often joke about Javert’s haircut in the musical.

“Les cheveux des sous officiers et soldats seront attachés près de la tête et liés en queue, couverte d’un ruban de laine noire […]” –
Règlement concernant le service intérieur, la police et la discipline de l’infanterie du 24 juin 1792 

The hair of NCOs and privates shall be tied near the skull in a (pony)tail, covered with a ribbon of black wool […]” – Regulations concerning interior service, police and infantry discipline, 24th of June 1792.

(Interesting thing is to note that it was pretty much the same under the Ancient Regime, but the ribbon was made with black silk).

In short,

Javert simply has a military haircut according to French army regulations of the era.

You’re welcome.

I mean that might have been true when Javert started as a cop, but Valjean’s released from prison in 1815, and everything in Paris (in the musical) happens in 1832. By that point ponytail-length long hair for men was either an Eccentric Weirdo Counterculture thing, or a sign that you were die-hard refusing to let the Old Days go. It definitely wasn’t standard for cops and military men anymore.

Which doesn’t mean Javert’s hairstyle doesn’t make sense; it just means he’s that guy who wears the same haircut for forty years.

I think it’s pretty unlikely that Javert, whose “whole person was expressive of the man who spies and conceals himself”, would have a distinctive, memorable and pointedly anachronistic haircut.  His whole raison d’être is enforcing the social order, and part of conforming to the social order is not having weird hair.

Besides, I doubt the 1790s were Javert’s favorite decade and one he wishes to commemorate with his hairstyle for the rest of his life.  He was nine years old when the Bastille fell; he’s never had an adult haircut in pre-revolutionary France.  His immediate association with queues would probably be the chaos of revolution, not the reassuring authoritarianism of the Ancien Régime.  And if he did take it up it he wouldn’t just be retaining the styles of his youth for thirty years (totally plausible for Javert, fashion permitting), he’d be deliberately adopting an outdated hairstyle as a political statement.  That seems to require much more thought than Javert would feel comfortable with.

Also I’m not entirely sure it’s an option?  The one thing we do know about Javert’s hair in canon is that he’s sporting some serious bangs: “his hair concealed his forehead and fell over his eyebrows”.  And while a ponytail with bangs is certainly a hairstyle that exists – I had it for most of my childhood – it doesn’t really seem to be on the table for men in the late 1700s.  It’s a little hard to tell because everyone’s got a damn hat on all the time, but in contemporary paintings the choices seem to be either short hair with bangs, or a queue with all the hair pulled back from the forehead.  I searched through a bunch of battle scenes and portraits and the only person I can find with something that might be a ponytail + bangs combo is baby Marshal Lobau here, who admittedly does look a bit Javert-y:

Of course, Musical Javerts often do have canonical ponytails, so, um… Maybe Quast!vert was in the Imperial Guard after all?  Or maybe in the musical universe Napoleon never changed the regulations.  (We know they didn’t abolish branding.)

Javert’s haircut

a-french-guardsman:

pilferingapples:

a-french-guardsman:

pilferingapples:

a-french-guardsman:

People often joke about Javert’s haircut in the musical.

“Les cheveux des sous officiers et soldats seront attachés près de la tête et liés en queue, couverte d’un ruban de laine noire […]” –
Règlement concernant le service intérieur, la police et la discipline de l’infanterie du 24 juin 1792 

The hair of NCOs and privates shall be tied near the skull in a (pony)tail, covered with a ribbon of black wool […]” – Regulations concerning interior service, police and infantry discipline, 24th of June 1792.

(Interesting thing is to note that it was pretty much the same under the Ancient Regime, but the ribbon was made with black silk).

In short,

Javert simply has a military haircut according to French army regulations of the era.

You’re welcome.

I mean that might have been true when Javert started as a cop, but Valjean’s released from prison in 1815, and everything in Paris (in the musical) happens in 1832. By that point ponytail-length long hair for men was either an Eccentric Weirdo Counterculture thing, or a sign that you were die-hard refusing to let the Old Days go. It definitely wasn’t standard for cops and military men anymore.

Which doesn’t mean Javert’s hairstyle doesn’t make sense; it just means he’s that guy who wears the same haircut for forty years.

Those regulations were published on 1792, but regulations are still to be respected as long as another law did not replace them.

So, this applied during all the First Empire, and perhaps further – I do not have the sufficient ressources to check regulations under King Louis-Philippe, whose reign was vastly ignored by nerds and reenactors of all sorts.

But, yes, Javert might just be an old-fashioned guy. That works.

(After all, the novel doesn’t mention this tail existing, so I was very surprised that someone from the musical actually decided this was a thing to do!)

Yeah, that makes sense!

I mean, to be clear, I LIKE the ponytail for Javert; setting him up as an old-fashioned, not particularly fast-changing guy works really well. And it’s definitely about a thousand times more historically plausible than anything the revolutionaries are wearing at the barricade (unless they’re all supposed to be radical Romantics making one heck of a Fashion Statement  which seems a stretch) >_<

Why is the July Monarchy ignored so much? Though I feel like the civilian-wear of the time gets a pretty fair shake, so I guess really “why is the military fashion of the July Monarchy ignored so much”? 

I can for sure say that this law was per regs at least until 1815; now, I would have to find out if it was replaced or not.

I’m pretty sure that Napoleonic veterans wore it the old way anyway, and they lived until Napoleon III’s reign, so you know…

For the July Monarchy, it’s a tough question. I’d say that it’s because of a lack of prestige. From the common Frenchman’s point of view, not only Louis-Philippe was a king (which makes it a lot less interesting for us dirty jacobins, as Corsicans call Frenchmen) but he also did not lead prestigious battles or anything of the sort. Napoleon III did not lead glorious battles, but his civilian work was and is still renowned.

Louis-Philippe’s name is only heard from time to time by French military nerds because he created the Foreign Legion, but that’s about all.

I think that, for the 19th century, mostly “prestige” actually gets the audience and not really the aesthetic of the uniforms themselves. Very few people reenact Napoleon III’s Imperial Guard, let alone any other thing than Napoleon I’s army.

(because, let’s not lie, only reenactors think it’s immensely interesting to search laws stating what underwear soldiers wore in 1833, so I assume that the interest for military fashion mostly depends on them)

pilferingapples:

it’s funny bc really even if it was all in Javert’s POV the villain would still be the system anyway

he’s be such an unreliable narrator omg
Dear Diary:today I arrested this prostitute for assaulting a rich respectable guy. I mean look at her, she’s obviously poor. he owns a house! She was all blah blah, my child will die, what ever lady, you should have thought of that before you decided to become the underclass! JUSTICE UPHELD. But then the Mayor interfered?? SUSPICIOUS.

Dear Diary: I KNEW IT, THE MAYOR IS JEAN VALJEAN! Truly proving his evil, he testified to his own guilt at Arras! He was ALSO going on about some kid needing him when I arrested him, do these people all think I’m a sucker, anyway he’s never going to cause any more trouble, super double ultra arrested, ORDER UPHELD

Dear Diary: Valjean’s dead! Order SUPER upheld. New cases and new justice await!

Dear Diary: omg you won’t BELIEVE this , remember that Valjean Case? WELL–

“Dear Diary: broke up a crime ring, failed to arrest their victim ): One of the Crime Ring escaped, very bad! Maybe he’s a double agent BUT THAT WOULD BE SHIFTY SO IT’S IMPOSSIBLE”

“Dear Diary, today I arrested a child, it was very grubby and it bit, why don’t these people do something to improve themselves”

“Dear Diary: when I said those people should do somethnig to improve themselves, I didn’t mean Revolution??? Hello, does anyone here recognize Order? Ugh.”

“Dear Diary: THIS VALJEAN THING IS GETTING RIDICULOUS.”