A Brief History of Flower Crowns: From Antiquity to Queen B

The intricate — and quite magnificent — botanical orb adorning Beyoncé’s hair on the cover of the September issue of Vogue firmly reminded the fashion world that flower crowns are not just tired music festival accessories but a timeless and universal accessory. Beyoncé stans may be quabbling with Rihanna stans over came up with the concept first (Rih also sports a floral ‘do on the September cover of British Vogue),  but flower crowns date back basically to the early days of humanity. Technically, Julius Caesar wore it first.

Flowers are basically naturally-blooming colourful works of art signed Mother Nature, so it comes as no surprise that historians trace flower crowns back to classical worlds. According to the J. Paul Getty Trust, ancient Greeks hallmarked the floral wreath with symbols “of glory, power and eternity” and olive leaves garlands were offered as victory rewards. The Athens 2004 Olympics drew from that tradition by adorning medal winners with laurel crowns. Similarly, Ancient Romans donned floral halos to celebrate the arrival of spring, and its flourishing vegetation, during the Floralia festival. Renaissance era saw painters depicting Gods, Venuses and nymphs with flowers on their heads. So it only makes sense that our god-like Queen B adopted her own botanical halo on the most influential magazine cover of the year.

The Victorian era reinforced the floral wreaths as symbols of femininity, romanticism and purity as women were wearing them on their weddings, a tradition introduced by no other than Queen Victoria herself, who wore a crown of orange blossoms to wed Prince Albert in 1840. Diametrically opposite the prim Victorians, flower children of the ‘70s donned botanical wreath in the messy hair as a way to express their connection to nature and embody the ideals of their peace and love lifestyles. “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear flowers in your hair,” Scott McKenzie sang in 1967…

If you thought flower crowns would disappear after their recent omnipresence at music festivals, think again. Whether the floral orbs nod at previous bohemian vibes, highlight femininity and romanticism, or are simply used for their decorative purposes, we are quite positive that they will continue to be a hit at weddings, red-carpets…and possible even more Vogue covers.