How to describe the season’s most striking haircut? Combine Julie Christie’s tousled blowout in the film Shampoo (1975) with Edward Scissorhands’ bird’s nest coiffure and you have the choppy, messed-up bob of the summer.
Lopped-off locks caused an Instagram frenzy at last month’s Paris couture shows. When Hollywood leading ladies Kristen Stewart and Jennifer Lawrence touted new rough-and-ready hair-dos, at Chanel and Dior respectively, a trend was born. Stewart’s copper-toned crop was reportedly cut just hours before she reached the front row. Lawrence, meanwhile, showed a longer, softer version of the pixie cut she debuted in the spring. Created by London-based hair guru James Pecis for Dior’s spring 2014 ad campaign, her hair was side-parted and scrunched dry. The British actress Sienna Miller, meanwhile, has recently hacked off her long hair in favour of a new chin-length bob.
These new crops – or “bad bobs”, as hairstylist Luke Hersheson has dubbed them – are a stark contrast to the sleek, polished bobs that Vidal Sassoon made famous in the 1960s. Hersheson, the creative director of London hairdressing salon Daniel Hersheson and who was responsible for Sienna Miller’s latest look, is delighted to be talking about new cuts again after seasons of tousling mid-length hair. “It’s all about effortless style,” he says. Instead of irons, Hersheson recommends “putting your hair in a bun, then letting it drop loose”.
The quest for effortless hair styling continues at George Northwood’s salon in central London, where curling tongs are used to create waves that suggest an insouciant morning-after glamour. A master of the “undone do”, Northwood was responsible for the “Alexa”, the wavy, much emulated cut he first created in 2009 for television presenter and writer Alexa Chung, whose hair he continues to look after.
“It’s no longer about that just-stepped-out-of-the-salon perfected straightened look,” says Northwood, who charges £300 for a cut. “It’s about looking like you just woke up with your hair looking that way.” Like Hersheson, Northwood has also noted the return of mid-length hair that rests on the collarbone. Women don’t have time to spend hours in the salon, he says. So, low maintenance is all.
“Shorter hair and blunt cuts will contrast well with the fashion silhouette,” says Melbourne-born hair stylist Kevin Murphy. “The shapes, which are becoming looser and longer in length, with a higher neckline, lend themselves to simple, short hairstyles in statement colours.”
Josh Wood, colourist to the stars and Wella Professional global creative director, stresses the importance of colour: “I think we will still see easy, soft, lighter ends and darker roots,” he says. “But more blended soft pastels, such as pink and off-tones, are also having a moment.”
This experimental move in colour can be seen elsewhere. Italian brand Kiko, for example, produces compact powders in shades of pink and lilac, which can be brushed through the hair and washed out.
In New York, Ted Gibson has noted an explosion of interest in colour at his New York salon. “We have been creating lobs [long bobs] with rainbow hair tones – pink, blue, whatever – to accentuate the haircut. In my salons haircuts cost $1,200 but don’t think that a woman who pays that much doesn’t want a little pink in her hair to give her a vibe.”
You could, though, play it safe and opt for more traditional hues. Balayage, a freehand dye technique in which highlights and lowlights are brushed on to the hair to give better depth and dimension, remains an ongoing trend, according to Sally Northwood, who works as head colourist alongside her brother George. Those cautious about making a long-term colour commitment should also look at semi-permanent options: shoe designer Charlotte Olympia was recently transformed from blonde to red courtesy of a new range of washout dyes developed by senior hair colourist Sibi Bolan at Daniel Hersheson. The range took its inspiration from the hair shades of golden-age screen stars: Olympia’s fiery red, for example, is called the “Rita”. “Grace” and “Kim” bring out the blondes, while rather more demure washes in brunette are called the “Audrey” and the “Lauren”.
Still not persuaded to do anything so radical as a cut or colour? Then give yourself an instant update. Plaits were a big trend at the autumn/winter 2014 shows: they were wound into ballerina-style buns at Dolce & Gabbana, sculpted into schoolgirl braids at Marc by Marc Jacobs and Givenchy, and pulled into cornrows at Alexander McQueen.
Julien Farel, a New York-based hairstylist with his own line of anti-ageing haircare products, is a big fan of plaits. “Braids always make it from the catwalks to the streets, simply because they are easy to do at home,” he says. “Many people took the braid crown that was all over the runway the past few seasons and made it their own. This is a messy look that can afford mistakes and still looks great.”
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Photographs: Vantage News; Catwalking; Flynet