“I have an idea,” the stylist mentioned, stepping again from me in that exact posture of hairdressers that makes them look as if their scissors are pondering. “Will you let me do what I want?”
It was 1995, and I used to be 13 years previous, sitting among the many slick black capes and the scent of Paul Mitchell’s Awapuhi Shampoo on the native mall salon in St. Louis. My hair had at all times been an issue. It was the feel of a child’s and refused to develop previous my shoulders. It was what Madeleine L’Engle known as “hair-colored hair.” It held neither barrettes nor ponytails, and within the morning, it appeared as if secretive mice had made nests in it. I had been ready my complete life for somebody to ask me, “Will you let me do what I want?” in regard to my hair. After I emerged from the cloud of spritz and snipping, I noticed myself for what appeared like the primary time—a clear sweep of bangs throughout the brow, elfish factors over the ears, a miraculously naked neck. I had discovered my “look.”
With one or two transient forays into the world of the bob, which made me resemble a sentient mushroom in a ’70s psychedelic cartoon, I’ve stored a pixie for the previous twenty years. This loyalty means I can typically really feel when a brand new rush of quick cuts is approaching: Final time, it was once I gazed upon Kate Gosselin and understood that stylists can be trying to present me a “reality porcupine” till her 15 minutes had been up. This time round, I noticed Beyoncé posing within the mirror on her Instagram along with her head at a cautious tilt and wheat-colored sideburns angling down her cheekbones. It was 2013, and I believed, It’d take a yr or two, nevertheless it’s coming.
The looks of the so-called Buzz Reduce Angels on the Victoria’s Secret present in 2016—when black fashions Jourdana Phillips, Herieth Paul, and Riccardo Tisci–favourite Maria Borges wore their hair shorn and pure, with out extensions—solidified the premonition. Kristen Stewart pledging allegiance to a pair of clippers and a bucket of bleach final spring all however confirmed it.
Quick hair by no means appeared particularly political to me earlier than, nevertheless it feels political now, with its subversion of fascist and skinhead overtones. Even a basic pixie feels newly heavy with connotation—so gentle on the top, so against one thing extra predictable and barrel-curled. “It’s just not the time for that,” Orlando Pita mentioned of the runway’s extra acquainted lengthy layers and requisite quantity, which had been intentionally lacking backstage at Tom Ford’s Spring present. With the designer’s blessing, Pita pinned fashions’ hair—together with Gigi Hadid’s bombshell waves—into high-and-tight pseudo-chops as a substitute, to keep away from the necessity for a “hairdo” completely.
“I would definitely say all of these shaved heads, punk crops, and even the neon colors that girls are sporting these days feel like rebellion,” confirms the casting director James Scully, who works with Ford, in addition to different designers resembling Stella McCartney and Brandon Maxwell. “Models like Adwoa, Ruth Bell, Dilone. . . . The move toward short hair is part of the fashion momentum toward individuality and personality,” he continues, nodding to spring standouts just like the Jean Seberg look-alike Gisele Fox, whereas Sohyun Jung, whose razor-sculpted buzz—a backstage parting reward at Alexander Wang—remembers a latter-day Jenny Shimizu.
Nonetheless, it’s unusual to see one thing come round as a development that’s simply . . . your hair. As quite a few folks level out each time the topic comes up, for lots of ladies quick hair isn’t again, as a result of it by no means went away. Josephine Baker, Grace Jones, Alek Wek, and Lupita Nyong’o all helped usher in new silhouettes with out being correctly acknowledged; Gertrude Stein and Lucille Clifton had been by no means given their due; and the Sisters of Mercy are missed as historic antecedents! Amongst all the ladies who merely have quick hair and don’t make a selected fuss over it, there’s an insistent concentrate on girls who don’t must go quick. To cut off a waist-length mane of blonde hair, particularly—isn’t that like setting fireplace to $100 payments till your complete inheritance is gone?
This scandalized sense of upending the pure order, of refusing to correctly experience your bodily wealth, is what results in the concept of a short-hair resurgence as a symptom of upheaval. Steadily I’m stopped on the road or within the lingerie division or in a bar toilet whereas sure anxious refrains are repeated again and again.
I may by no means be that courageous.
My boyfriend would kill me.
I might appear to be a Weeble.
Not with this nostril.
The flip aspect of the courageous narrative is the worry of sacrificing femininity; the revolt is not only towards exterior pressures however some small inside whisper that tells you what you must appear to be, the way you must current your self to the world. So many actresses who go quick for a job—Anne Hathaway, Charlize Theron—are sometimes reluctant to maintain the lower, even when it seems nice on them. Michelle Williams, alternatively, has been profitable as a result of she wears her platinum pixie like a vow, “for the one straight man who has ever liked short hair,” she memorably mentioned following the premature dying of her associate, Heath Ledger.
“Why do you prefer short hair?” I ask my husband of 14 years, who occurs to be one other a kind of straight males who truly likes a haircut that exhibits your ears. He units down his goblet of Muscle Milk and assumes a philosophical expression. “It puts all faces on a level playing field.” I squint at him. “Is this like your thing where you want all women to be hanging out in ski lodges wearing snowsuits so you can’t tell what anyone’s body looks like?” He claps his fingers with delight. “There may very well be something beneath there!”
Baring all of it does have its dangers. I’ve ended up a Bieber, and I’ve ended up a Gelfling. I’ve been a George Clooney, at that time in his profession when he was by some means impersonating each a physician and Julius Caesar. I’ve appeared like Louise Brooks took a unsuitable flip right into a Nice Clips, and just like the final member of the Vienna Boys Choir to hit puberty. The quirks of your face will rise to the highest like cream. Your ears would possibly stick out, and your jawline will assert a resemblance to a long-dead uncle named Norman. Relying on the scale of your eyes, chances are you’ll appear to be an otter if you happen to get within the sea.
However it’s value it to me to start out new each time. “Is that okay?” a stylist will say, apprehensive, her shears trembling over my occipital lobe. “You can’t make a mistake with me,” I’ll inform her. “The shorter my hair is, the more I feel like myself.”
Hair is historical past, in any case. Hair is what you used to assume—what the world was like yesterday. It’s the whole lot you had been ever unsuitable about. Checked out that manner, you’ve the chance to cut off a yr, a month, a nasty day in its entirety.
Checked out that manner, isn’t it tempting?