From New York to London and beyond, Fashion Week offers a glimpse into the way we'll be wearing our hair in the seasons to come. Alexander Wang's rose quartz hair set the tone (quite literally) for everyone's millennial pink obsession in 2018, while Guido Palau's glass hair encouraged us all to ditch the texture spray in favour of an otherworldly gloss. This February's looks were just as inspiring but instead of saving all the backstage hair looks I loved to a Pinterest board, I decided to recreate some of the experimental styles myself.
Before I begin, I have to confess that my hair routine is incredibly lazy. I quick dry it and nothing else, opting for a slight wave on special occasions. It's safe to say I’m firmly stationed within my hairstyle comfort zone. So what would these artistic creations look like on a hair normie like me? Here's what happened when I took fashion hair from runway to road...
Super-crimp, as seen at Phillip Lim AW19
This was my first foray into frizz and I wondered whether my straight, thin hair could achieve the desired fluffy texture. To help things along, I washed my hair with Davines Volu Shampoo, £16.07, and just as hair stylist Gary Gill did, added Charles Worthington Volume and Bounce Body Booster Mousse, £5.99. Gill told me he parted hair in the middle, then split it into nine equal sections: "All sections were braided in a traditional plait while damp, then blow dried." Straighteners were then used on the plaits to seal in the style, so I followed suit. To protect my hair, I spritzed on Schwarzkopf got2b Guardian Angel, £4.19, and ran my ghd Platinum+ Stylers, £175, down each plait.
Gill told me the key is letting the braids cool completely. So I waited patiently, undid each braid and brushed out with a bristle brush. That's when I realised I looked like a Bichon Frise with an enviable bouffant. My hair wasn't as voluminous as I’d hoped, so I helped matters with a few sprays of Leo Bancroft Volume And Lift Root Spray, £3, and my hair fluffed up once I started brushing. This style has a hint of Hermione Granger about it, which I was actually okay with. My outfit here meant it was hard to tell where my hair ended and my jumper began, though. I have no idea why one side is distinctly more waved than the other. I think despite being moussed, plaited and subjected to 180 degree heat, my straighter-than-straight hair just couldn't hold a crimp. Did it go with my poker fringe? Absolutely not. But I felt a bit like Carrie Bradshaw, and I liked it. On the other hand, my friend said I resemble The Simpsons' Patty and Selma. Way to burst my bubble.
Textured plait, as seen at Awake AW19
Louis Ghewy, the mastermind behind this look, told me he "added hair pieces on the side of the head, while the remaining hair was pulled into a tight ponytail." I worked on the premise that I don’t have clip-ins, and simply used what I’ve got. For much-needed volume, I added Klorane Oat Milk Dry Shampoo Spray, £9, and Bumble and Bumble’s Prêt-à-Powder, £23, for texture.
I smoothed down my fringe and took the section of hair from my left ear, twisting it up and to the back left of the crown, backcombing to create volume. I fashioned a plait, teasing out each section to make it appear thicker, and repeated on the other side. I was pretty happy with my two braid effort! I could not possibly comment on the state of the back, though. I successfully executed two plaits (nowhere near as neat as Ghewy’s) and the rest was held solely on hope and a hair slide. My sister said I looked like a "beautiful pretzel". As the week’s styles went, this was actually...wearable? Out and about, I had no comments from fellow dog walkers. But my dog did give me side eye for stopping for selfies four times.
Half-wave, as seen at Halpern AW19
At Halpern, the hair matched the clothes: retro, high-glamour vibes. Taking inspiration from Art Deco, hair stylist extraordinaire Sam McKnight created high-gloss waves with a hint of "pre-Raphaelite Erté". To ensure a silky smooth shine, I washed with Rituals Nourishing Shampoo and Conditioner, £9.50. As you now know, my hair will put up a good fight to stay poker straight, but I found that Kérastase’s Styling L’Incroyable Blowdry, £23.80, helped my hair 'take' to curls and waves and it's all in the heat-sensitive microwax.
With my hair in a middle parting, I took a four-inch section at the front and lightly misted with OUAI Volumising Hairspray, £22. McKnight used the BaByliss Deep Waves Hair Styler, £34, on models' hair, so I followed suit. One clamp and the look had already taken shape. Continuing around my head (this was the trickiest, scariest part as I tried not to scald myself in the process), I did the best I could to emulate each wave. To really play on the contrast of this look, I quickly ran my straighteners over the ends of my already-quite-straight hair to ensure continuity. If you’re gonna do it, do it right – right? To finish, I lightly brushed through and sprayed with hairspray and a drop of Charlotte Mensah Hair Oil, £48.
I dubbed this my 'party at the top, business at the bottom' look. Creating this style was super quick compared to my week’s other endeavours. Was my version as perfectly symmetrical and shiny as Master McKnight’s? No. But was I feeling myself? Oh yes – '70s and so on trend. I made a nod to Halpern’s gold foil eye makeup with some gold glitter and hit Costa Coffee, but in my head I was in Studio 54. My oldest friend commented, "I’m loving the '70s vibe, but why not take the waves all the way down?" Hmm. All in all, this style lasted for hours while I was out and about, unlike many times I’ve curled my hair. This is definitely a style I’d repeat, so if you see me out dancing to "Night Fever", know the waves have taken hold.
Lego hair, as seen at JW Anderson AW19
At JW Anderson, hairstylist Anthony Turner served up gelled finger-waved fringes, dubbed 'Lego hair' for its shine and severity. After washing, I added Soap & Glory Control Sleek Smoothing Cream, £9, blow-dried as normal and slapped on a healthy amount of Bumble and Bumble’s Sumo Gel, £24. Using a comb, I sectioned out a large triangle of my hair to the front, combing the rest back into a neat ponytail. I split the hair into a centre parting, and curved one side into what Turner described as a "cartoon-like outline across the front of the face". I waved the remaining hair (1920s style) until I reached my ear, adding the excess to my ponytail. I repeated as best I could on the other side but each model's hair was slightly different so I felt I had some artistic licence here. Turner used the Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer, £299.99, to 'bake in' the gel. I too 'bake' (though my hairdryer isn’t a Dyson, sadly) and I'm done in less than 10 minutes.
This is a great style if you don’t want anyone to talk to you on public transport, or you want to strike fear into the hearts of men. I loved it. I felt powerful, like a Bond villain or a Blade Runner replicant. An absolute badass. I was in awe of the neatness of Turner’s gel (mine was full of comb-marks) but I cared not! My boyfriend said I looked like Gary Oldman in The Fifth Element, but hey. I sent a selfie to friends and reactions varied from "Terrific!" to "WTF?" I selfied in an Uber, and awaited comments – but none came. At the end of the day, I triple shampooed and conditioned and followed with By Sarah London Organic Hair Oil, £21.50, to nourish my gelled locks back to health.
Overall, it was a really fun week and my hair has never seen so much action. I'd definitely advise stepping out of your hair comfort zone. Like me, you might just feel the results...