The New Short Hair

Is a chic crop the lat­est age-defying look? By Alessan­dra Cod­inha.

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - News -

Hair is never just hair. Hair is time – spent groom­ing, treat­ing, gloss­ing, high­light­ing, ar­rang­ing, with the oc­ca­sional tuck be­hind the ears, up in an elas­tic, or an elab­o­rate or­ches­tra­tion with a va­ri­ety of combs, clips, and pins. (And so it would fol­low that hair is also money.) We have a re­la­tion­ship with our hair – and it’s tied up in our sense of self, of fem­i­nin­ity, of se­cu­rity: the bat­tle­ground of weepy, bad sa­lon ex­pe­ri­ences, and the prom­ise of es­teem-al­ter­ing rev­e­la­tions. Short hair re­quires an ini­tial strat­egy and longterm ex­e­cu­tion – very short hair re­quires a cer­tain steeling of the will. The propo­si­tion is a gam­ble, and the stakes are as high as your self-re­gard. Which is why it bears par­tic­u­lar in­ter­est that some women of an age when con­ven­tion would have them set­tled into sen­si­ble below-the-ear and above-the-shoul­der coifs are crop­ping up with al­to­gether more rad­i­cal short cuts – and to sen­sa­tional ef­fect.

Chin-length, choppy bobs have been adding “edge” and elon­gat­ing the necks of cat­walk­ers such as Ari­zona Muse, Daria Wer­bowy, and Kar­lie Kloss for sev­eral sea­sons now. But the lat­est it­er­a­tion of the short cut is some­thing else en­tirely, echo­ing the style of a New Wave Jean Se­berg, a Warhol It girl Edie Sedg­wick, and a late-’80s game-chang­ing Linda Evan­ge­lista.

French sylph Vanessa Par­adis, age 41, was spot­ted early this year with a halo of closely shorn ch­est­nut curls (set­ting tabloid tongues a-wag­ging when the tim­ing co­in­cided with ru­mours of her for­mer part­ner Johnny Depp’s en­gage­ment). Valentino de­signer Maria Grazia Chi­uri turned heads in Jan­uary when she took her bow at the house’s cou­ture show sport­ing a sleekly gamine cut in the man­ner of Mia Far­row, circa Rose­mary’s Baby. And 39-year-old Garance Doré de­buted her own an­drog­y­nous ’do with an ex­ten­sive post on her blog ti­tled Le Chop, re­plete with a video of her shim­my­ing ec­stat­i­cally: a woman freed by fol­lic­u­lar light­ness. “I was just ready for a change,” Doré says, adding that she spent years at­tempt­ing to tame “the wild beast on top of my head” – her un­ruly curls. “I sent an e-mail to around 15 friends ask­ing, ‘Should I do this?’” she shares, and all but one said no. “I think every­one should cut their hair short at least once,” she adds (she got her cut at New York’s Draw­ing Room). “It gives you a glimpse of another person that you could be. If you never do it, you’ll al­ways won­der.”

Hair­styl­ist Pasquale Fer­rante (who re­cently turned Hi­lary Rhoda’s Sports

Il­lus­trated tresses into a Bey­oncé-in­spired an­gled bob) is primed for the trend. “You have to be a lit­tle brave, yes,” notes Fer­rante of the crop, “and it has to fit with your per­son­al­ity. It’s sort of psy­cho­log­i­cal. It has to feel nat­u­ral to you to look its best,” he adds. “You must know the tex­ture of your hair, and you must know that it works with your style.” But that said? “Oh, I love it!” he gasps. “Love it.” With the new short hair, pro­fes­sional help is en­cour­aged. “You need to be care­ful with very short hair, es­pe­cially af­ter a cer­tain age,” warns hair mae­stro Guido Palau. “You need to know what you’re do­ing.” Short hair done wrong sig­ni­fies de­feat, or, worse, ‘Mum hair’ – a cer­tain will­ing­ness to fade into the back­ground. Short hair done right sug­gests con­fi­dence, great bone struc­ture, and what el­e­gantly cropped writer Joan Juliet Buck once dubbed ‘sub­trac­tion as style’.”

There’s an air of chic re­bel­lion to the new crop: a pared­down min­i­mal­ism. (Not to men­tion a sud­den re­liance on lip­stick and fem­i­nine sil­hou­ettes.) “I’m mar­ried, I have three kids, I’m over 40 now, and it’s just a re­ally nice thing – you’re re­leased from a lot of pres­sures. It’s my hair; I did it for me,” Jes­sica Se­in­feld says of the pixie style she re­ceived at the hands of long-time stylist Rheanne White. And while Se­in­feld’s hus­band loves it, “I do oc­ca­sion­ally catch my­self in the mir­ror and re­alise I look like my son,” she admits. The chop isn’t about re­lin­quish­ing van­ity, says Doré, as time gained from less hair to groom adds up in other de­part­ments ( make-up, wardrobe). The real ap­peal lies in the leap it­self – opt­ing to un­der­take a rad­i­cal change at a point when most peo­ple as­sume you’re be­yond new tricks. “Long hair can weigh you down some­times, and also ev­ery­body has it,” says White, and the stylist fa­mously took Lena Dun­ham to an Au­drey Hep­burn-es­que length. “These short cuts make you look younger some­how. It just opens ev­ery­thing up. It’s a style for strong women who have guts, who want to ex­per­i­ment. That’s the beau­ti­ful thing about hair: it grows.”

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