To Be Blunt

Af­ter sea­sons of laid-back hair, there’s a new or­der for spring: straight-edge bobs chis­elled with a ra­zor and graphic sculpted up­dos.

Fashion (Canada) - - Beauty Hair - By Kari Molvar

Ihad only one di­rec­tive for my hair­styl­ist as I slipped into her chair and sized up my piece-y, shoul­der-length mane. “Cut it re­ally blunt,” I told her. She paused, sur­prised, with her scis­sors in mid-air above my head. “Like a blunt bob?” she asked. I took it she hadn’t heard that re­quest in a while—prob­a­bly not since the ’90s, when the sin­gle-layer, sharpedged cut had its hey­day among the era’s defin­ing beau­ties like Claire Danes in My So-Called Life, Uma Thur­man in Pulp Fic­tion and Gwyneth Pal­trow back when she smoked and dated Brad Pitt. But the retro look had some­thing of a re­vival on the spring run­ways, where blunt ends ap­peared in vary­ing lengths at Acne Stu­dios, Cé­line and Prada. At the lat­ter show, ed­i­to­rial hair­styl­ist Guido Palau cut chin-graz­ing bobs on eight models just mo­ments be­fore the pre­sen­ta­tion. “It was a palate cleanser,” he says of the beau­ti­fully con­toured, squared-off style, which stood out in chic con­trast to the un­done waves and shaggy lay­ers that have dom­i­nated the run­ways in re­cent sea­sons. “It’s fun to see that kind of clas­sic, sim­ple cut again.” The crop was also spot­ted in the front row, with It girl Lily-Rose Depp and French model and Chanel muse Ines de la Fres­sange em­brac­ing its tomboy­ish charm. The re­turn to clean lines comes as a re­lief to New York City hair­styl­ist Gar­ren—the mas­ter­mind be­hind Kar­lie Kloss’s ca­reer-cat­a­pult­ing bob. “I love this be­cause we get to cut hair again,” he says. With its graphic shape and tai­lored fin­ish, a blunt cut is »

a more pol­ished and put-to­gether al­ter­na­tive to the tou­sled lobs and lan­guid manes of late. “I think women are re­ally look­ing for some­thing that has a def­i­nite de­fined style that matches their per­son­al­ity,” he says. A de­ci­sive chop is an act of self-ex­pres­sion that sets you apart from the pack—IRL and on your so­cial feeds, where, as Gar­ren notes, “you need more of a ‘look’ rather than no hair­style at all.”

Still, the min­i­mal­ist cut can be com­plex to pull off. “The shorter you go, the thicker your hair gets,” says Dre Donoghue, a Man­hat­tan stylist whose clients in­clude down­town cool girls Maken­zie Leigh and Cleo Wade. Her tech­nique is to subtly re­move bulk from the un­der­lay­ers with a ra­zor to pre­vent the bob from turn­ing tri­an­gle shaped for those with curly or wavy hair. “I can still get a re­ally great line, but it takes the weight out of the cut.” For Wes Sharp­ton, cre­ative di­rec­tor and lead hair­cut­ter at Hairstory Stu­dio in New York, the bob works on all hair lengths but is most flat­ter­ing when “it hits the jaw­line” and is sculpted but not too stiff or hel­met-like. The trick, he says, is to gen­tly and in­ten­tion­ally shred the tips a tiny bit. “A tighter and smaller up-and-down mo­tion of the ra­zor gives a stronger line but also a softer line,” he ex­plains. “It al­lows the ends to move and melt into the rest of the hair.” How you style it also mat­ters: Don’t blow it per­fectly smooth or curl the ends un­der or you’ll head into mom-bob ter­ri­tory. In­stead, let the in­di­vid­ual pieces turn a lit­tle this way and that to con­trast the struc­ture of the cut. “It’s hair that looks in­ter­est­ing but also neat and kept,” says Sharp­ton, adding that he likes to tou­sle strands with a tex­ture spray for a rough blow-dry. And for a play­ful Margot Te­nen­baum aes­thetic, pull one side back with a bobby pin. “It’s clas­sic and fresh,” says Sharp­ton. (Eye­liner and brood­ing at­ti­tude op­tional).

Not that chop­ping off your hair is the only way to carve out a cool look. The right updo makes a pow­er­ful state­ment, too. This sea­son at Chris­tian Dior, Palau wound strands into a tight top­knot, ac­cen­tu­at­ing it with French braids that snaked up from the nape of the neck. A messy bun this was not—in­stead, the sculpted-but-sen­sual vibe cap­tured the pro-fem­i­nist sen­ti­ment ex­pressed in the col­lec­tion by the fash­ion house’s new artis­tic di­rec­tor. “Maria [Grazia Chi­uri] is very par­tic­u­lar and al­ways has a very strong idea about her girl,” says Palau. “I find the fin­ished look a bit tomboy­ish in a way, with a fem­i­nine twist.” Or, con­sider the moulded-to-the-head chignons at Givenchy, which came off as both steely and sexy. “I’m us­ing lots of gel di­rectly on the hair to make an al­most cat­like, man­nish shape,” he ex­plains. The re­sult is strik­ing for what it lacks—namely pil­lowy vol­ume. “I find that, in gen­eral, hair is get­ting flat­ter,” says Donoghue, point­ing to the pop­u­lar­ity of buzz cuts among women and a more gender-fluid def­i­ni­tion of beauty. “This look is along the same lines, but it’s a lit­tle more for­giv­ing.”

So is this the end of I-just-woke-up-like-this beachy waves and free-flow­ing lay­ers? Not likely. But per­haps the beauty of a con­trolled look is that it’s not su­per-con­ven­tional at the mo­ment; it’s still a bit coun­ter­cul­tural, and that ex­plains the ap­peal. Palau, for his part, plans on keep­ing blunt cuts in his reper­toire. “I think we will con­tinue to see a struc­tured feel,” he says, hint­ing at what might be com­ing down the pike for fall as well as what’s be­ing pinned on de­signer’s mood boards. “It gives an in­ter­est­ing di­men­sion to the hair and al­lows the clothes to be­come more of a fo­cus over­all.” Donoghue agrees—so much so that she’s cur­rently grow­ing her shaggy “mul­let” into a blunt bob. “I tend to think hair­dressers adopt a look first, and then it starts to en­ter the main­stream,” she says. One thing’s for cer­tain: The chis­elled look cuts a sharp pro­file, as I learned af­ter post­ing my own freshly cropped bob on In­sta­gram. To date, the photo has racked up more likes than any other shot of me. Blunt, in my eyes at least, is def­i­nitely back.

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