Frequent readers of fashion magazines or regular watchers of America’s Next Top Model will have duly noted that dramatic hair is one of the keys to a successful photo shoot. What a model’s face cannot emote, her hair makes up for.
One of my favorite episodes on this season’s ANTM involved that eccentric hair archetype, the bird’s nest. For a shoot in Brazil, the models were supposed to put their best bird forward in a set resembling a giant nest, and stylists teased the girls’ hair into a frightful mess of frizz and feathers. Often I wonder if part of the drama they’re hoping to create on the show are the scenes they film later, when the models are back at home trying to undo the ‘do.
VIEW OUR GALLERY OF THE BEST FRIZZY DO'S, PAST AND PRESENT
Though I can understand why hair that’s teased won’t ever find favor with the general public as an everyday look—we can’t all go walking around looking like an electrocuted lion—I’ve always wondered why the concept of curly hair—or to take it one step further, frizzy hair—has been the source of so much chagrin. If you have curly hair, there has been no escaping the blow out, the straightening iron, the relaxing balms, the straight-hair envy.
For the past decade or so, curly hair has somehow signified insanity, or worse yet, implied that you were unsanitary. Made to feel uncouth and unkempt, we took out loans to pay for expensive Japanese hair-straightening treatments, repressing our curls like they were a disobedient dog with its tail between its legs. And the irony is, the harder we tried to de-frizz, the frizzier it got.
But as with the ‘70s and on into the ‘80s, when hippies embraced their natural hair—lots and lots of it—and women eschewed hours and evenings spent on a perfectly lofted coif, today those with curly hair are bringing big back, cutting down on trips to the salon (and cutting costs, too) and slashing the time spent meticulously straightening their hair.
On the Fall 2009 runways in New York, Marc Jacobs led the way with a big-hair parade of ‘80s club-inspired looks of towering bouffants, curls sculpted into mushroom caps, and looks that resembled my own ‘80s hairstyle, the brushed-out, frizzy perm.
Los Angeles resident Hilary Freya Ratner is among those who have traded in the iron for the diffuser: “I have been cursed, or blessed, I suppose some would say, with a Jew-fro, so I think I have tried every straightening and curly-hair product known available today,” says Ratner. “I've always had straight-hair envy, but just this year, not sure why, I finally gave in and have embraced my curls.”
“It's funny too,” she adds, “because I tend to get compliments on my hair more when it's curly than when it's straight.”
Good-bye, Frizz-Ease. Hello, ease of frizz.
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Renata Espinosa is the New York editor of Fashion Wire Daily. She is also the co-founder of impressionistic fashion and art blog TheNuNu and a sometimes backup dancer for "The Anna Copa Cabanna Show."