As fashion evolves and embraces different representations over time, it becomes evident that in order to truly develop the look of the era, one must also accept the notion of change in relation to hair. Iconic periods in time have rejected the ideals of beauty and instead decided to push boundaries and social norms. In direct contrast to the look of simplicity that eluded the ‘20s and ‘60s, was the femininity and free spirited beauty of the ‘50s and ‘70s. By looking back through iconic eras and figures in history it becomes apparent that when fashion changed to mark a revolution, the hair also changed to complement it. This concept of hair as a reflection of fashion is still evident in today’s culture of fast fashion. Although the trends are less defined and the distinction between eras is becoming disguised, it seems there continues to be a direct link between fashion, or more specifically the hemlines of fashion, and the length of hair. Designers use a complete look to tell their story and in doing so they often refer to history to communicate their vision. There is a strong connection between fashion, hair and makeup, it’s an artistic development of the look and it is always reflective of the fashion.
More recently, the catwalks in New York and Paris from the Spring 2011 ready-to-wear collections, saw the return of the three quarter length skirt. This new hemline made an appearance everywhere from Calvin Klein Collection and Narciso Rodriguez to Rodarte and Roland Mouret, while Chloé accepted this return of ladylike dressing by showcasing pleats and sheer fabrics. This new adaptation of length and interpretation of the three quarter length hemline proved its strength and relevance this season by dominating the runways at Rosemount Australian Fashion Week in May. Marnie Skillings, Alex Perry and Kate Sylvester were among those embracing this ideal of femininity, showcasing contemporary approaches to length.
Although the up dos of the season headed south, in modernised adaptations of buns and ponytails, the constant element was length. This new length coincides perfectly with the three quarter length hemline of the season. The long bob or, ‘Lob,’ which is gaining much support from the likes of Aussie model Abbey Lee Kershaw, US It-girl Olivia Palermo and UK It-girl Alexa Chung, made a strong distinct return. The season sees the bob evolve into something slightly longer, with a straight edge and loose waves. Fashion is championing a new hemline and with it comes a new hair length.
It is through these comparisons over time, that the direct link between fashion and hair become evident. As fashion evolves to represent the current ideals and connotations of beauty and modernity, the hair styles and trends also adapt to convey this same image. When looking at iconic eras and figures throughout history, the synergy and connection between fashion and hair becomes apparent. The minimalist androgynous look that dominated the ‘20s and ‘60s was accompanied by a new ideal of beauty. Girls strove to look as masculine as possible, the waist became irrelevant and Vidal Sassoon cemented his name as he glorified Twiggy’s pixie crop. As the eras evolved and ideals once again changed, the ‘50s and the ‘70s saw a different approach to beauty, fashion and hair. The hemlines returned to below the knee and the hair followed suit channelling a longer more feminine look. This concept of hair as a reflection of fashion has transcended over time. Although the trends and eras are not as clearly defined at they once were, the hemlines of fashion prove to have a clear effect on the length of the fashionable hair.The modern day bob with its length and wave is a direct reflection of today’s adaptation of the ‘50s three quarter length circle skirt. The synergy between hair and fashion continues to be evident in today’s society and is as relevant, if not more so, than it was in previous iconic eras.