5 hair and beauty trends from Men’s Fashion Week Spring 2023
Sunday marked the end of the Spring/Summer 2023 menswear runway shows, after a four-city swing that saw the world’s most influential brands debut collections in London, Florence, Milan and Paris (with one or two top labels opting to show elsewhere).
As with every season of shows, there was a lot to unpack. But by the time Hedi Slimane came out for his bow at Celine, the last show on the official Paris schedule, the key looks for next summer had set themselves apart.
When it came to hair and grooming trends, the overarching theme was a polished indifference — a carefree or irreverent appearance that was still very thought out. Here are the five major trends we saw.
At shows and in lookbooks produced during the pandemic, bed-head was very much in. This season wasn’t quite as disheveled, but tousled, windswept mops were everywhere.
In Milan, many of the models walking in the JW Anderson show were sent down the runway by hairstylist Anthony Turner sporting longer locks with voluminous undulations, calling to mind post-swim hair that hasn’t quite managed to dry in the sun.
At Dries Van Noten in Paris, the hair — courtesy of Gary Gill — was a little bit shorter but still in consciously unstyled territory. The windswept idea was driven home by a runway flanked with billowing inflatable pillars, the kind associated with car washes and used car lots, rendered in the palette of the collection.
At Hermès, stylist Matt Mulhall created an artfully uncoiffed look on many of the models — a stark contrast to the incredibly luxurious, artisanal garments.
At the other end of the spectrum were spiky styles, heavily gelled and liberally sprayed.
The VTMNTS digital presentation, with hair styled by Jody Taylor and his team, featured one model with a proper blow-dried and spiked ‘do, and another with hair that seemed to be frozen in a crosswind, pulled both right and left.
In Paris, models at the Comme des Garçons Homme Plus show sported extreme, cartoonishly spiked wigs. At Rick Owens, one model had a stiff blowout that was almost as exaggerated.
To a certain extent, this kind of hair should be expected from the likes of VTMNTS, Rick Owens and Comme des Garçons — a trio of brands whose anti-establishmentarianism aligns with the punk movement. But then there was Sir Paul Smith, one of the greatest living purveyors of polished tailoring, who teamed up with hairstylist Louis Ghewy to present his collection alongside a couple of punk rock hairstyles.
To really put a point on it all, Thom Browne (an American Paul Smith, perhaps?) sent vibrant tweed suiting down the runway on models with hair so spiky it was a callback to the British roots of punk fashion. The hair styling by James Pecis helped make it one of the most theatrical shows of the season.
Frosted tips and highlights
Following one blast from the past with another: bleached tips and highlights are back, reaffirming that at least as far as hair trends are concerned, the noughties revival might last into next summer.
Stylists preferred to keep the frosted tips separate from the blown-out or spiked looks, thus avoiding the hairstyle made famous (or infamous) by Lance Bass. At the Neil Barrett show, one model’s bleached ends were styled in a Caesar. At Y/Project, bleached streaks were slicked back by hairstylist Ramona Eschbach, emphasizing darker roots. At Loewe, Anthony Turner allowed longer hair that was bleached at the ends to hang loose, and at Paul Smith a similar effect was created by slicking blonde hair back.
The most innovative take came at the Doublet show — a brand by designer Masayuki Ino renowned for its playful, tongue-in-cheek approach to fashion — where a blizzard of faux snow fell to literally frost the tips of models’ hair, beards and moustaches.
Pops of shine
Pops of shine were prevalent at the Paris shows.
At the backstage entrance before the Maison Mihara Yasuhiro presentation, models could be seen milling about, smoking cigarettes or talking on the phone, with metallic paper in their hair. This isn’t an unusual sight outside a fashion show, as stylists will often pin models’ hair before they get dressed, have their makeup done or take a break. When the models took to the runway, though, the bits of paper were still tangled in their hair or were stuck to their bodies, adding an unmissable flash thanks to stylist Martin Cullen.
At Kiko Kostadinov, makeup artist Kanako Yoshida and her team sent models down the runway with touches of metallic shadow on and under the eyes in glittering silver, purple, blue and green. At Marine Serre’s presentation, Janeen Witherspoon covered one model’s face — albeit one of the women, in what was a combined show — in gold metallic paint.
Taking a different approach, but achieving a similar effect, Jasmine Lundmark and her team gave models’ skin at Lazoschmidl’s show a still-wet-from-the-pool sheen (or sweating-in-the-midsummer-heat glow, take your pick).
When it comes to grooming choices that make a big impact, look no further than eyebrows, which were bleached, coloured, highlighted or adorned across a number of shows.
At Ahluwalia in London, makeup artist Mata Mariélle opted for gem-encrusted brows that looked both playful and luxurious on the runway. At Martine Rose, models wore concealed brows as well as ones brows concealed and then drawn back in with exaggerated lines, all executed by Marina Belfon-Rose.
In Milan, Jeremy Scott called on makeup artist Kabuki to use lines and shadows to accentuate the cheekbones, browlines and other angles of the models’ faces at Moschino. At Family First, models’ eyebrows were bleached or darkened to equally dramatic effect in looks by Mariapia Saragnese.
Marc Richardson is a Montreal-based writer and photographer. His work focuses on fashion, culture and the intersection between the two. He’s spent the better part of the last decade observing and cataloguing menswear from New York and London to Florence and Paris. You can follow him on Twitter @quicklongread and on Instagram @shooting.people.