This Hair Got Us Thinking

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It would seem that there are two hair camps, spread across the backstages of New York Fashion Week this season: teams who use store-bought hair with the intention of making it look as real as possible (tricksters!), and those who use store-bought hair with the intention of making it look as fake as possible. Regarding the former camp, we're no strangers to real-looking, high-fashion hair extensions (Alessandra had her adventures with the Balmain version), and we swooned over the cognac clone-ponytails at Alexander Wang, not to mention the waist-length straight ponytails at Wes Gordon, and the neck-lengthening "other-worldly couture alien dominatrix" 'dos Eugene Souleiman whipped up for Donna Karan (a pack of hair wrapped around each tight, leather-wrapped high pony). Navigating these shows, where hair pieces are snuck in to blend with/fill out a model's less-than-bountiful tresses is enough to make you feel a little sad about your comparatively wimpy natural hair. But then came Thakoon's "conceptual" bang, and last night, Rodney Cutler and friends hamming it up backstage at Betsey Johnson, where we found ourselves unexpectedly refreshed by the sight of some truly cheap wigs. (See also: Rick Owens Spring 2013.)

“Oh you could get these anywhere, at any cheap store,” Rodney Cutler (Redken) said, slicing the hairpieces' inner netting and cutting a hole in the back of a choppy bob-length auburn number. The hole was used to anchor the hairpiece on the models' heads, helped by the protrusion of a long, straight ponytail. ("Some of the girls are in workout gear, and they're gonna be doing jumping jacks and stuff on the runway," Cutler explained, "so I said 'You've gotta have a ponytail. Every girl out of the gym's got a ponytail.") The wigs jutted out like permed (crimped and then permed?) mushroom cuts. "We'd tried it with real hair and it just didn't look crazy enough. This isn't hair that you see and go to the salon wanting, thinking all these models have this crazy, luxurious, thick hair," Cutler said. “You’re not going to see this in the pages of Vogue; it’s just fun and crazy and Betsey."

"'Fierce,'" he added. "Not 'what’s hot and new and fresh.' We want the wig to look wiggy.” Well, hey, amen to that, right? Sometimes in all the flash and dash, it's nice to be real about what's fake.

Photographed by Alessandra Codinha at Lincoln Center in New York on February 11th, 2013.

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