Bobs are In!!!


What About Bobs?


KCS Presse/Splash News/Corbis (Watts); Getty Images (Hall)TOP CROPS | From left: Naomi Watts; model Catherine McNeil; and actress Rebecca Hall

TO CHOP OR NOT? That was the question that had a group of women who work in the fashion industry hotly discussing hair at dinner a couple of weeks ago. “I just love Daria in Céline,” said Topshop creative director Kate Phelan with the wistful tone you’d use for a fur coat in the mid-five figures. In other words: something not particularly attainable. She was referring to model Daria Werbowy’s just-the-past-the-chin haircut in the latest ad campaign from Céline. The final consensus: That length, however inspiring, is a difficult one if you don’t have the fine bone structure and whippet-thin physique of a model, or a DOB later than 1985. And yet, it still beckoned.


Everett CollectionLauren Hutton in 1980

Just as fashion trends come and go, so do hairstyles. The latest to boomerang into the limelight is the bob—a haircut with a length that lands anywhere from the top of the jawline to just above the collarbone.

Late last year, model Karlie Kloss famously cut her long locks into a blunt and tousled gamin style with bangs that framed her heart-shaped face just so. Since then the urge to jettison a few inches has gone viral.


F. Martin Ramin for The Wall Street JournalCéline’s influential spring ad campaign with model Daria Werbowy

“I feel like everyone is getting their hair cut,” said Manhattan-based food writer Tarajia Morrell. She recently lopped about 7 inches off her fine, straight hair, a move that was prompted in part, she said, by an “intense year of transition.” Karla Martinez, an editor at W Magazine, took the plunge with a chin-grazing cut a few weeks ago, after returning home from her wedding. “My hair was really long and it was driving me insane,” said Ms. Martinez, who got a keratin treatment at the same time to control her natural curls. “I think that’s helped me to not look like a triangle head,” she said.

Curls can undermine the impact of a shorter cut, as can abundant tresses. Swimwear designer Lisa Marie Fernandez cut her thick, wavy hair four years ago during the bob’s last big moment. “I’ll never do it again,” she said. “It looked great. Then I got into the humidity and it shrank 3 inches.”


Getty Images (Kloss); Billy Farrell Agency (Kwong, Brill)CLEAN CUT | Sharp, tailored silhouettes complement the bob best. From left: socialite Lily Kwong, model Karlie Kloss and creative consultant Jen Brill.

Hair stylist Ted Gibson, who just cut model Elettra Wiedemann’s hair into a Kloss-like style, suggests a long bob, also called a “lob,” for those with curly hair. He also recommends the longer version for older women. “You don’t want to look like a soccer mom,” said Mr. Gibson. “You also don’t want it bone straight. A little wave looks modern.”

One ardent fan of the look is New York hair stylist Ashley Javier, who’s dubbed it “the Ash,” after himself. “It’s the first thing that women did when they got the vote in 1918: They bobbed their hair,” said Mr. Javier. “It creates a level of independence and identity.” His preferred version is all one length (“a bit broomish,” he said). He’s in the process of easing one of his clients, Feed Projects founder Lauren Bush Lauren, from her long locks to something shorter. “She’s hardworking but her longer hair says ‘I ride horses,’ ” he said. “It doesn’t give people the idea that you mean business.”

It’s no coincidence that the last time the bob was big, designers like Balmain and Maison Martin Margiela were doing those exaggerated shoulders. This cut calls for sharp clothes. “The bob looks great with minimalist clothing,” said Ms. Fernandez, the swimwear designer. “Céline—that’s the perfect backdrop for it.”

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