The professionals get their effects with what looks like a nylon sausage.
'In the past, women used to stuff old stockings and wrap their hair round them into a roll, but things have got a bit more sophisticated now,' one of Sam McKnight's team of hairdressers told me in Milan. He then removed a phallic-looking object from the ubiquitous hairdresser's rucksack and described it, rather accurately I thought, in words unsuitable for print.
That was before I had the chance to admire a range of false platinum 'pieces' destined to deck the head of model Nadja Auermann.
The Italian collections were like a trip to the movies. Here were Forties rolls suitable for a movie-land starlet at Versace's second line, Versus; at Dolce & Gabbana's second line, D&G; and at Blumarine, where the look was Seventies-revisits-the-Forties. The work of the legendary stylist Sydney Guilaroff, pintuck king of the silver screen, had obviously been under scrutiny.
For the models, 'dressed' hair is not good news. 'We have to get up even earlier. My call time tomorrow is 6am,' whined a fledgling in Milan. The supergirls get called last, but still have to schedule extra time for Marilyn Monroe-style bouncy curls (Linda Evangelista) and luxurious waves (Kate Moss). The bad news for the audience is that some supergirls like being late, which means the shows are running later and later as hairdressers scurry around backstage sweeping and pinning.
The hair is of course designed to go with the clothes, to complement the taste for glamour which is sweeping the current catwalk shows for Spring/Summer 1995. London has endorsed the trend, with glamorous false pony tails at Red or Dead, diamante slides at Amanda Wakeley and exaggerated French pleats at Helen Storey. Paris started it last season (which means we're already meant to have started on it this autumn). At Chloe, hair was twisted high and tight; at John Galliano, exaggerated metal and lacquer hair accessorises hinted at the dressed-hair trend to follow.
The clothes that go with it are sexy, but less strident than Seventies revivalist clothes (which demand crimped, wild, uncontrolled hair). Flippy shorts for practising your tap- dancing, flirty dresses to wiggle in to meet your stage-door Johnny, siren numeros for premieres and pretty, to-the-knee dresses for meeting his mother.
Of course, like many exaggerated catwalk trends, designed to arrest the attention of a weary audience made up of the veterans of hundreds of shows each season, it's all rather silly. Rather prim. But at least it is peppy and pretty, which is more than could ever be said of the greasy, centre-parted, drippy and unflattering hair of grunge.
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