The Irritations of Modern Life: 62. boho chic by Kate Mulvey

WHEN JENNIFER Aniston turned up at the Emmy Awards in Los Angeles this week, she may have dazzled the cameras with her girl-next-door smile but, instead of tossing her trademark glossy hair, she looked as if she had just spent the night in an urban terrorist camp. Her hair was so matted she made the just-got-out-of-bed look of the Sixties sex kitten seem positively groomed.

Last week, Kate Winslet seemed equally keen to lose her "pretty" image, when she appeared at the Venice Film Festival. Gone was the English rose and in its place was the trailer-trash look. Kate was sporting greasy, matted hair that looked as if she was too poor or too stoned to buy a bottle of shampoo.

What's going on? Even Madonna was spotted resembling a designer bag lady with unkempt hair, ugly black roots and enough tattoos to put a truck driver to shame.

The current anti-glam fashion is not confined to celebrities, say fashion experts - and New Age traveller hair is sure to catch on, to complement this season's boho chic look. Soon, ultra-hip bars like Chinawhite and the Met Bar will resemble upmarket travellers' camps with It-girls swanning around in ethnic ponchos and a hairdo that owes more to Swampy than Sassoon.

What's wrong with good old-fashioned sex appeal? And why is appearing desirable in the post-feminist Nineties up there with white stilettos? Is this really an ironic fashion statement?

Who are they kidding? Going anti-glam is nothing new. In the 1950s, British beatniks rejected the ladylike fashions of the time. But, for them, dressing down was a political statement. Jennifer and chums may think being an "ironic" eco-warrior gives them intellectual credibility, but they're wrong. Matted hair just looks stupid.

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