Alexander Fury: Every haircut is like Sweeney Todd, to me
Why did haircuts have to become a fashion accessory?
Alexander Fury is a fashion journalist, author and critic. He is fashion editor of the Independent, i and the Independent on Sunday newspapers and was awarded the inaugural Editorial Intelligence Award for Fashion Commentator of the Year 2014-15. He was named one of InStyle magazine's 20 most powerful people in fashion in 2015.
Sunday 29 December 2013
I bemoan the fact that hair became a fashion accessory in the 1960s. OK, it’s been on the fashion radar for centuries – Marie Antoinette’s frigate- or fruit-topped poufs, Louis XIV’s powdered wigs, Queen Elizabeth’s flaming locks – but the 1960s marked something different. Hair became about cut, colour, and about your actual hair, not wigs. Hats flew out the window for everyday wear.
I wouldn’t mind them flying right back in. Because I loathe having my hair cut, in case you can’t tell from the unruly locks I generally sport. I’m not entirely sure why. Bar a haircut that amounted to a scalping aged 18 (I wanted Hedi Slimane, I ended up skinhead), I’ve had no scarring psychological experiences with hairdressing. But I’ve despised it since infancy.
I’ve examined the reasons for my hatred. They are complex, and numerous. I recently had a cornea infection and underwent various hideous procedures involving scalpels and woefully inadequate anaesthetic (I demand full sensory deprivation for anything more uncomfortable than a toenail clipping).
I realised halfway through my most recent haircut that I reacted in exactly the same manner: cold sweats, nausea and all. Other people look on haircuts as a form of social exchange – they chat and read magazines. I look upon them as necessary but barely bearable torture. I grit my teeth, stare at the floor, and try not to vomit.
This certainly isn’t a criticism of those who have cut my hair. It’s a paean of praise. God knows how they put up with a gibbering, sweaty, curly haired wreck such as me.
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