Every Hollywood star needs a mission, and Brad Pitt's is surely worthy of a UN ambassadorship. His "goal" is to bring moustaches back in fashion, he said recently while sporting one for a role in the Quentin Tarantino Second World War film 'Inglourious Basterds', adding: "I don't think 'staches are respected enough."
And lo, Brad's dream – or the nightmare of anyone still haunted by those episodes of 'EastEnders' in which Ian Beale grew a moustache resembling a greasy weasel, to the collective derision of Albert Square – is becoming a reality. The moustache is in the hairy throes of a comeback.
This might not be as terrifying as it sounds. I got a fairly close-up look at a mustachioed Pitt on the red carpet for the Baftas, and to my surprise his well-documented good looks were only enhanced by the Forties fighter-pilot facial hair. In fact, the 'tache looked so dashing that I found myself spontaneously yelling "Get out of the flipping (not actual word used) way!" to someone who was blocking my view.
The trend has been bubbling away for a while among musicians, such as Quentin Delafon from The Teenagers, but celebrity endorsement has given it added impetus. Pitt grew his 'tache for a role, but the decision to maintain it between filming was clearly style-related. Other actors who have recently cultivated the look for films and then omitted to shave them off include George Clooney and Jude Law for 'Sherlock Holmes'. A year or so ago, the moustache sported by James Franco's character in 'Milk' would have looked out of place on pretty much anyone outside the Seventies, but now he could be a global hipster plucked from the streets of Hoxton, Brooklyn or Sao Paulo. Male models at recent Yohji Yamamoto and Martin Margiela shows sported moustaches, and fashion events such as the launch of the Hussein Chalayan exhibition at the Design Museum are increasingly riddled with upper-lip face fuzz.
For men who have put images of Tom Selleck, Borat, Charles Bronson et al to the back of their minds and want to embrace facial hair, Jennifer Chase, who is charge of male grooming at the Mathew Alexander salon in Mayfair, has these suggestions. Before you stop shaving, she urges careful consideration of the size as well as the shape of the moustache – a big brush will swamp delicate features, but a smaller one will balance out a thin upper lip perfectly. "Opt for a clean, short, Fifties style, worn with short, sideswept hair," she says. "Don't go for the 'My Name Is Earl' Jason Lee hillbilly type, and the Hulk Hogan is a definite no-go." The look should be hipster, not wrestler.