No more Mr Smooth Guy

Banish that razor, says DOMINIC LUTYENS - the new trend is for beardy and bushy

David Beckham dishier with a beard? Ryan Giggs fancied for his chest rug? You bet! Beards may have once signalled mung-bean-munching sensibilities, but style-press moguls and teenagers alike are nestling up to the notion that they're really quite fetching. And while chest hair once screamed sad Seventies playboy, a pelt now makes hearts melt.

Men's style magazine Arena has made a fetish of fashion stories with bearded or moustached models. Forget goatees - we're talking German woodcutter/Santa Claus growths. In pursuit of the hirsute, one fashion editor asked members of the gay hair-loving and beard-wearing fraternity, the Bears Club, to pose for a recent story. This month's issue includes handlebar 'taches reminiscent of the Mexican bandit in The Roadrunner.

For its August issue, GQ asked a journalist to grow a 'tache and record others' reactions to it. Teenzine Bliss is covering the trend in a July issue. "We're featuring Paul Nicholls, Ewan McGregor, Jay Kay, Gary Barlow, Johnny Depp and the Backstreet Boys with their new facial hair," says celebrity editor Paul Hart. "It makes them older-looking, which girls find hornier. In a recent readers' poll of the world's 50 sexiest men, David Beckham came third. I'm sure his new beard boosts that rating."

High-profile fashion photographer Terry Richardson affects a Seventies Open University lecturer 'tache. Ozwald Boateng and Kenzo both hired model Satya Oblet, who sports a distinctive bleached beard, to pose for their ad campaigns.

Adrian Clark, Attitude's fashion director, surprised himself recently by sprouting a beard for the first time ever. "Men's fashion has become camper in the past two seasons. With a beard I feel I can wear a `poofy' shirt, like Gucci's shocking pink one, and still look masculine," he explains. "My beard gives me more scope and individuality."

A hunger for individuality, in reaction to late-Nineties homogeneous "good taste", is one reason for the trend. Last year, mavericks Vivienne Westwood and Jean-Paul Gaultier helped spark it by sending out models sporting bushy 'taches straight out of Asterix The Movie.

"We're moving away from the pseudo-sophistication of minimalism," suggests fashion designer Joe Casely-Hayford. "There's a yearning for all things natural. Facial hair hints at an earthier existence. There's a realisation that the streamlined, hairless Nineties male torso is only believable to very few."

Mark Evans, a booker at Models 1, detects a sea change, too. "A year ago, magazines like ZM would have asked guys to shave their chests for summer shoots. But now they've got hairy-chested guys doing stuff with their shirts off."

Then there's the everything-goes-in-cycles theory. "Quite simply, moustaches and beards haven't been fashionable for 20 years," says Nick Sullivan associate fashion editor at Arena. "The boy in the most recent Gucci ad campaign has a smidge of chest hair," notes Clark.

Reactions to the return of the rugged are mixed. Tracey Cahoon, an artistic director at Toni & Guy, fancies men with facial hair: "Men with beards are sexy. They're not overly concerned about their image." But Sullivan makes light of the trend. "It's ironic. It's unlikely to catch on. Beards are too high-maintenance and moustaches are a no-no - just look at Nigel Mansell's."

Voices
The Sumatran tiger, endemic to the Indonesian island of Sumatra, is an endangered species
voicesJonathon Porritt: The wild tiger population is thought to have dropped by 97 per cent since 1900
News
news
Arts and Entertainment
Story line: Susanoo slays the Yamata no Orochi serpent in the Japanese version of a myth dating back 40,000 years
arts + entsApplying the theory of evolution to the world's many mythologies
Life and Style
Popular plonk: Lambrusco is selling strong
Food + drinkNaff Seventies corner-shop staple is this year's Aperol Spritz
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
News
Gardai wait for the naked man, who had gone for a skinny dip in Belfast Lough
newsTwo skinny dippers threatened with inclusion on sex offenders’ register as naturists criminalised
News
Shake down: Michelle and Barack Obama bump knuckles before an election night rally in Minnesota in 2008, the 'Washington Post' called it 'the fist bump heard round the world'
newsThe pound, a.k.a. the dap, greatly improves hygiene
Arts and Entertainment
La Roux
music
Arts and Entertainment
Graham Fellows as John Shuttleworth
comedySean O'Grady joins Graham Fellows down his local Spar
News
people
News
Ross Burden pictured in 2002
people
News
Elisabeth Murdoch: The 44-year-old said she felt a responsibility to 'stand up and be counted’'
media... says Rupert Murdoch
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Extras
indybest
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Junior / Graduate Application Support Engineer

    £26000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A highly successful international media organ...

    QA Manager - North Manchester - Nuclear & MOD - £40k+

    £35000 - £41000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: QA Manager -...

    Property Finance Partner

    Very Competitive Salary: Austen Lloyd: LONDON - BANKING / PROPERTY FINANCE - ...

    Agile Tester

    £28000 - £30000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: An ambitious...

    Day In a Page

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried