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."

Homeless Veterans charity auction: Cook with Angela Hartnett and Neil Borthwick at Merchants Tavern
charity appeal
Amir Khan is engaged in a broader battle than attempting to win a fight with Floyd Mayweather
boxing Exclusive: Amir Khan reveals plans to travel to Pakistan
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Ched Evans in action for Sheffield United in 2012
footballRonnie Moore says 'he's served his time and the boy wants to play football'
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Finance Director

    £65000 - £80000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Finance Director required to jo...

    Recruitment Genius: Medico-Legal Assistant

    £15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a unique opportunity fo...

    Ashdown Group: (PHP / Python) - Global Media firm

    £50000 per annum + 26 days holiday,pension: Ashdown Group: A highly successful...

    The Jenrick Group: Quality Inspector

    £27000 per annum + pension + holidays: The Jenrick Group: A Quality Technician...

    Day In a Page

    Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

    Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

    'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture