We’ve been flirting with fringes for the past few seasons but now it seems the bang is firmly back after the Duchess of Cambridge unveiled one. Deirdre Reynolds couldn’t resist going for the chop
Marrying the future King of England was bound to have fringe benefits – but now it’s Kate Middleton who’s ‘hair’ apparent.
Four months after giving birth to Princess Charlotte, the Duchess of Cambridge was back with a bang last week debuting a new sixties-style fringe hairdo.
And just like her signature Chelsea blow-dry, it seems the Kate effect has taken root once more.
“Fringes have been in vogue for the last two seasons,” says Stephen Kelly of Zeba Hairdressing on Dublin’s South William Street. “I find it really interesting that it takes a celebrity or royal to do something before the world sits up and takes notice.
“If someone is thinking of getting a fringe, Kate’s new style is a good way to test the water because it’s not a full-on fringe. But I’d love to have seen her go a bit bolder and younger with it.”
If it’s bolder he wants, it’s bolder the award-winning stylist certainly gets when I jumped on the fringe bandwagon this week.
Victoria Beckham (41), Beyonce (34) and Kylie Jenner (18) are just some of the other stars who’ve rocked a banging new look recently.
With Strictly Come Dancing back on the box however, my coiffeur explained why he took inspiration from presenter Claudia Winkleman – whose world-famous fringe even has its own Twitter account – instead.
“You have to cut a fringe to suit a person’s hair type and face shape,” says Stephen. “Face shape is very important because if somebody has a small forehead and you cut in a fringe, all of a sudden, their face disappears.
“You’ve got really thick hair, so a slight, wispy fringe is not going to work,” he continues. “With curly hair, you also have to add about an inch to the length of the fringe to allow it to spring up.”
Although he’d never coiff and tell on an A-list client, Richard Ward, the duchess’s stylist, has spoken generally about the transformative power of a fringe in the past.
“A fringe makes an instant style statement,” he said. “It can add structure, soften the face and highlight or define features, and is a very youthful look.
“A longer, sweeping fringe is a great way to experiment without the risk factor of a complete restyle – these kind of fringes suit most people as they’re extremely soft and feminine.”
If, as Coco Chanel once said, “A woman who changes her hair is about to change her life”, then the ‘Kate cut’ is certainly one way to broadcast that the ‘baby holiday’ is well and truly over.
After her grey roots hit headlines earlier this year, and were swiftly blasted by celebrity stylist Nicky Clarke as “a disaster”, of course, there could be another, more practical reason the royal mum-of-two has gone for the chop.
Done properly, getting a fringe is the follicular equivalent of going under the knife, explains Stephen Kelly: “Over the last eight years, we’ve been selling the fringe as ‘recession botox’. Women are getting away with murder because it hides a multitude.”
When it comes to my naturally brunette tresses, like the Duchess, Fifty Shades of Grey is less fantasy than reality for me. And while my forehead thankfully doesn’t yet resemble a Hunky Dorys crisp, my new ’do does camouflage an old chicken pox scar on my temple, not to mention save time drawing on my non-existent eyebrows in the morning.
So will Kate’s bangs spark a rush to the salons here? It wouldn’t be the first time a princess caused a fringe frenzy, if so. In the 1880s, short, frizzy fringes were all the rage thanks to Alexandra, Princess of Wales, wife of Edward VII.
At home, red-hot hair straighteners are the key to looking less Alexandra than Kate this season, especially if you too are a curly girl, advises Stephen Kelly: “There is maintenance and upkeep on a fringe. If you can make the commitment to style your hair on a day to day basis however, you can wear anything.
“Any salon in the country would be happy to trim your fringe for you if you ran in off the street rather than going at it yourself with the toenail clippers and making a mess of it. It takes two seconds and most don’t charge.”
Beyond the fringe, patience is key, he adds: “When I think of growing a fringe out, I always look to the likes of Kim Kardashian. She has that lovely seventies bang parted in the middle or parted to the side so you get that lovely sweep.
“Getting from the eyebrow to just an inch below the eyebrow is the hardest part. Once you get it to an inch below the eyebrow it’s very easy to start putting a bend on it.”
With even perma-coiffed Michelle Obama confessing that her fringe was “getting a little irritating” after just a month, my sleek bob will probably be bang out of order in about a week.
As Kate Middleton probably didn’t say as she emerged from the salon though: ‘New hair, don’t care!’ If all else fails, I can always dress up as Cousin Itt from the Addams Family for Halloween…
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