One Slick Pony
Over the course of hair history, few trends have undergone as many transmutations as the ponytail. Depending on the wearer’s mood, it can be pulled high and tight, slung low and loose, worn on either side of the head and secured with scrunchies and ribbons, and those are just a few of its myriad incarnations. It has also become something of a trademark for several iconic figures, ranging from “Blonde Ambition”-era Madonna to the Kaiser himself, Karl Lagerfeld. As we enter summer’s final stretch, a ponytail is an excellent heat-deflecting hairstyle; it also happened to be the style of choice at a handful of the major Fall runway shows. If its staying power and transitional potential provide any indication, the sooner you perfect your pony, the better.
While many ponytails were spotted backstage at shows from Alexander Wang to Valentino, the ones that made the most authoritative statements were those that were slick and severe. Guido Palau was the de facto ponytail provider at Marc Jacobs, Louis Vuitton and Emanuel Ungaro. At each of these shows, models took to the runways with taut, lacquered “dominatrix” ponytails. Meanwhile, at Gucci, the look was slightly less sadomasochistic but equally chic, pulled low with a sleek side part and finished off with a single feather. To add some polish, a piece of hair was wrapped around the base of the ponytail. The models at Givenchy, on the other hand, went right up the middle with center-parted low ponies. (All the better to accommodate the collection’s standout felt feline baseball hats.)
To execute the ponytail to perfection without looking like you’ve just come back from the gym, you’ll need a few tools. As a general rule, the straighter the hair, the stronger the look – you may have to break out that flat iron to prevent any unsightly frizz or kink. At Marc Jacobs, Palau prepped hair with Redken Blown Away 09 Blow-Dry Gel and Shine Flash 02 Glistening Mist before gathering hair into a high pony at the crown of the head. To emulate the styles seen at Gucci or Givenchy, use a fine-tooth comb to create a precise side or middle part and comb the hair straight, and then secure it at the nape of the neck. As the next step, take a piece of hair from the ponytail and wrap it around the base, using bobby pins to hold it all in place. Finish the look with a mist of hairspray, and you’re set for the rest of the summer and well into fall.
by Gianna Froccaro