Though New York Fashion week seems to come and go in a flash, the trends that result from the six-day frenzy of new designer collections, traffic-stopping street style, and celebrity-filled events last well into the following months. This year, amidst the fanfare, one beauty element stood out, commanding as much, if not more, attention than the elaborate clothes themselves. If you guessed graphic nails or a hefty dose of blush you’re pretty close, but, intricately detailed hairstyles stole the show both on and off the runway, with braided ponytails leading the charge as the biggest hair trend at NYFW.
Starting at day one, Christian Siriano models strutted down a baroque-style runway in colorful gowns and avant garde braided updos conceived by lead hairstylist Jawara Wauchope. Just a few short days later on Little Island, Proenza Schouler presented its SS ‘22 collection where show goers were treated to a presentation of colorful knits, structured tailoring, and — you guessed it — braided ponytails. And while two may be happenstance, three is definitely a trend — the minimalist favorite brand Bevza also topped off its designs this season with a slightly undone braided ponytail.
Since this look is sure to stick around throughout the fall, here are all the best iterations of the braided ponytail from NYFW to inspire your own take in the coming months.
The backstage scene at Christian Siriano on Tuesday, September 7 was that of a typical fashion show just hours before showtime: frantic. The most notable thing amidst the busyness were the giant packs on Kanekalon braiding hair in various shades of black and brown being strewn around. Hair stylists were using the hair extensions to create sleek braided ponytails — some low and long, and some high and pinned up into artfully patterned updos.
In the middle of the gloriously chaotic scene, TZR spoke to lead hairstylist Jawara Wauchope who, has worked on Beyoncé’s hair on multiple occasions. “The collection was inspired by Christian’s family in Italy and it was so regal that we wanted a bit of whimsicality to the hair,” he tells TZR. “So we decided to start with a really tight and cute ponytail with a long braid, and we put it into like an S formation.” Wauchope didn’t stop there. Many of the models had embroidered braid designs on the base of the head, and long pieces of fabric (scraps from the collection no less) woven into the braids for a subtle pop of color.
The hair team used Fekkai products to treat the hair before and during styling. “I’m really big on hair care so we used the shea butter line to make sure the hair was nicely moisturized,” Wauchope explains to TZR.
The team behind hair on set used Dyson blow dryers with the diffuser attachment to dry and harden the base of the hair as well as the braids so not a single hair was out of place on the runway.
And to add a sparkling cherry on top, if you will, the finished masterpiece of hair was adorned with a jeweled headband tiara from jewelry brand Luminous Diamonds — including a one-of-a-kind fluorescent diamond tiara created specifically for the show.
Bevza’s runway proves that the braided ponytail is a strong contender for the perfect everyday hairstyle. Even when not tightly slicked back the style is still chic and put together — the fuzzy baby hairs and wispy flyaways give this look an effortlessness that screams “I woke up like this” in the best way possible.
Heather Packer, the key hairstylist for the show, wanted the baby hairs to be a part of the braided looks as well as the looser hair option for the show, with a center part throughout, to keep the overall vibe soft and carefree.
Lead hairstylist Guido Palou at the Proenza Schouler show dubbed the braided ponytail “a modern dress code.” As he said to press backstage, “It's minimal but not too sophisticated — the braid keeps it feeling young. Along with girls wearing their natural loose texture, the show was about an overall feeling rather than a [cohesive] theme.”
Palou used bBumble and bumble hair products to execute the look, primarily the Bb. Grooming Cream and the Bb. Strong Finish Hairspray to keep the front smooth after blowing it back with a dryer. Similar to the Siriano show, the braided ponytails at Proenza Schouler had an embellished element as well, with elastic ties woven through the braids, proving that this style is perfectly customizable and apt for personalization no matter your style or aesthetic.
Meanwhile off the runway and on the city streets, celebrities and fashion insiders alike were also sporting their own renditions of the braided ponytail trend.
Rapper Lil’ Kim must have gotten the memo about braided ponytails prior to the Christian Siriano show, because she came fully and glamorously prepared with an extra long, almost whip-like, high ponytail. Much like the models in the show, Lil’ Kim’s braid was also adorned with ribbon — in her case, red to match the floral detailing on her dress.
Leave it to Bella Hadid to have the coolest take on the week’s buzziest hair trend. The model paired her braided updo with a smoky cat eye and a strappy sheer dress worn over plaid trousers for her Kin Euphorics launch party. Her Instagram story from the night showed a detailed how-to of her hair, pulled up into a medley of tiny braids and intertwined with spiral hair charms — a bit reminiscent of an almost Y2K vibe, which totally make sense, since she’s been known to rock a Y2K look every now and then.
Once you’ve seen the same hairstyle on both Hadid sisters, you know it’s definitely a trend. While the model sisters probably borrow hair inspo from each other, they’re always at the forefront of fashion and beauty trends, which means any major style they rock is poised to take off. This sleek braided ponytail was done by hairstylist Laura Polka who often works with Hadid’s golden locks. This take on the trend is probably the most common and easiest to pull off due to its simplicity — a slicked back ponytail in a tight braid. Using plenty of gel and a bristle brush can help you achieve that smooth base and help the look last from day to night.