Most people who observe backstage beauty trends know that Spring/Summer is all about loud and live color, free-flowing curls and waves... basically, anything that reminds you of sunshine and happiness. Not to say that Fall/Winter doesn't evoke those feels, too, but the season always feels a bit more buttoned-up. But at New York Fashion Week Fall/Winter 2020, the hair trends range from sleek and chic to rock-n-roll ready. And yes, there are mullets involved.
"With fashion, there were plenty of shows where everyone looked exactly the same," Rodney Cutler tells me backstage at PH5 on Feb. 7. "Now, more and more shows really care about celebrating everybody's character. Designers are casting for that, so there's more and more variation."
And since variety is the spice of life and all, the trends we've spotted backstage run the gamut — from sleek, shiny ponytails at Longchamp to the grungy, lived-in waves at Monse, and the flowing fishtail braids seen backstage at Ulla Johnson and Rebecca Minkoff.
Ahead, see the looks dominating the runways of New York, and coming to a newsfeed near you.
NYFW Fall/Winter 2020 Hair Trend: All '90s Everything
Seen At: LaQuan Smith
Get The Look: "I started looking at '90s pictures of R&B artists," Jawara (for Dyson) tells TZR at the Feb. 8 presentation. "LaQuan didn’t want the hair to be too evening, so we went playful because the clothes will be structured." Some girls got big rope twists "down to the bum" (40 inches, to be exact), others got girly ponytails with a micro-bang, select models got cornrows with braided bangs, while others proudly rocked their shorter lengths.
NYFW Fall/Winter 2020 Hair Trend: Low Ponytails
Seen At: Longchamp, Brandon Maxwell, Self-Portrait, Carolina Herrera
Get The Look: "It's not a part that goes all the way back. It makes a slight difference to the hair shape," Guido Palau, Global Creative Director for Redken, describes of the '70s, French girl-inspired style at Longchamp on Feb. 8. "We're softening pieces around the face before the models go on the runway, but the part changes the attitude."
Models also wore a similar look at Brandon Maxwell's Fall/Winter 2020 show on Feb. 8, too.
At Carolina Herrera's Fall/Winter 2020 show on Feb. 10, Palau once again swept the hair into a low ponytail to showcase the Herrera's new makeup collection.
NYFW Fall/Winter 2020 Hair Trend: Grunge
Get The Look: At the PH5 presentation on Feb. 7, lead hairstylist Rodney Cutler (for Redken) was inspired by decades past. "It's a little rock-n-roll, a little '80s. When you think about '80s you think about gels. We're using sprays to get that chunky windblown spiky texture which is really cool. A lot of times, they'll use paste to get that dewiness and lived-in look. I want the look to be a little worn, like how your hair falls out the next day.
Also spotted backstage: mullets (or, at least, a mullet wig). If you're ready to lean into the trend that just won't die, the key to modernizing the look is all within the products that you use. According to Cutler, people used a lot of gel in the '80s. Today's reinterpretation boasts a shinier — not greasier — finish, along with longer layers.
"It's salty, matte grunge hair," Naeemah Lafond (for Amika) describes at Monse on Feb. 7. "We're keeping it sexy with non-uniform waves throughout the hair for a lived-in, natural look."
NYFW Fall/Winter 2020 Hair Trend: Hair As Art
Seen at: Christopher John Rogers, AREA
While the more popular hair trends tend to be styles you can wear at home, hairstylists aren't letting the need to be "wearable" hold them back. At Christopher John Rogers' Fall/Winter 2020 show on Feb. 8, the inspiration was topiary plants — and the result was structured, yet weightless, styles. Amika lead hairstylist Naeemah LaFond created the airy 'dos by shaping wigs, and expertly styling natural strands. She layered Amika's Vandal Powder into hair as she went, giving it a strong, yet floaty, texture.
At Area's Fall/Winter 2020 show on Feb. 9, lead hairstylist Jawara created crystal wigs that were then draped around models' necks. "This is my third season with AREA, and we like to play with the idea of crystals in the hair every season," he told TZR. But crystals as hair? Major.
NYFW Fall/Winter 2020 Hair Trend: Sporty Hair
Seen at: Chromat, Adeam
Get the look: No one does sporty beauty quite like Chromat, and the brand's Fall 2020 show was no exception. Tresemmé lead hairstylist Justin Marjan created an extra-long, mussy braid which she then wrapped with a Chromat ribbon. A touch of Tresemmé Premium Stying Dry Texture Finishing Spray gave the braid some guts, creating a sporty 'do that felt just as at home on the runway as it would in the gym.
The look at Adeam's Fall 2020 show also featured a sporty accessory — specifically pearl- and gold-accented headbands. "The inspiration was Naomi Osaka, who is a Japanese tennis champion," said Bumble and Bumble lead hairstylist Laurent Phillipon. "She came in and designed some dresses for the collection, too." Bumble and Bumble Surf Infusion and Surf Spray provided the necessary grit for the low-slung ponytail. He then slid the headband over to the ears, leaving two, mussy tendrils hanging.
NYFW Fall/Winter 2020 Hair Trend: Architectural Chignons
Seen at: Michael Kors, Naeem Khan, Prabal Gurung
The wispy, etherial chignons that seem to dominate Bridal Fashion Week got a modern twist for the Fall/Winter 2020 season at NYFW. At Michael Kors, lead hairstylist Orlando Pita opted for a spiky take on the look. He started by slicking the hair back into a tight, low ponytail, and gelling the crown of the head to keep things sleek. Then, he twisted the hair into a figure eight shape, leaving some spiky pieces poking out of the right side. In order to keep said pieces upright, Pita blasted them with the Humidity Block Hairspray from his line.
At Naeem Khan, instead of spiky pieces of hair, the structured chignons were accented with huge metallic hair pieces. Aveda lead hairstylist Jon Reyman created the tube-like updos by pulling the hair into a ponytail, flipping it vertically, securing it against the head, and then flipping the loose ends down. The result was an oversized 'do that you could see from the front.
And finally, at Prabal Gurung, Bumble and Bumble lead hairstylist Laurent Phillipon created a chignon by first saturating the hair with Bumble and Bumble Gel Oil. (Are you sensing a theme here?) He pulled the hair into a ponytail before adding equally-spaced elastics down the tail. Phillipon then folded the hair onto the head organically, securing the whole thing with pins.