Fashion File: Hair Fashion Is on the Rise, Literally

Bust out those cans of Aqua Net and the hot rollers; Big Hair is back.

From the current Versace ad campaign's fur-draped Fifth Avenue maven to the fashion world's obsession with '70s and '80s styles, trend setters with feathered hair, bouffants and back-combed 'dos are traipsing all over SoHo, West Hollywood and the malls of America.

"I've seen some kids with the flippy 'dos going out to clubs at night," says Debbie Stoller, editor of funky Bust magazine. "It's the '70s, Charlie's Angels, roller derby look: major curling-iron action."

By all accounts, young downtown hipsters are adopting the feathered-locks, while the uptown crowd is looking to the likes of Versace for inspiration.

Life of Luxury

Versace's over-the-top ads feature a look that's been cultivated by the rich and richer for years. "It's always been called the Park Avenue ''do,'" says Fabrice Gili, a stylist at New York's elite Frederic Fekkai salon.

Versace's style is extreme — not to mention time-consuming — but according to Gili his clients are asking for a more styled, richer look recently.

"The big hair is really a contrast to what we've been doing the last three years," says Gili. "We've been going with shiny, straight... So the trend is coming back — more groomed, more polished, less natural."

Brana Wolf, editor-at-large for Harper's Bazaar says, "the back-combed bigger hair hadn't gone out of style for everybody," referring particularly to old-time socialites. But, "if you're a trend follower, I don't think that's the hair you're wearing."

But Cosmopolitan magazine begs to differ. The November issue of the sexy mag features a six-page spread announcing "Big Hair Is Back," with tips on how women can give themselves the latest massive 'do.

High fashion, of course, doesn't always translate to women's everyday lives. Getting one's hair into a bouffant-ish style takes more expertise, effort and time than most women have, not to mention equipment — hot rollers, curling irons and gallons of hair spray.

So, why the ad campaign's massive 'do? "The [Versace] ad campaign is a narrative photo essay," says Wolf. "It doesn't necessarily touch on a current hair trend. Even Donatella herself has straight, long hair."

David Kinigson, a stylist at the ultra-chic Dop Dop salon, adds, "There's only a small segment of women who have the lifestyle who can say, 'This season I'm going to wear Versace.'"

A New Look

According to Kinigson, who works in the heart of hipster hair central — SoHo in New York City — women aren't copying the fashion mags so much as they are interpreting the trends and adapting a personalized version of trendy styles.

"The best thing woman can do is be inspired by something she sees," says Kinigson, "assimilate it and then — in conjunction with her stylist — come up with a style that honors the current fashion trend, but reflects her."

And while Wolf acknowledges that designers are re-interpreting the '70s and '80s, she sees a new look on the horizon. "What is a truer trend is a return to shorter hair on the runways — new girls, new models all seem to have a shorter hair cut."

So, if you're sporting some large locks, flip and flaunt them while you can before the fashion police demand you go in for a chop.