Embrace the Rainbow?

Model Chloe Nørgaard shows off her chic varicoloured ponytail backstage at the Marimekko S/s 2013 show. Image JON GURINSKY

Rainbow-hued hair has been around for a very long time.

Look back to the 1940s and 50s and it was a big thing for society ladies to sport glamorous updos in shades of pale blue, rose and lilac. In the 1970s punk idol Debbie Harry’s iconic platinum locks were sometimes tinted with a candy pink wash or decorated with graphic skunk-stripes, while in the 80s Annie Lennox sported a fire-engine red pixie cut. Gwen Stefani was rarely seen in the 90s without her hair dyed vibrant shades of pink, blue and orange, while Rihanna has gone cherry red many times since 2010. Katy Perry has followed suit by dying her enviable tresses every imaginable shade of violet, burgandy, blue, pink, lilac- even green!

Katy Perry by Joe Pugliese for the May 2012 editon of The Hollywood Reporter (left), Annie Lennox by Brian Aris for a 1983 edition of Cosmo. Image THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER/JOE PUGLISE/COSMOPOLITAN MAGAZINE/BRIAN ARIS

The look is currently going through a mainstream renaissance, with stars like Rita Ora and Nicole Richie rocking the trend (sometimes to the extreme), but it has been a popular look around the fashion crowd for a much longer period.

Nicole Richie (in Valentino, Alberta Ferretti and Emporio Armani, jewelry by Anita Ko, Jennifer Meyer and Gaydamak) by Jake Rosenberg for Paper Magazine’s May 2014 issue. Image PAPER MAGAZINE/JAKE ROSENBERG

Designers Vivienne Westwood and Betsey Johnson have had their psychedelic tresses for decades, while in recent years free-spirited models like Charlotte Free, Magdalena Frackowiak, Barbara Palvin and Chloe Nørgaard have embraced bold hair colours. Even those involved behind the scenes in the fashion world have been cottoning-on to the trend, with high-profile editors and stylists like Preetma Singh, Roberta Einer and Imogene Barron, being spotted with a variety of day – glow locks for the past few seasons. Let’s not even talk about the number of fashion bloggers who are currently trying out this look!

Magdalena Frackowiak (in Ohne Titel bodysuit, fur stoles by Prada and Micheal Kors and New York Vintage earrings) by Catherine Servel for Exhibition Magazine’s 2011 premier issue. Image EXHIBITION MAGAZINE.CATHERINE SERVEL

Designers have even been utilizing bright hair in their runway shows for the past few seasons; remember the Crayola-bright hues spotted at the Prada S/s 2014 show or the pastel bobs seen at the 2013 Chanel Resort show? Narciso Rodriguez, Alice and Olivia, Vena Cava, Thakoon…the list goes on and on, and it seems that there really hasn’t been a show in the past few seasons where a model with bright hair hasn’t been seen.

Pastel bobs and pussy bows, courtesy hair stylist Sam McKnight, were seen at Chanel 2013 Resort Show. Image CHANEL/VINCENT LAPPARTIENT

Extremely brave souls have dyed their whole heads, while the less courageous have incorporated wild colour into their look with chunky streaks, brightly-pigmented ombré effects and bold dip-dyed hairdos. From fluorescent neons to candyfloss pastels and deep jewel tones, it seems that no colour has been left untried!

With the Fall 2015 fashion season already in full swing, NYFW fast approaching, and countless trend reports already hitting newsstands, rainbow hair is predicted to get even bigger this winter.

Charlotte Free by The Cobrasnake, for the Wildfox S/s 2012 Campaign. Image WILDFOX/THE COBRASNAKE

I love this trend, but I’ll admit that I’m a little apprehensive to try it myself (I’m working my way up to trying a champagne pink!). It’s definitely not a look for the faint of heart. Bright hair is a look that guarantees a lot of attention- especially at non-fashion events where you’re basically the only attendee with rainbow locks. But I can see myself taking the plunge pretty soon. Maybe for the holidays… I’ll be doing some fabulous island hopping with my siblings and what goes better with a yacht than Caribbean sea tinged locks?

Chloe Nørgaard backstage at the Nicole Miller S/s 2014 show. Image REX FEATURES

A word of caution to those of you considering this trend. With the harsh process of stripping your natural hair of all colour (blondes are incredibly lucky here!) and the vigilant post-dye regimen of deep conditioning treatments and colour touch-ups, you’ll have a look that’s incredibly high-maintenance. Colored hair also requires meticulous styling and color matching; it’s something that can very easily be ruined by the smallest style mistake, while picking the wrong shade initially could mean your color ends up either looking tacky or clashing horribly with your skin tone. Using too many styling products will turn your hair to straw, while under-using products will leave the hair unmanageable; over-cleansing horribly damages your hair while under-washing leaves your tresses looking greasy and stringy. Basically, its not an easy, breeze-y look – it takes understanding and work.

Kate Bosworth (in Missoni and JewelMint jewelry) by David Mushegain for StyleCaster’s October 2011 issue. Image STYLECASTER/DAVID MUSHEGAIN

Let’s talk a little about styling. As I said above, bright hair only looks good if it’s meticulously styled. Try it long and flowing like a chic new-age hippie (think Chloe Nørgaard), in a simple braid, or worn in extremely glamourous Old Hollywood-styled coif. Personally, I prefer the third choice, and I think Rihanna and Nicole Richie’s red carpet hairdos are good examples of how to pull this trend off well. Simple, elegant and effortlessly chic, their rainbow – washed locks always look gorgeous when styled like this. Whatever style you choose, your hair must be kept in immaculate condition to pull this look off well.

Rihanna (in Stella McCartney and Wilfredo Rosado jewelry ) at the 2011 MET Gala. Image GETTY IMAGES

Tempted to take the plunge? My advice is to not attempt to do this style at home, especially if it’s the first time you’re doing something so drastic. Invest your time and money into having your hair done by a professional, who can easily guide you out of mistakes in coloring, and will prevent your hair from becoming overly-damaged by the bleaching process.

The rainbow-streaked bobs were created by hair stylist James Pecis for the Meadham Kirchhoff S/s 2011 show. Image GETTY IMAGES

Also, if you’re extremely apprehensive about dying your hair a bold colour, you by no means have to dye your whole head! Try some coloured highlights, chunky streaks, a bold ombré or even a dip-dye look. That said, there’s a world of high-quality temporary hair pigments out there if you really don’t want to take the plunge with something permanent. Be bold and experiment!

Jessie J (in an Offset Warehouse jumpsuit, Chanel belt) at a party at London’s Nobu Resturant in 2011. Image GETTY IMAGES

On a final note dear reader, I want to know what you think about this trend. Love it? Hate it? Find it cool, but not really your style? Let me know in the comments box!

Just please be sure you’re really looking Vogue fierce before you Instagram your new ‘do’!

Stay bold!


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11 thoughts on “Embrace the Rainbow?

  1. When it’s done right, it’s a fabulous look! If I didn’t have to bleach my black hair, I’d try something funky 🙂


    • It’s a nice addition to the fall trends. You can always try a temporary colour wash, or a pigment powder; they show up on unbleached hair. Go for it! 🙂

    • Well, I suppose it’s not really for everyone, it takes a lot of guts to go purple! Thank you for the photo love, I do really try to keep the posts beautifully illustrated! 😀

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