As we settle into the new year (and new decade), now is the perfect time to get your head around the biggest hair trends for spring/summer 2020. Vogue went backstage at the catwalks of Erdem, Oscar de la Renta, JW Anderson and more, to meet leading hairstylists such as Guido Palau to bring you the definitive top five styles spotted at fashion month.
From Little Women-style prairie braids and high-shine, sleek centre-partings to the well-placed statement accessory (think wearable pearl and feather hair clips) — if you’re considering switching it up a little, these are the biggest and boldest looks to try this year.
Embrace the accessory
At the spring/summer 20 shows, accessories were everywhere — and made out of some unusual materials. At Simone Rocha, hairstylist Duffy sent braids woven with raffia and fishtail plaits adorned with pearls down the runway, all with an avant-garde sprinkling of feathers and twigs (the show took folklore inspiration from the fabled Irish Wren boys — Rocha herself is from Dublin).
Hair pearls also featured at Khaite, the brand responsible for the viral bra-and-cardigan trend of last summer. The iridescent headpieces were dripping in precious stones and reminiscent of Princess Stéphanie of Monaco (in 1987, she famously wore diamantes on top of her hair at a charity ball). “Every girl is getting the bling treatment,” hairstylist Eugene Souleiman told Vogue backstage.
Meanwhile, hairstylist and Vogue contributor Guido Palau threaded delicate fabric through miniature braids at Alexander McQueen. “Accessories are always a good way to enhance a look,” Palau said. “Clips and pins are the most wearable and they’ve become a genderless hair accessory. It’s always exciting to work with a designer when they have created a clip or pin for the hair for their collection. Prada did some great ones for [its] resort 2020 show.”
Braids all the way
Little House on the Prairie plaits were big news on the spring/summer 2020 runways. In an ode to Erdem Moralıoğlu’s muse for the season — 20th-century photographer, Tina Modotti — the designer chose chunky braids finished off with a ribbon, worn under wide-brimmed sun hats.
Meanwhile, at Bora Aksu, hairstylist Tina Outen gave schoolgirl pigtail plaits a modern update, describing the look as “super messy and strong, yet unapologetically feminine”. And the loose double plait was seen over at Dior during its sustainability-themed show — a possible nod to climate activist, Greta Thunberg.
“We always use a product when braiding hair,” Palau told Vogue. “Redken Braid Aid was specially developed for braiding as it adds control and helps smooth the hair. A light hairspray, such as Redken Fashion Work 12 sprayed on to your hands while braiding also helps.” Keeping loose strands feathered around your face adds a youthful playfulness.
The wet look still reigns
The fresh-out-of-the-shower look has been the preference du jour for a few seasons now — and it’s going nowhere fast. At Versace spring/summer 2020, where Jennifer Lopez walked Milan’s runway in that green dress, we saw multiple wet-look styles, with a few short streaks cut-in to add texture and shape.
“We usually use Redken Guts mousse to create a wet look for the shows as it dries, but remains wet-looking,” says Palau, hairstylist for Versace’s show. “A great way to do an everyday wet look is to wear the hair up in a messy knot with mousse in. Leave it to dry, then add Redken Shine Flash 02 or Forceful 23.”
At Balmain in Paris, hairstylist Sam McKnight alluded to the wet look by giving the models a deep side-parting with a glossy finish over the lengths of their hair. Finally, shower-fresh strands were seen at Salvatore Ferragamo, where hair was slicked back on top and left hanging at the ends — the perfect juxtaposition to the show’s “abstract expressionist” colourful make-up.
A strong and clean centre-parting
The classic centre parting was instantly modernised during for the season when the rest of the hair was worked into an interesting finish. At JW Anderson, hairstylist Anthony Turner stuck to the brief of “Parisian, high-quality, sexy undone dishevelled hair” by giving models strict, poker-straight partings with long lengths, creating almost an ethereal twist.
Meanwhile, at Bottega Veneta, deep centre partings complemented the wild, natural texture of the models’ own hair, which was worn down and carefree. Chanel was all about loose, flowing locks parted at the centre, which hairstylist Sam McKnight achieved with a Dyson Supersonic Hair Dryer. “What we’re not doing is blow-drying [it] to death,” McKnight told Vogue in October. “It’s very simple, but it’s lush.”
To create a natural centre parting where the hair retains its movement, Palau suggests using less product and styling tools. “To keep it looking modern, just use your fingers, not a comb,” he says. “If it becomes too messy, brush all the hair back with a Mason Pearson hairbrush, then let it break in the centre. Not super clean or super messy is the message.”
Shiny, healthy hair
Everyone wants healthy-looking hair and quite often, the key to achieving that is high shine. Spring/summer 2020 featured a plethora of strong, glossy looks and many were paired with ‘no make-up’ make-up to draw even more attention to the hair.
At Oscar de la Renta, models’ skin was kept dewy and fresh-faced, so hairstylist Odile Gilbert worked to create a variety of high-shine styles to match. Beautifully brushed-out waves showcased maximum body and plenty of high shine. The trick? Prepping the hair with a hydrating shampoo and conditioner, and using only a little hairspray at the end to set the style without stiffness.
And at Marc Jacobs, who brought New York Fashion Week to a close, extreme individualism was celebrated with each model being given bespoke make-up and hair. One such look that stood out was the high-shine sculptural bowl cut, as modelled by Fei Fei Sun. Bouncing down the runway, its reflection under the show’s spotlights signalled a powerful, healthy new start to 2020.