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How Paris Fashion Week Broke My Hair Rut

two women at paris fashion week

Edith Piaf saw Paris through rose colored glasses. I’m seeing it through fine mists of hairspray—usually Redken’s Triple Dry 15, a favorite of the hair artists who work backstage during Fashion Week.

All the big fashion houses are here—Balenciaga, Chanel, Christian Dior, Givenchy, McQueen, Celine, Saint Laurent, Miu Miu—and with them, the usual circus of models, celebs, and photographers. Then there’s me, a backstage beauty journalist, who gets to witness hair magic in the making that starts promptly at 7am and ends somewhere around midnight. (The good news: there’s wine.)

But the long hours are worth it, because I get to witness a fashion vision get built from the ground—or at least, from the temporary wooden catwalk—up. And unlike the clothes, which are incredible but rarely available until six months after a fashion show, anyone can recreate the runway hair trends the second they debut on models like Karlie Kloss, Liya Kebede, and Emily Ratajkowski. (Front row fixtures like Elle Fanning, Alexa Chung, and Zendaya provide ample inspiration, too.)

I won’t lie—some of the most-photographed styles backstage aren’t ideal for real-life wear. The thigh-skimming pigtails at Prada are probably a no-go for most office meetings, and the shellacked sculptural dark brown hair at Fendi and JW Anderson might be a bit heavy for a house party.

But in between some truly experimental creations, there was a lot of great hair—from trend-in-the-making shades of blonde and brunette to layered bangs, textured ponytails, and next-level blowouts that last even longer.

Here are some favorites to pin, print, and bring into the salon for hashtag-worthy hair that’ll stay trending for quite a long time. (At least until October, when Paris Fashion Week begins all over again!)

woman with blonde hair at paris fashion week


The love child of balayage and ombré, this color trend mimics the glazed shades of bread and butter that melt together for a perfect Parisian snack. (It often uses Strandlighting as its go-to technique!) As seen at French-girl labels like Chloé and Isabel Marant, “baguette blonde” is brighter than dirty blonde, but with more variety and dimension than regular highlights. Expect to see it trickle from Paris runway models to red carpet movie stars trés soon.

woman walking paris fashion week


What to do when you want a tiny color lift without major commitment? Add a squeeze of orange to your regular brown locks for a subtle shade that catches light with every strand, but stays true (and healthy!) to your normal brunette roots. Inspired by the warm-toned locks of in-demand models like Sara Grace Wallerstadt and Maud Hoevelaken, “chocolate orange” hair is a delicious way to elevate your color without completely changing your look.

red haired woman at paris fashion week


Oh, so you do want to completely change your look? Cool. Let’s take a good long stare at runway stars Remington Williams, Kiki Willems, and Mariacarla Boscono. What do they all have in common, besides extreme beauty and the superhuman skill of walking for hours in heels? Vibrant orange-red hair the color of a Negroni cocktail and just as intoxicating. A little more grown-up than pink and not as Gaga-on-tour as a straight-up red, this shade walks the line between quietly unnatural and beautifully bold.

woman with low ponytail at paris fashion week


Ariana Grande is an icon, but everyday ponytails might say Thank U, Next to super-high shapes. That’s because at Dior, Chanel, Stella McCartney, and more, ponytails moved all the way down to the nape of the neck, secured by ribbons or barrettes and smoothed to perfection with hair oil and blow-dry creams. To keep it sleek, use a trick from celebrity stylist Guido Palau: wrap your ponytail in some netting (or even a clean and dry piece of the bags that hold oranges at supermarkets!) directly after putting in product. Allow it to “set” (use the time to do your makeup, pack up your purse, or finish your Netflix binge—we won’t tell…), then unravel just before heading out the door. Et voila—you’ve got a catwalk-ready style that’s also super easy.

woman with curly hair at paris fashion week


Confession: I totally cried at the finale of Valentino. They played Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet soundtrack as gorgeous, gauzy dresses floated through the Tuilleries gardens and Lily Reinhart looked on. It was, as they say, A Moment. To add to the romance, Palau gently misted pieces of each models’ hair towards the front of her face, as if she’d been walking in the rain like Kate Winslet in Sense + Sensibility, or Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s, or Andie MacDowell in 4 Weddings and a Funeral, or Rachel McAdams in The Notebook… you get it.

The windblown look also appeared at Louis Vuitton, Altuzarra, and many more shows, and you can get it by brushing or finger-combing Redken Full Frame 07 Mousse into damp hair and allowing it to dry with some tousled body. (You can also use a smoothing gel if you want to do a slicked-back bun or bob, but be mindful: some gels contain harsh amounts of alcohol that can dehydrate and even break hair strands, so stick with a product recommended by your stylist!)



Great news for low-maintenance glamour junkies: Smooth but tossed-and-tussled hair appeared at trend-setting shows like Balmain, Off-White, and Miu Miu. “It’s the boozy brunch look,” stylist Jawara Wauchope told ELLE backstage of Jordan Daniels’ and Karlie Kloss’ easy, touchable runway hair. Of course, for a blowout to last 2+ days, it needs to be expertly done and also well-tended. Talk to your stylist about the best way to treat your hair type before, during, and after a blowout for runway-worthy results.

Want to try the latest hair trends for yourself? Click here for the right salon.


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