I usually really look forward to the Milan Fashion Week for all the color, flamboyance and boldness it generally brings. Sadly, the Milan Autumn Winter 2016 Fashion Week wasn't quite as outrageous and exciting as it tends to be but there was still some gorgeous styling to enjoy, so take heart. We saw some beautiful hairstyles at Milan that strike just the right balance between creativity and wearability, which is always a good thing. Here’s my pick of the best hairstyles from Milan Fashion Week Autumn Winter 2016.
My first pick is a very simple look, but one that I like very, very much. It’s the sort of hairstyle anyone can pull off, anywhere- from the university to the workplace; as a bridesmaid to a wedding to the bride herself! It’s feminine and beautiful and it’s very easy to style on your own at home. What’s more is, since it involves pulling and styling the crown towards the back, it’s also a very wearable hairstyle that will keep the hair off your face and you don’t have to worry about fiddling with it through the day.
Here’s how you can get the look at home.
Begin on freshly washed and blow-dried hair. Spread a dollop of styling mousse through your hair before you begin. Comb through to make sure there aren’t any tangles.
Take a pintail comb and draw a soft ‘U’ from one ear to the other (for reference, the open mouth of the ‘U’ should face the hairline). Gather the hair that falls in front of this parting and begin securing it into a regular half-ponytail at the crown. Instead of pulling all the hair through the hair tie, leave a little bit in to create a mini bun or a loop. Make sure you use a strong hair tie (consider adding a second one over the loop for added support) and insert two bobby pins crisscrossed over each other in the ‘X’ shape on either side of the bun to really fix it into place.
Carefully run your fingers through the ponytail to gently blend it into the rest of your hair. Take a curling iron and start curling all the loose hair. You can keep the curls as small or large as you like. For beachy waves, use a large-barreled curling iron and once the curls have cooled, gently brush through to open them up a bit more. Be careful when you’re brushing so you don’t dislodge the mini bun. Add some hairspray for hold and you’re done.
While browsing the photographs from the Aigner Milan Fashion Week Fall 2016 backstage, I noticed that a lot of the images showed the curls being held in place with styling/crocodile clips. They’d looked so pretty in the thumbnails that it got me thinking: you can wear the hairstyle as it is, by itself but if you’re looking for a little more sparkle, consider adding tiny sparkly clamp clips to the curled sections. I recommend using decorative clamp/ claw clips instead of pin twirls or hair spirals because the latter won’t have a base to grip onto in the curls and might slide with time. If you do decide to use clips to spice up the look, remember not to grab a lot of hair together or it’ll get bunched up and you’ll lose the delicate mermaid waves.
Retro styling always gets me- always. And ever since the Gatsby craze took over the world a couple of years back, vintage fashions and hairstyles have really come into their own, both on and off the runway. While this look from the Blumarine fashion show is nothing that we haven’t all seen before, it’s the execution that makes it so praiseworthy: the perfectly shaped swoop, a high side part, short flippy bobs and hair texture that’s both perfect and natural. If you’re on the lookout for vintage hairstyles that are accurate but not over-the-top (say if you want a hairstyle that’s obviously retro but won’t compete with a costume or a formal outfit) this look fits the bill perfectly. It’s elegant and has a touch of playfulness to it.
The models at the Costume National show at Milan Fashion Week Fall 2016 sported messy twisted ponytails. If messy hairstyles are not your thing, you might want to do away with the disheveled fringes up front and style yours (if you have them) smooth and sleek.
For the crown and the back we have something of an inverted French twist. Instead of twisting in and up, the hair has been twisted in and down- so, when you reach the ends of the cone/ twist at the nape of your neck, instead of tucking the remaining hair into the twist, you leave it loose like a ponytail.
You will notice in the photograph that the twist starts out relatively flatter and smaller before gaining more volume and shape towards the back: this is because the hair is first parted prior to twisting and then styled. The hair is divided into two sections, as can be seen in the image here; draw an arc from ear to ear, dividing the hair into a front section and a back section. You can see that the ‘front’ section is brushed up and towards the crown whereas the bottom section is brushed back and down towards the nape of the neck. This allows you to create the twist in two segments, which can come in handy if you have long and/or heavy hair. You can start by twisting smaller sections at the top and pulling in more hair from the bottom section as you travel down the hair, pinning the upper half of the twist down with bobby pins.
If you’re not sure you can pull off an inverted twist, you can get a similar ‘faux hawk’ effect with a loose Dutch braid as well. It won’t be quite the same, of course, but if you’re into structural 3D hairstyles, a Dutch braid till the neck will give you a similar look from the side- just remember to leave the ends loose for a ponytail-like effect.
Probably one of my favorite looks from everything we saw at Milan this year. There are so many interesting elements at play here that it is hard to say just what I love the most about this look. Probably the effortless manner in which the swooped bangs transition into the coiled bun at the back. Those two aspects of the hairstyle are stunning as of themselves too, but it is the seamless connect between them that I really enjoy. This is a hairstyle that could have gone very wrong had it not been executed so perfectly- so, if you’re new to hairstyling, I do advise practicing a lot before you attempt this at home. That said, it is definitely a look that I’d pick for a formal occasion, say as a wedding hairstyle for a slightly offbeat bride.
Coiled buns are fairly straightforward (see what I did there?). You take the hair and wind it really, really tightly in on itself so that it starts twisting and coiling. Keep arranging these into the desired shape on your head and pinning them into place.
The swooped fringe is somewhat more complex, but still doable. Begin in very straight hair that’s completely free of any knots and tangles. Draw a high side part on one side and brush the bulk of your hair towards the other side. Brush all your hair through again without disturbing the part to make sure everything falls perfectly. Then take a pintail comb and choose a point on the part, a couple of inches in from the hairline. From that point, trace a diagonal line forward till the hairline, stopping directly above the highest point of your eyebrow. Doing so will create a triangle. Very carefully, without disturbing any of the other hair, you want to create a small roll with this triangular section and use a pin to keep it out of the way while you style the rest of your hair. Don’t pin it onto any of the other sections: roll it up and clip it into a secure position within the triangle you’ve etched out.
Now, we want to make the coiled bun with all the remaining hair. This means using all the hair on the other side of the part as well as the hair next to and behind the triangle. Spray a little hairspray onto a comb and brush your hair down and back towards the nape of your neck. Go over it a couple of times to really slick it into place. Comb in a way that follows the contours of your head so that when all the hair is gathered at the back all the hair flows in seamlessly. Secure it into a low ponytail and then create the coiled bun as discussed.
Then we begin working on the swooped fringe. Open up the hair forming the triangular front and comb it through. Use a little hairspray on a comb or a smidgen of styling cream to smooth it out. You will have to use a styling wax or hair putty to add malleability to this section and to give it the texture it needs for you to be able to manipulate it into a defined shape. Then very, very carefully comb the hair forward towards the forehead, emphasizing the two ‘arms’ of the triangle created by the two parts (think of your hairline as the base if it helps to envision the structure as you style). Arrange the hair in a swoop over the forehead with your fingers. The lowest point of the swoop should stop where your brow ends: at this point pinch the swoop between your thumb and index finger and turn it inward, towards your ear. Direct the hair towards the back, working very slowly so that you don’t disturb the base we created in the previous step. You can simply leave it at the swooped fringe and take the rest of this portion straight back towards the bun by tucking it behind the ear. But if you look at the photos you’ll see that this front section was styled in a couple of undulating waves until it met with the bun. You can style the hair in any number of waves with your fingers, adding bobby pins in the ‘X’ shape at every turn to hold the hair in place.
When you reach the bun, depending on the amount of hair that remains in this section, there are a couple of different things you could do to finish the hairstyle. If there isn’t a lot of hair to hide away (likely if you’ve used your bangs to create this accent) then you can pin the ends in next to the bun and use the tips of a pin to push any remaining ends into the bun with the ends of a pin.
If you have more hair, you could pull it in and out of the loops of the coiled bun until there’s very little left, which you could then pin into the bun. This is the most effective way of hiding the hair and adding dimension to the bun, but it does involve a fair bit of dexterity and expertise. An easy way to do so is to pull the hair you need to hide through a bobby pin and then use the bobby pin to weave in and out of the coils: the bobby pin can ‘guide’ through the bun and you can get all the loose hair styled without leaving chunks behind or upsetting the coiled bun.
Another solution will be to simply wrap the hair around the bun and then tuck and pin the ends into the bun.
And finally, the easiest thing to do would be to actually style the swooped front first, gather it into the ponytail at back and then style the bun but with complex hair accents, especially those situation in a more visible position like the front, we prefer to work on the piece de resistance last.
Once the hairstyle is ready, be sure to spritz on hairspray. If you’ve used the pins correctly, the hairstyle will hold well. Use a hairspray with shine-boosting/ light-reflecting properties to enjoy a glossy finish.
I’m dubbing the hairstyle from the Leitmotiv show at the Milan Fall 2016 Fashion Week the ‘pagoda bun’. This is probably the standout bun for me from the Autumn Winter 2016 Fashion Weeks. We’ve seen a lot of different iterations of bun-based hairstyles but this one really reinvents the wheel. I love the shape- it’s striking and unusual but at the same time it is also a hairstyle you could easily wear to the local supermarket without being totally out of place. The thick fringe we see on the model here takes the look into a more editorial direction, so you might want to make a different styling choice if you’d like to keep the pagoda bun but pare the rest of the look down. That said, I really do enjoy it and I think leaving a few tendrils loose to frame the face is a great way to soften the look and offset the pointy top of the bun.
That’s it for my favorite hairstyles from the Milan Autumn Winter 2016 Fashion Week. I’ve limited this post to 5 hairstyles instead of the usual 7 so we could really dive into the actual physical experience of recreating some of these hairstyles. Remember, a lot of what we see on the runways may seem too outlandish for ‘real life fashion’ but it is only a matter of perspective and adaptation. Keep what you like, change it to fit your needs, choices and lifestyle and then ditch the rest. Improvise. Bring in some new styling ideas you liked or create patterns of your own. Major industry events like the Fashion Weeks are a great place to mine hairstyling ideas but they’re also good for inspiration- and you can do anything you like with that!