The Hair Channel

How to craft the modern beehive, aka this autumn’s hottest look

Posted by
Anna Brech

For hair that truly creates a stir, look no further than Chanel’s modern beehive showcased on the AW17 catwalk at Paris Fashion Week earlier this year.

The sensational style is dubbed “Chanelarella” by its creator, legendary hairstylist Sam McKnight. A clear homage to Barbarella, Jane Fonda’s eponymous 60s astronaut detective, it delivers a 21st Century update to the iconic retro look.

“The look was a nod to the ultimate space age icon,” explains McKnight. “Karl [Lagerfeld, Chanel’s creative director] wanted a strong silhouette—the ’60s headbands and makeup demanded a big gravity-defying shape—so Chanelarella was born.”

The structural height and movement of the standout ‘do is created by by plenty of directed backcombing and “can easily be adapted for a more down-to-earth look”, says McKnight.

Here’s how to fashion your own take on autumn 2017’s hottest hair trend:


Backcombing is the key to the Chanelarella

  • Start with hair that is a few days old, for added texture and malleability
  • Brush your hair out, removing any knots, to ensure it’s straight and dry to begin with
  • Divide your hair into 1-2 inch sections around the crown
  • Hold each section taut and use a brush that has been specifically designed to backcomb – such as Tangle Teezer's new volumising hairbrush – to help build volume and set the backcombed style
  • Again, make sure each section is smooth and knot-free. Then, hold it taut and backcomb the underside down in one move. Use a short and gentle stroke, focusing on the area closest to the root of the hair for added lift

An embellished headband is the final flourish to this strong, standout style

  • One you have gently backcombed each section of the hair downwards, take the brush out and start from the top again. Don’t try to backcombing back up: this will create breakage and the dreaded bird’s nest look
  • Repeat this short brush movement down three times on each section of hair, concentrating on the inch or two directly above the root. The key to the Chanelarella lies in consistency: be fluid but gentle in your teasing, to build up a uniform look. Avoid long brush movements or tearing through the hair
  • Once you have achieved your desired shape and height (note: nothing is too OTT for this look), smooth over the top section of the hair to cover the backcombing
  • Secure the style in place with a thick leather or embellished headband as the final flourish. Spritz liberally with a texturizing hairspray
  • Voila! The Chanelarella is yours

Images: Rex Features


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Anna Brech

Anna Brech is a freelance journalist and former editor for Her six-year stint on the site saw her develop a vociferous appetite for live Analytics, feminist opinion and good-quality gin in roughly equal measure. She enjoys writing across all areas of women’s lifestyle content but has a soft spot for books and escapist travel content.

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