Fashion Week

From satin ribbons to scrunchies, the return of childhood hair accessories

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Anna Brech
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If you thought you waved goodbye to scrunchies and barrettes in the playground, think again.

Demure, 80s-style hair accessories with a faintly Diana vibe are making a comeback for SS18.

Clips and ribbons that radiate soft romance have been putting in an appearance on catwalks from Ryan Lo to Simone Rocha.

Get set to throwback to 1989 and a drawer-full of prim yet playful trimmings:

Scrunchies at Mansur Gavriel

They were a favourite look of the 80s and 90s, and scrunchies are back again now.

The renaissance was brought about in earnest at Mansur Gavriel’s SS18 show during New York Fashion Week, where models wore low-lying scrunchies with pastel knitwear and woollen coats.

Even Laurent Philippon, global artistic director for Bumble & Bumble – and the man responsible for engineering the comeback - had his doubts to begin with.

“When I heard scrunchie, I was like, 'Ahhhhhhh!' It is my nightmare,” he told The Cut backstage at the collection.

“But actually no,” he added, “it's done in a very cool way.”

Forget sheeny material and lurid shades of purple; scrunchie’s high-fashion makeover comes with vintage Italian fabrics.

Philippon recommends wearing the new-look scrunchie “very low and broken so you just keep the hair over the ears and behind the shoulders”. It should also be “a little messy”, he says.

Just like school days, then...

Pearl barrettes at Simone Rocha

The domain of old-school blushing brides, pearl hair-slides had their heyday in 1980s Chelsea. 

But London Fashion Week favourite Simone Rocha decided to dust them off for a stint in her SS18 show.

Models wore distinctive pearl barrettes that were part coy, part effusive.

No longer the territory of prim twin-sets, a modern upgrade made them semi-ironic. They were just slightly too exaggerated to be sweet, too bold to be entirely demure.

More romantic and whimsical than their original muses, the trinkets nevertheless captured a pretty, semi-bridal feel.

Just like everything in Rocha’s ethereal collection, their revival was feminine - but with a little bit of grit.

Get the look by pairing one or two over-sized slides with statement earrings.

Satin-y ribbons at Ryan Lo

Ryan Lo played with a very traditional childhood motif in his SS18 collection at London Fashion Week, as models paraded the runway in daintily-tied hair ribbons.

The pristine-white streamers conjured up a guileless feel in Lo’s dream-like spectacle.

Sam McKnight, the stylist behind the look, chose large bows and lengths of ribbon that fell down over loose, half-up half-down hair.

The effect? Doll-like innocence mixed with a hint of theatricality.

The ribbons chimed nicely with Lo’s vision for next spring, which swaps his usually maximalist approach for swathes of tulle, puffy sleeves, pearls and pussy bows.

Deliberately saccharine, it was a couture take on primness – with more than a little hint of mischief.

Velvet bows at Erdem

It was all very Ballet Shoes over at Erdem’s London Fashion Week outing, where models wore black satin bows tied at the nape of the neck.

Erdem was inspired by Queen Elizabeth in his latest collection, and even visited Windsor castle to study gowns made by royal couturier Norman Hartnell.

It’s perhaps this sense of royal etiquette that informed the neatly tied bows, each as immaculate as the next.

No messy finishes here; instead, the velvet bows radiated an old-fashioned sense of orderliness, in line with the show’s homage to history.

At the same time, there was nothing overdone about the simple yet classic ribbon tie.

Hairstylist Anthony Turner masterminded the look for a woman “who wouldn’t spend hours on it”, he explained. 

To re-create the motif, simply arm yourself with a length of black velvet, tie a low-slung pony et voilà: retro demureness is yours.

Images: Rex Features and Instagram


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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.