Hair accessories have often had a bad rep. They’re either associated with anyone under the age of 16, the 90s (two words: butterfly clips) or over-fussy wedding hair. Fashion saw a brief resurgence a few years ago in the form of Celine’s circular, minimal masterpieces - a modern take on the hair accessory that brought it back onto our cool-radar once more. However, traditional clips and grips have long fallen out of favour. We might use them to clip up some stray hairs at the gym, but we haven’t been using them as the focal point of our ’dos.
Things are changing. Barely a look went by for SS18 and AW18 without a different designer sending their models down the catwalk with a clip, a barrette or an old-fashioned kirby grip positioned artfully in the hair. Perhaps it’s something to do with maximalism storming back into our wardrobes in the form of oversized silhouettes, prints, patterns and slogan dressing. Or it might be down to the popularity of Insta-friendly throwback culture - side partings positioned with bejewelled clips certainly have an air of nostalgia about them.
At the SS18 Dior show, revered hair stylist Guido Palau pulled half the hair back off the face, clipping with a Dior-branded bobby pin. He said of the look, “I love the way that something that’s been around and has a funny connotation can come back” he explained, “Look at the mullet haircut: three or four years ago it was a no-no, and now it’s super cool. I love the way that something is reintroduced into fashion and we look at it again in a different way.”
We agree with Guido. Although clips and grips can be uber-feminine, at Glasshouse we prefer the slightly more sophisticated, pared back versions. Two kirby grips either side of a middle parting or a tortoiseshell hair slide feel significantly fresher and less girly than their fussy counterparts. For instance, we love JW Anderson’s simple take on the trend; sending each model down his SS18 catwalk with a single, barely-visible grip slotted into a side part. There’s something upfront and unapologetic about it. Why bother trying to artfully style your hair into place when you can just slide in a grip you found at the bottom of your purse?
Despite us being charmed by the simplest of clips and grips, admittedly there’s room for something a bit flash and a bit throwback in this trend. Cue the jumbo, silver chrome-finish banana clip by Alexander Wang (stamped with Wang’s logo, naturally) spotted on the catwalk last year. A hair accessory we’re more used to sporting when washing our face in the evening, the banana clip has connotations of corporate power dressing from the 80’s. Wang’s take on it certainly had an air of the executive about it, proving that hair clips needn’t be something childlike or ultra-girly.
From a practical perspective, there’s something appealing about the functionality of a clip. Used as the centrepiece of a hairstyle (and not just to hold back a few stray flyaways), they can be an instant transformer. We love them with a strong lip or eye - pulling the hair off the face can be a great framer for a bold beauty look and ensures this look isn’t just for the daytime (nor the school playground). Likewise, hair accessories have - and always will be - a great dresser-upper. If jewellery isn’t your thing but you’re keen to add a final flourish to an outfit, clips and grips can be a great middleman. Margot Tenenbaum in a fur coat with smudgy, smokey eyes and a pink barrette slotted into a side-part is a good place of inspiration to start…
So, there you have it. Clips have done some growing up and they’re ready to be salvaged from the bottom of your handbag/your bathroom cabinet/down the back of the sofa. There’s no better time than now to demonstrate a good dose of individualism when it comes to fashion, hair and beauty and getting a grip (or two) for 2018 seems like a good way to do so. Clip away!
Words: Lucy Vincent
Cover image: Vogue