Heavily-Gelled Hair Was a Major Theme at London Fashion Week F/W 2019

When was the last time you reached for a bottle of hair gel? Not the spritz format that gives curls polish or volume—no, we’re talking goopy, sticky hair gel. Over the past few days, across the pond at London Fashion Week, this stalwart of the hair world made a comeback of sorts. Hair gel was the star player at shows like Ricardo Tisci’s Burberry, where Guido Palau adhered strands in intricate patterns to models’ faces, inspired by the motifs of the turn of the century Art Nouveau movement. Gel was applied with a heavy hand to slicked back buns, resulting in a wet look to suit the show’s London-inspired “Tempest” theme. Meanwhile, over at J.W. Anderson, hair was likewise shellacked in gel, pulled back in tight low buns and sculpted in fringe-like formations. The effect was futuristic and retro at the same time, nodding to the finger waves of 1920s and ’30s—though lead stylist Anthony Turner says the inspiration for his helmet ‘dos came from LEGO characters, not silver screen sirens. Models at Richard Quinn donned not one but two major hair trends of the week, with heavily gelled centre-parted hair made to look like a faux-fringe. Stylist James Pecis labelled the look “glassy”, with a sheen that lived up to his characterization.

The flattened out, light-reflecting, gel-saturated finish is a stark contrast to the texturized, dry shampoo-ed hairstyles that have become the standard look of the day. Could hair gel—and lots of it—be the breakaway product of the season? Maybe. Will we all be heading into the office tomorrow wearing wet-look gel-soaked hairdos? Probably not. However, if you do happen to have a bottle of Dippity Do hiding in the depths of your cosmetics cabinet, now may be a good time to bring it back out. Just maybe leave those face-framing tendril patterns to the pros.