Friday 12th July

| BY Paul Toner

Let’s Get Wiggy With It: The Barnets that Dominated the SS20 Menswear Shows

The highlight of every classic RuPaul‘s Drag Race episode centres around a good ol’ wig reveal. After Roxxxy Andrews actioned a simple tear-away from a curly blow-out to a dusty blonde lace-front, the trend has escalated to full-blown, wig-flying pandemonium. We’ve had wigs literally ripped in two to reveal one beneath, wigs made of the same tinsel that lines the train of the queen’s dress, and wigs lifted to reveal a fountain of falling rose petals – a moment now iconique thanks to season 9 winner Sasha Velour. But with all this synthetic-wig appreciation flying into the mainstream, men’s fashion has been left behind… Giants like Moschino and Gucci have embraced the unapologetic campness of piling wigs upon wigs for womenswear, but contemporary menswear staples like sporty twin-sets and distorted tailoring, sadly haven’t been teamed with towering beehives, or better yet, sophisticated choppy bobs.

Thankfully within the latest slew of menswear shows, spotting a messy perm here and a shaggy pixie cut there is no longer an aberration. Although in most cases, said wigs weren’t supposed to look like the wearer had stepped straight out of Super Cuts with a brand new do. The hairstyles on display were slightly off-centre, often jagged to one side in an abrasive cluster. Designers like Martine Rose fully embraced the bed head. Throughout her design career, Rose’s gang of London lads have looked a little dodgy, scruffy even, and her SS20 collection was no different; tiny islands of blonde curls slapped on the side of models’ heads, towering bouffants and clip-in bangs showed a strong continuation of that awkward sexiness the designer crafts so well. Liam Hodges also went down the messy-do route. For his first collection outside the BFC’s Newgen support scheme, Hodges really went up a level, with a collection based around stock computer game characters. Each look resembled an individual virtual character of its own, and the wigs gave the models a 1990s American teenager vibe – the visual cues you can usually spot in boys who lock themselves away in their bedrooms all summer break, feeding their brains with Flaming Hot Cheetos and endless hours of video games.

From teenage virtual fantasies to on-screen lovestruck blood baths, Mowalola’s Fashion East sophomore collection doused her skimpy leather signatures in blood, sweat and the overruling aura of irrational romance – the type of love so intense that supposed happy endings most often turn sour. The ready-to-rave spiked-up wigs were teamed with red contact lenses and brash lip rings to give the collection a gorey flare that had a twinge of noughties campness: Think Scarface if it had been directed in the style of Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, whilst in the colour palette of Scooby-Doo: The Movie. Charles Jeffrey also favoured some sinister hairstyles for his latest Loverboy instalment. Whispy black curls were interwoven with black lace, trailing across models’ faces and into crooked crowns, making them look like the Grudge with a touch of royal opulence.

It was emerging design talent Paria Farzaneh, however, who utilised a parade of haunting masks and wigs to seep an inherently political undercurrent into her second on-schedule collection. The Purge-like clown masks were worn with innocent school-girl bobs streaming with strands of rainbow tinsel piercing through the brown locks. In their hands, the models carried flowers, not machetes, as the designer backstage wished for the world to live in peace. When it comes to politics and wigs, we are usually greeted by blotchy red politicians in wonky clip-on strands of blonde hair, usually shouting about injustices they have never experienced whilst helplessly clinging onto their youth. We’ll take The Purge clowns over that sight any day of the week.

Backstage photographs by Jason Llyod-Evans.