The Beatles soundtrack that played during the finale of today’s Chanel show was as big a nod as any to the swinging, Sixties-era scene creative director Virginie Viard channeled with her Fall 2022 collection, an all-out tribute to tweed and the River Tweed in the Scottish countryside. But acute beauty observers likely made the connection as soon as the French house’s current muse, Vivienne Rohner, opened the show in a freshly trimmed Sassoon bob. “We actually cut, like, 15 of them,” reveals hairstylist James Pecis, the sure-handed American hair stylist who made his debut backstage at the Grand Palais this morning. “It’s rare that people want a really sharp jawline bob,” Pecis concedes of the beauty school skill that every hairstylist must master before ascending the ranks: it’s cut straight across to bevel, perfectly, at the nape of the neck. When done right, very little styling is necessary—which was the innovation when Vidal Sassoon introduced the technique 60 years ago, thus freeing a new generation of women from the purgatory of setting. But much like the alt-pixie cuts that have turned up en masse on the runways this season, it too is waging a comeback, which will only be accelerated by it’s turn here.
You could say the same about the truly exceptional blowouts Pecis masterminded that could make even the most wash-and-go gal embrace high-maintenance hair. “Thank you for noticing,” Pecis jokes when discussing the impressive combination of smoothness, volume and bounce that models including Grace Elizabeth and Rianne Van Rompaey displayed on the runway, modeling their luxurious, side-parted strands as much as those skirt suits and thick-ribbed tights. Pecis did not want the hair to look overworked with a round-brush or curling iron, so he turned to old-fashioned velcro rollers instead, wrapping sections of hair around three fingers and pinning them where he could to save time. (“Velcro rollers at a show with 80 girls is a bit of a nightmare,” he says with a laugh). A series of Margot Tenenbaum-style Chanel logo barrettes, positioned horizontally from the corner of the eyes or a few inches on either side of an occasional center part, completed what will likely be one of the season’s major moodboard moments.