Bangs revival brings back '60s style

Wispy or severe, they can make the wearer look more youthful

November 02, 2003|By Greg Morago | Greg Morago,Hartford Courant

It was no doubt your first haircut -- that face-framing set of bangs. Probably trimmed by Mom using her sewing scissors; probably accompanied by pigtails or a pony.

Well, it's time to go back to the future, girls. Break out the scissors (but hold the pigtails) because bangs are back.

That sweet, innocent, girlish hair "do" is all the rage with some of Hollywood's hottest stars. Yes, that includes Catherine Zeta-Jones at the premiere of Intolerable Cruelty with new, totally tolerable bangs. And Britney Spears on Saturday Night Live getting in the zone with sassy bangs. Yep, that's Gwyneth Paltrow on the cover of InStyle magazine with deep, eyelash-skimming bangs.

Check out any celebrity magazine, and you'll see bangs galore: on Hilary Duff and Molly Sims, Reese Witherspoon and Naomi Watts, Heidi Klum and Jennifer Aniston, Selma Blair and Halle Berry, Ashanti and Alyssa Milano, Charlize Theron and Kim Cattrall. J.Lo sported sassy bangs when the camera caught her with boyfriend Ben Affleck at baseball's American League Championship Series. Renee Zellweger made the recent Down with Love London premiere in sweeping bangs. And there are two sets of lethal bangs in Quentin Tarantino's Kill Bill: on samurai avenger Uma Thurman and (even more adorably terrifying) on Chiaki Kuriyama's mace-swinging schoolgirl assassin Go, Go, Yubari.

Why bangs? Why now?

According to Kim-Van Dang, beauty director for InStyle magazine (chock-full of full-bang beauties in coming editions), the hairstyle goes hand-in-hand with the modified Mod look for fall / winter.

"Sixties clothes have been really, really hot in fashion for a season or two now. Marc Jacobs did all his models for his fall 2003 collection in these wigs with straight hair and really severe bangs with Twiggy-type Mod outfits," Dang said.

Other designers -- including Kenneth Cole, Tommy Hilfiger and Donna Karan -- interpreted that era, too, putting out a welcome mat for bangs. Unlike the severe Penelope Tree bangs of the swinging '60s, today's bangs are softer and freer.

"It's fresher. You don't have to have that totally severe line," Dang said. "The great thing about bangs is that you can play with them. If you decide on bangs, there are so many great hair products you can use to slick them back if you don't want them. Or soften the face by sweeping them to the sides."

Zeta-Jones exemplifies the new bang theory. After her Oscar win in March and a new baby in April, the actress was ready for a new look. By fall, she had gotten her body back and a new set of bangs that made her look instantly younger.

Bangs can do that, Dang said. "Let's take a page from Goldie Hawn. She's always had bangs, and she still looks 25."

The Hartford Courant is a Tribune newspaper.

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