On a recent frigid winter evening in Milan, Anna dello Russo—wearing knee-length Miu Miu gladiator sandals, a scandalously short mini dress and no tights—informed me that my collarbone-length hair made me look middle aged.
Did I even have a bob? My hair was cut at an angle just below my shoulders, slightly longer in front and uneven with its choppiness. The silhouette was just over a year old and replaced nearly two decades of the same long but lifeless hair that fell down to my bra strap. My long hair, my American fashion editor friends frequently pointed out, had all the appeal of a kitchen mop. When I cut it, they enthusiastically rejoiced.
What to do?
Anna dello Russo, Fashion Stylist: “A carré is the first sign that a woman is going into menopause, cara mia,” she says. “If a woman wants to cut off her hair, she might as well cut off her legs. It creates the same effect in terms of sex appeal. Once a woman gets a bob, it’s all over. The end. Totally finito. She may as well lay down in her tomb.”
Meenal Mistry, Wall St. Journal editor:
The bob holds broader appeal in America where, as Mistry recently wrote here, women from their 20s to 40s have been lopping off their locks en masse. Whereas the Italians, led by Vogue Italia Editor in Chief Franca Sozzani’s tumbling Botticelli locks and Dello Russo’s chest-length hair, aren’t buying it.
MSGM’s Creative Director Massimo Giorgetti: “Italians love long hair,” says Giorgetti, whose brother runs a hair salon in Emilio-Romagna. “Legs and hair represent classic femininity.”
Nonetheless, this fashion designer said he’s into shorter hair, and finds a shoulder-length messy bob the most modern cut. “I wouldn’t change your hair,” he assured me. “And I’m not saying this just because you’re on the phone with me.”
A week later, Giorgetti’s assessment got reconfirmed at an event in bob-friendly New York, when the long-haired model Trish Goff came up to me and said (unprompted, I promise you), “I love your hair.”
“You don’t think it makes me look middle aged?” I asked, suddenly self-conscious.
“Not at all,” she promised. “I’m thinking about cutting mine too.”
Carré– a bob
Cara mia– my dear
Finito– finished, over
– J.J. Martin