Her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, sported a mullet in his heyday. But it’s Miley’s version that has triggered the hairstyle trend among A-listers this time around. (IMAGE COURTESY INSTAGRAM/ @MILEYCYRUS)
Her father, Billy Ray Cyrus, sported a mullet in his heyday. But it’s Miley’s version that has triggered the hairstyle trend among A-listers this time around. (IMAGE COURTESY INSTAGRAM/ @MILEYCYRUS)

Run and hide! The mullet is rearing its ugly head again

Everyone’s hair nightmare has made another comeback. Here’s why it keeps returning, and why celebrities love it so much.
UPDATED ON JAN 24, 2021 06:36 AM IST

As if there wasn’t enough ugliness to deal with in 2021, celebrities have started sporting the mullet again. It’s that ghastly unflattering hairstyle — long, shaggy layers in the back, cropped on the sides and front — that everyone hoped would die with ’80s rockers or at least with the ’90s country music singers pretending to be rockers.

The style keeps raising its ugly head every now and then, mostly on celebrities who’ve run through other, safer avenues for shock value. David Bowie made the mullet famous. Rod Stewart wore one, as did Chuck Norris, Paul McCartney, Mithun Chakraborty, Sanjay Dutt, Akshay Kumar, David Beckham and Billy Ray Cyrus.

David Bowie, probably the only artist for whom the mullet never seemed out of place, used it to great effect for his avatar, Ziggy Stardust.
David Bowie, probably the only artist for whom the mullet never seemed out of place, used it to great effect for his avatar, Ziggy Stardust.

But sometimes, the trend trickles down to the local salon, and you end up squirming in your chair when the stylist asks if you want the look of the moment. “I really hoped we wouldn’t see it again,” laments Bina Punjani, the hairstylist who runs a chain of eponymous salons and a hairdressing academy in Goa. And yet here it is.

This season, the mullet has been spotted on women and men. Miley Cyrus, copying her father’s once-abysmal style, set the ball rolling. Billie Eilish got one, reportedly to recover from a bad hair-colour job. Over the past four months, it’s popped up on the heads of Zac Efron, Maisie Williams, Rihanna, drag queen Crystal Methyd and South Korean singer Yeonjun. Netflix’s Tiger King aka Joe Exotic was an early mullet adopter, showing his off when the show streamed in March.

Fashion magazines are resignedly proclaiming it the season’s top style — with faded sides or brushed-up top as a contemporary touch.

Tiger King aka Joe Exotic was an early adopter. We saw his on the Netflix show in March, but perhaps he just hasn’t changed his hairstyle since the 1980s. (IMAGE COURTESY NETFLIX)
Tiger King aka Joe Exotic was an early adopter. We saw his on the Netflix show in March, but perhaps he just hasn’t changed his hairstyle since the 1980s. (IMAGE COURTESY NETFLIX)

To be fair, lots of communities have embraced the mullet. Around the time the Berlin Wall fell, in the late 1980s, Europe was revelling in the style. It was popular among young lesbian women coming out in the ’90s and 2000s. Televised modelling contests (we’re looking at you, Tyra Banks) often added a “mullet challenge” to see how well contestants could carry off the androgynous look..

Why is it back now? “It’s probably an ironic nod to lockdown-era grooming,” says Punjani. The style requires no maintenance. It’s just wash and wear. “This not a timeless classic, like the bob, that keeps returning because its simplicity keeps finding relevance in a new generation. The mullet is not a reflection of a changing world. It’s not a trend. It’s not even a flattering way to balance out features and celebrate androgyny,” says Punjani. Perhaps it’s a reflection of a world upended, represented in a style that’s also askew.

As it turns up on famous heads, no matter if their hair is straight, curly or in-between, Punjani says that’s as far as the look ought to go. “It’s performance-driven,” she adds. “Celebrities have stylists and whole wardrobes to accompany it.” In real life, without tattoos, pink streaks, feathered layers and gig costumes, a mullet will look uncomfortably out of place.

If you’ve had a weak moment and fallen prey to it, consider lopping the long bits off to create a bob. If you’re devoted to your hair length, try tying, braiding or pinning up the back so there are no straggled ends.

If you’re looking to sport one, remember that the short bits take a long time to grow back. And the in-between phases, with errant cowlicks, bangs and a bottom-heavy shape, aren’t pretty either. If you got it, regret it and nothing else is working, reach for this year’s other big trend — the face mask — and just hope no one can tell it’s you.

SHARE THIS ARTICLE ON
Close
A model sports a vibrant yellow, tiered, pleated, strappy sundress from the label’s SS21 collection (Photo: Instagram/AlbertaFerretti)
A model sports a vibrant yellow, tiered, pleated, strappy sundress from the label’s SS21 collection (Photo: Instagram/AlbertaFerretti)

Sashay in Spring’s chicest maxis

By Manish Mishra
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2021 07:19 PM IST
We get it that given the situation, you were unable to visit your favourite holiday spot in the South of France last summer
Close
A model in a piece for the Other collection by Raw Mango(Instagram)
A model in a piece for the Other collection by Raw Mango(Instagram)

Disturbing or stunning? Raw Mango's new 'Other' collection leaves internet divid

By Alfea Jamal, Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2021 05:43 PM IST
They say art is not what you see but what you make others see, and it appears those who have seen Indian contemporary fashion brand Raw Mango's latest campaign for its Spring Summer 2021 collection 'Other' are divided by what feelings it evokes in them.
Close
Natalia Mikhailovna Vodianova(Instagram)
Natalia Mikhailovna Vodianova(Instagram)

Russian supermodel 'Supernova' Natalia Vodianova is new UN goodwill ambassador

By hindustantimes.com | Edited by Alfea Jamal, Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 25, 2021 01:15 PM IST
Natalia Mikhailovna Vodianova said in a statement, "For too long, society’s approach to menstruation and women’s health has been defined by taboo and stigma”, adding that the situation “has undermined the most basic needs and rights of women."
Close
Fashion designer Frida Kiza poses with models at the end of the Black Lives Matter Fall/Winter 2021/22 collective fashion show, presented in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. 2021.(AP)
Fashion designer Frida Kiza poses with models at the end of the Black Lives Matter Fall/Winter 2021/22 collective fashion show, presented in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. 2021.(AP)

Italian designers of African origin take over Milan Fashion Week

AP
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 11:28 AM IST
Five Italian designers of African origin made their runway debut during Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday, Feb. 24, 2021 under the banner “We are Made in Italy,” having nurtured dreams deemed unlikely in their native lands and which faced considerable obstacles in their adopted Italy.
Close
Fashion designer Gisele Claudia poses with models during the Black Lives Matter Fall/Winter 2021/22 collection collective show, presented in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. 2021.(AP)
Fashion designer Gisele Claudia poses with models during the Black Lives Matter Fall/Winter 2021/22 collection collective show, presented in Milan, Italy, Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021. 2021.(AP)

5 Africa-born designers open digital Milan Fashion Week

AP, Milan
PUBLISHED ON FEB 25, 2021 11:02 AM IST
Five designers of African origin making their runway debuts opened Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday under the banner “We are Made in Italy”.
Close
A year after Italy registered its first positive case of the coronavirus in the north, leading to the first lockdown in Europe, designers have had to find new ways to entice fashionistas with their creations.(Reuters)
A year after Italy registered its first positive case of the coronavirus in the north, leading to the first lockdown in Europe, designers have had to find new ways to entice fashionistas with their creations.(Reuters)

Missoni celebrates 'normal life' at virtual Milan Fashion Week

Reuters, Milan
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 09:03 PM IST
Italian brand Missoni kicked off the first day of Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday, with designers once again forced to swap the buzzing catwalks for digital presentations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Close
Influencer Kusha Kapila (Instagram)
Influencer Kusha Kapila (Instagram)

Buzzing with Buss it Challenge

By Prerna Gauba
UPDATED ON FEB 24, 2021 07:27 PM IST
Many celebrities stormed to the Internet to make their own unique versions of the buss it challenge.
Close
Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone(Varinder Chawla)
Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone(Varinder Chawla)

Deepika Padukone, Ranveer Singh set couple goals, twin in all-black for dinner

By Alfea Jamal, Hindustan Times, Delhi
UPDATED ON FEB 24, 2021 04:45 PM IST
Deepika Padukone and Ranveer Singh once again set couple goals as they stepped out for dinner in matching, all-black looks. See pics....
Close
Janhvi Kapoor sparks Roohi promotions in a neon sweetheart strapless silk dress(Instagram/janhvikapoor)
Janhvi Kapoor sparks Roohi promotions in a neon sweetheart strapless silk dress(Instagram/janhvikapoor)

Janhvi Kapoor sparks Roohi promotions in a neon sweetheart strapless silk dress

By Zarafshan Shiraz
UPDATED ON FEB 24, 2021 03:54 PM IST
  • Janhvi Kapoor sets the mercury soaring as she makes a show-stopping entry at Roohi promotions in a neon strapless dress that was made of silk and came with a sweetheart neckline. We bet you are going to drop your jaws after knowing its whopping cost. Read on
Close
Madhuri Dixit sends hearts aflutter in organza cape set that aces bohemian vibe(Instagram/madhuridixitnene)
Madhuri Dixit sends hearts aflutter in organza cape set that aces bohemian vibe(Instagram/madhuridixitnene)

Madhuri Dixit sends hearts aflutter in organza cape set that aces bohemian vibe

By Zarafshan Shiraz
UPDATED ON FEB 24, 2021 01:06 PM IST
  • Gearing up to shoot for an episode of Dance Deewane Season 3, BTown OG Madhuri Dixit Nene slew bohemian look in a black crop top and palazzo teamed with an embroidered organza cape and we are smitten with these sultry pictures
Close
Malaika Arora teams a printed boyfriend shirt with a pair of boots (Photo: Instagram/MalaikaAroraOfficial)
Malaika Arora teams a printed boyfriend shirt with a pair of boots (Photo: Instagram/MalaikaAroraOfficial)

Boyfriend shirt gets a fun twist 

By Manish Mishra
UPDATED ON FEB 24, 2021 12:14 PM IST
What does the phrase - ‘boyfriend shirt’ mean anyway? It’s something borrowed from your boyfriend’s or lover’s closet
Close
Kriti Sanon rocks a pop print outfit by designer Aniket Satam (Photo: Instagram/AniketSatam)
Kriti Sanon rocks a pop print outfit by designer Aniket Satam (Photo: Instagram/AniketSatam)

Bollywood roots for pop prints

By Manish Mishra
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:51 AM IST
Fashion is a recurring cycle of trends and pop prints recently seen on the likes of Ananya Panday, Sara Ali Khan, Kriti Sanon and Sanya Malhotra are reminiscent of the outré   ’80s
Close
Tara Sutaria rocks a bubblegum pink pantsuit (Photo: Instagram/TaraSutaria)
Tara Sutaria rocks a bubblegum pink pantsuit (Photo: Instagram/TaraSutaria)

Stars paint the town in bubblegum pink

By Manish Mishra
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 11:42 AM IST
Think pink seems to be the style mantra as Bollywood charges its way out of the Covid gloom and despair
Close
After some initial resistance and a slow start, designer Stella Jean credits the Italian National Fashion Chamber with “a lot of goodwill” in pushing through an enhanced collaboration with five young designers, including financing and partnerships with Italian suppliers.(AP)
After some initial resistance and a slow start, designer Stella Jean credits the Italian National Fashion Chamber with “a lot of goodwill” in pushing through an enhanced collaboration with five young designers, including financing and partnerships with Italian suppliers.(AP)

BLM in Italian Fashion campaign shows early tangible results

AP, Milan
PUBLISHED ON FEB 24, 2021 10:54 AM IST
A digital runway show by five Italian fashion designers of African origin opens Milan Fashion Week on Wednesday, one tangible result of a campaign launched last summer by the only Black Italian designer belonging to the Milan fashion chamber.
Close
Riccardo Tisci(Instagram)
Riccardo Tisci(Instagram)

The lost freedom to explore amid Covid-19 inspires Burberry's Riccardo Tisci

Reuters, London
PUBLISHED ON FEB 23, 2021 07:06 PM IST
"Enclosed indoors, I dreamt of the outdoors and its beauty, fuelled by the thought of the creativity that comes when we are together," Riccardo Tisci said.
Close
SHARE
Story Saved
OPEN APP